Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia iStock

President Trump appears to have been instrumental in pulling off yet another miracle in the Middle East with the announcement that Saudi Arabia would be reopening its airspace and land and sea border with Qatar.

The announcement - which comes on the eve of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit on 5 January - is the catalyst that will see the resolution of a political dispute that led Saudi Arabia and its allies – Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Egypt - to impose a diplomatic, trade and travel boycott on Qatar in June 2017.

Qatar was then accused of having ties with Iran that were deemed too close.

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani will attend the GCC summit – having received a formal invitation from Saudi King Salman to the six-nation summit.

The Saudi News Agency has reported Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stating:

“that the upcoming GCC summit shall be a summit to close the ranks and unify the stance and to enhance the march of the good and prosperity, adding that we will translate through the summit,”

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner had visited Saudi Arabia and Qatar last November in an attempt to secure such a reconciliation agreement.

One week earlier - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reported to have secretly met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Saudi Arabia denied the meeting took place - but Israel didn’t.

Mr. Netanyahu’s meeting with Mohammed bin Salman – reportedly in the seaside corner of northwest Saudi Arabia - coincided with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit. Yossi Cohen - the director of Israel’s spy agency Mossad - reportedly accompanied Netanyahu.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud had hinted a rapprochement with Qatar was very near when he told the MED 2020 Rome forum on 4 December 2020:

"We've made significant progress in the last few days, thanks to the continuing efforts of Kuwait but also thanks to strong support from President Trump and US administration towards bringing all parties closer"

The significance of such a looming reconciliation was summed up by al Khalej Today:

“an extraordinary Saudi movement has emerged in the direction of promoting the achievement of a reconciliation that has become within reach, as the Kingdom’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan, has already mentioned. A reconciliation in which Riyadh is happy, as it believes, as well as its ally Washington, that the Gulf reunification will constitute, if Israel is annexed to it, a united front in the face of Iran, which will stand as an impregnable barrier to any step that contradicts the policy of “maximum pressure”.

GCC Secretary General Nayef Mubarak Al Hajraf has welcomed the reopening of airspace and land and sea borders between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

“The step, which comes ahead of the 41st GCC summit in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, reflects the great interest and sincere efforts being made to ensure the success of the summit, which is held in light of extraordinary circumstances,”

Kushner will reportedly be attending the signing ceremony to end the blockade of Qatar.

Anwar Gargash - UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs - describing the upcoming summit as “historic” – stated:

“We stand before a historic summit in Al-Ula, through which we restore our Gulf cohesion and ensure that security, stability and prosperity is our top priority. We have more work ahead and we are moving in the right direction,”

Could these developments herald more Arab states soon joining Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Morocco in recognizing Israel?

President Trump keeps continuing to pull more rabbits out of the hat.