Jokowi Offers to Mediate Gulf Conflict

Tuesday, 13 June 2017 , 14:00:00 WIB - Politics

A man is seen passing by a Qatar Airways office in Manama, Bahrain, Monday (5/6). (ANTARA)

JAKARTA, GRES.NEWS – A new conflict in the Middle East has arisen. Qatar is being ‘disconnected’ by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for allegedly funding ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), Al-Qaeda and Ikhwanul Muslimin.

Furthermore, the country is close friends with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s closest rival.
Another factory may be economic jealousy.

"Qatar is small but sophisticated. The country is benefiting from its advantageous geographic geologic and demographic state," said Berly Martawardaya, a lecturer of economics from Universitas Indonesia, in Jakarta, Saturday (10/6).

According to him, Qatar has great potential in income, education and natural resources.

"Qatar is only the size of Banten, but it is an advanced nation. She has globally top universities. So, Qatar is interesting as the nation has become aware that she must not depend solely on oil and gas even though its reserve is estimated to not last even after 56 years," he said.

Qatar is a small high-profile nation that exports crude and oil. The nation has also successfully developed its airline and tourism sector. Neighboring nations may see her as a threat for their competitiveness.
"Qatar is aware that it has a lot of money, so she built critical education facilities and developed its democracy. She have also built Al-Jazeera that is fully independent. This is extraordinary," Berly said.

Meanwhile, Ali Munhanif, a lecturer at the Social and Political Science of Universitas Indonesia National (UIN), said Qatar is special as its economy has become very strong.

According to him, the initiative to disconnect Qatar was initiated by Saudi Arabia, who saw a significantly growing threat from the country, for example, Qatar was the only action in the Arabian gulf to go against the invasion on Iraq.

Munhanif added that there is competition for dominance in the region.
Qatar he added, has been more open for reforms, starting by thinking pragmatically. Hence, the nation is more accepted by European countries.

"Qatar is an able small nation and this threatens Saudi Arabia," Munhanif said.

INDONESIA OFFERS TO MEDIATE – Meanwhile, President Joko Widodo said he has communicated with the leaders of the conflicting gulf nations. He has told them that Indonesia is ready to mediate the conflict.
The president also said that he has communicated with President of Turkey, Rechep Tayyep Erdogan, on the matter.

"Last night, I called Syekh Tamim in Qatar. I asked him what the problem was," Jokowi said in his speech before students of the Pondok Pesantren Miftahul Huda, an Islamic school in, Tasikmalaya, West Java, Saturday (10/6).

Jokowi said he cannot conclude anything from the calls, but underlined that Indonesia, as the world’s Moslem population, wants to take a role to settle the conflict.

"I want Indonesia to hold a role in settling the conflict in the Middle East. Indonesia has struggled for years to open a consulate in the Palestine. Alhamdulillah, we now have one there. This is a good development as Indonesia has received recognition as a neutral nation and has the world’s largest Moslem population," Jokowi said.

People Legislative Council (MPR) Vice Chairman, Hidayat Nur Wahid, said nations inthe Islamic Cooperation Organization (OIC) as they are also member states.

I support the statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia that Indonesia wants to mediate and contribute to creating the best solutions or the Gulf region, as well as in other OIC countries, he said, in a written statement, Saturday (10/6).

Indonesia, according to Hidayat, must see this as an opportunity to prove the country’s leadership in the eyes of the world. The country, he says, has good a track record in settling conflicts in Southeast Asia.
Foreign minister Retno LP Marsudi recently stated that she has communicated with the foreign ministers of conflicting nations and Indonesia is ready to help to prevent the situation from getting worse.

"We call for all parties to withhold themselves and prioritize dialogues for reconciliation. Indonesia is ready to help so that the situation does not worsen," Retno said, Jakarta, Friday (9/6). (dtc)