Qatar gave the Iranian regime more than it deserves, and granted it blind confidence in exchange with imaginary support in its crisis with the Arab brothers, while the Iranian authorities saw in the Qatari crisis as a great opportunity to weaken the Gulf States and stir up strife among them. To do so, Iran has deceived the Qatari regime of its ability to extricate it from its crisis and bring it out victorious. Indeed, it has been able to convince it to hold on to its positions, despite Iran’s lack of any strategic support factors for Qatar except its military and security elements that could be used to thwart any popular protests that may erupt at home against the regime, in addition to some other promises and agreements that Iran will not be able to translate on the ground because of its inability to implement and abide by them.

Iran has been quick to support Qatar in its crisis with the boycotting countries, and sent political, military and security delegations to reassure the Qatari side that Tehran stands wholeheartedly with Doha in its crisis. Iran has done this for several reasons:

First, the secret agreements previously held between Iran and Qatar on supporting and financing armed terrorist groups in Iraq and Yemen, which made Tehran sure that Qatar would not retreat from its hostile positions towards the Gulf countries, which explains the difference of Iranian positions towards the Qatari first crisis in 2014 and the second one in 2017, where Iran did not disclose its intervention in the first one because it was not sure that the Qatari regime would not retreat from its positions and give a political slap to Iran.

Second, Iran saw in this crisis as a great opportunity to weaken the international and regional anti-terrorist coalition, which holds Iran responsible for destabilizing the region and its security, hence, it hastened to deepen the crisis and exploit it to further divide the countries of the region. In order to complete this plan, it also established relations with Turkey and supported president Erdogan and his Ikhwani party, as well as persuading Qatar, Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood to distance themselves from the Arab and Islamic alliance, which Iran regards as its main enemy. Iran is also still working to coax Sudan and some Arab and African countries through Qatar, which has become a tool for the implementation of the Iranian expansion project. However, the deterioration of the capabilities of the Iranian regime, in addition to the political wisdom of both Saudi Arabia and the UAE, this plan has been thwarted.

Third, Iran saw in the Qatari crisis as an economic opportunity that could be exploited in several ways, and a gateway to reach Qatari billions by exporting unsellable Iranian goods to Qatar, sharing the gas revenues from their joint North Field, as well as circumventing sanctions using Qatari figures and companies in Iranian foreign trade and banking transactions.

Fourth, Qatar is a gateway for Iran and a bridge for it to extend its influence in countries experiencing the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood, as Qatar is the main supporter and patron of these groups. Thus, supporting Qatar in its crisis means opening the door to Iranian relations with Turkey, Sudan, Tunisia and every country hosts or supports the Muslim Brotherhood or their ideology. It is part of an Iranian plan to form an Ikhwani- Iranian alliance to support and expand terrorist activities, and to put obstacles in the way of the coalition’s efforts that combats terrorism and stands against the Iranian expansionist project.

Therefore, Qatar is currently trying to repair relations between Iran and other Arab and Islamic countries that witness an Ikhwani presence, and under the guidance of Iran, Qatar’s diplomacy and funds are active in many countries at the aim of white-washing the image of the Iranian regime and restore its relations with countries that have severed relations with this regime because of its subversive activities, including Morocco, which recently decided to cut off diplomatic relations with Iran because of its blatant interference in its internal affairs and its support for the Polisario Front.

Al Mezmaah Studies & Research Centre

28 June  2018