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Qatar-Iran ties raise Arab hackles

Source: Press TV

Qatar's close relations with Iran has reportedly incurred Arab displeasure.

Qatar becomes the second Arab country after Syria to get on the wrong side of Arab leaders over its close relations with Iran.

A senior diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity on Wednesday that many Arab countries -- Saudi Arabia in particular -- believe the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom to be "courting" Tehran.

He added that Qatari leaders have incurred Arab displeasure for standing with Iran -- a stance that has squarely defied the growing calls for "a united front" against the Islamic Republic.

According to another diplomat, also speaking on condition of anonymity, Qatar's pro-Iranian stance would come at the expense of its relations with Saudi Arabia. "The problem with Big Brother will come back," he said.

He was referring to longstanding territorial disputes between the two oil-rich countries that led to heavy armed clashes in 1992.

Arab leaders, discontent with Persian Iran's growing influence in the Middle East, stepped up efforts to woo the country's Arab allies, such as Qatar and Syria, in a recent Arab get-together in Doha -- but all to no avail.

The annual summit was hosted by Qatari emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani earlier this week in a bid to improve inter-Arab relations at a time when the Arab world is grappling with a deep-running rift.

Efforts to reconcile Arabs, however, hit a snag and the two-day meeting ended by highlighting Arab rift rather than unity.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak skipped the summit and ridiculed Qatar as "small", in response to Doha's support for Hamas, the Palestinian resistance movement.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, meanwhile, threw a fit when he called Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah "a British product, an American follower, and a liar".

Syrian President Bashar Assad, in an opening speech, criticized Arab leaders for their silence on Israel's actions on Gaza.

... Payvand News - 04/02/09 ... --

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