A spat between Qatar and Egypt raises the prospect that a rift in the pan-Sunni, Gulf Arab-led coalition has re-opened. Reuters reports:
A senior Egyptian diplomat on Thursday accused Qatar of supporting terrorism after Qatar recalled its ambassador from Cairo in a dispute over Egyptian air strikes on Islamic State targets in Libya.Egyptian jets bombed sites in Libya on Monday hours in response to the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians by Islamic State militants there.The Arab League expressed its “complete understanding” over the Egyptian action and threw its weight behind Cairo’s call for a lifting of the arms embargo on the Libyan army.But at a subsequent Arab League meeting, Qatar expressed reservations over the attack.
Until this fall, Qatar had aligned itself with Turkey, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood in a group that stood opposed both to Shi’a Iran and also the Sunni alliance of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and (tacitly) Israel. But Riyadh was able to bring Qatar to heel—or so it seemed. In a series of public apologies, Qatar expressed its desire to be reconciled with the Sisi government of Egypt. It also evicted the Muslim Brotherhood from its territory and restricted hostile media coverage of the Egyptian regime.But now, is Qatar moving back out of the Riyadh-Cairo orbit?