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Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain have withdrawn their ambassadors from Qatar, claiming that Doha was violating a clause in the Gulf Cooperation Council charter not to interfere in the domestic affairs of fellow members. The decision, unprecedented in the council's history, hints at significant changes to come for the GCC and the balance of power in the Gulf.
As the United States redefines its role in the Middle East, regional powers will feel pressure to exercise restraint and cooperate with each other. And that is exactly what the UAE is doing by potentially striking a deal with Iran over the disputed islands of Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tunbs.
With the ongoing carnage in Syria and gruesome bombings in Iraq, another explosion in the Middle East might hardly seem like news. But the importance of the blast that hit the Iranian embassy in Beirut should not be diminished. It could spell the beginning of the end for Hezbollah.
A UN peacekeeping mission has kept the peace along the Israeli-Syrian border for 40 years. But the strain of war is crushing the force -- making it even likelier that the Syrian conflict will engulf the wider Middle East.
Last week, Lebanon's prime minister resigned under intimidation from Hezbollah. The party is trying to fortify its position in Lebanon, since it can no longer count on its Syrian ally, Bashar al-Assad. But Hezbollah ought to know by now that it will not be able to rule Lebanon alone or with an iron fist.
After almost two years of bloodletting in Syria, there is little chance that negotiations of the kind UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has been urging would end the conflict. More likely, they would prolong it. And worse, they would perpetuate Bashar al-Assad’s favorite strategy of fanning fears of rebel sectarianism and extremism to dissuade the world from intervening against him.
The investigation into former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri's assassination has highlighted the detrimental role that Hezbollah plays in Lebanese politics, and placed Lebanon at the center of a regional power struggle that the United States cannot afford to ignore.