UAE President Visits Qatar in Sign of Regional Thaw

Photo: Al Arabiya News

The Facts

  • Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (MBZ), the UAE's de facto ruler for years before becoming president in May, met with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani for a brief visit on Monday before returning to Abu Dhabi, where he is due to meet Israel's president.

  • MBZ said via Twitter that "I congratulate my brother Tamim bin Hamad and the people of Qatar on hosting the FIFA World Cup and wish them continued success." He also added that this was a "source of pride" for the Gulf countries and the Arab world.

The Spin

Narrative A

This meeting was a good step forward in normalizing relations between Qatar and its Arab neighbors. Though, originally, the spat between Qatar and other Arab states began because of Qatar's independent foreign policy, this is now in the past. Qatar never gave in to the unrealistic demands made during the blockade, and its Arab allies have realized that it's better to be friends than enemies.

Narrative B

It's good to have Qatar back in the Arab fold, especially now that the region's geopolitical fault lines have shifted substantially since 2017. Ultimately, all the UAE and other Arab states wanted was for Qatar to end its support for extremist groups throughout the region, and, for the most part, this is no longer a major issue or concern. The Arab world is far stronger when all its people work together.

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