Since their respective appearances on the European stage – at Manchester City in 2008 and PSG in 2011 – the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have been locked in a duel whose clash in this Wednesday’s Champions League semifinals will mark the point, according to Organ. But the rivalry between the two Gulf states remains primarily a geopolitical issue.
“The animosity bordering on hatred between these two states is mainly related to the scarecrow of the Muslim Brotherhood,” stresses David Rigoulet-Roze, researcher at IRIS (Institute for International and Strategic Relations) from the outset. “Qatar is indeed the proven financial backer of the so-called Muslim Brotherhood, which was particularly active in prolonging the 2011 Arab Spring,” he explains. But the Emirates have an almost instinctive hatred of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose threat they pose takes precedence over the threat posed by Iran! It’s her absolute nightmare. They see them as the greatest threat capable of destabilizing all monarchical regimes based on hereditary and/or autocratic logic, preempting electoral logic. »
“Basically, nothing fundamental has changed”
In 2017, the Emirates are therefore part of the alliance with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, which decided to break off diplomatic relations and take economic measures against Qatar. “The idea was to set up a barrier against the Brotherhood in order to crush the movement’s financier,” decodes David Rigoulet-Roze. This opposition movement ended last January. “It’s a facade of reconciliation,” notes the IRIS researcher. Qatar has not given up or given up anything. But the exclusion of Qatar broke the cohesion of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council). But in order to present a united front against Iran, leaving Qatar outside the structure of which it is historically a stakeholder has not been possible. »
The Emirates therefore sided with Riyadh. “But basically nothing fundamental has changed, David Rigoulet-Roze escapes, except that Qatar is a bit more discreet in its geopolitical leanings. Out of self-interest, everyone decided to restore the molds to save the appearance. But the liabilities are not erased. »