In this vein, former senior Iranian diplomat Nosratollah Tajik told Al-Monitor, “It could be predicted from the start that Saudi Arabia could not forge unity against Qatar. Kuwait and Oman were the most important Arab players that did not accompany Saudi Arabia [in isolating Qatar]. Saudi Arabia wanted Iran to get involved in this situation, but we were wise and cautious. Not to mention that Saudi Arabia’s actions have also upset Turkey, and we can expect an overlap of interests between Tehran and Ankara.”
Saudi Arabia now finds itself in a difficult position. Riyadh, which had expected to create a united front against Qatar with the collective help of other Arab regional states, has instead created a bipolar Middle East. Saudi Arabia thought it could make Qatar obedient by using pressure, but instead it pushed Qatar and Turkey closer to Iran and strengthened Iran’s regional axis. Russia, meanwhile, has tried to not get too involved in the conflicts in the Middle East, although its viewpoints are close to Iran’s in terms of fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — issues that are points of conflict between Tehran and Riyadh.
In addition to all this, Saudi Arabia was counting on full US support. However, Trump has shown that the United States has no intention of entering the situation unilaterally and the priority for the White House is to sell arms and make money — which they successfully did to both of the conflicting sides in a short span of time. It should be noted that this Trump policy has the potential for stoking even more unrest in the region.
It would be foolish to assume that Saudi Arabia’s measure will lead to the formation of a new alliance between Qatar, Turkey, Iran and Russia, but it will have several benefits for Tehran. First, Iran can be assured that Saudi Arabia will not be able to form a united coalition of Arab and regional countries against it, and second, it can draw the failed and middle players toward itself. It can also draw international attention to the fact that it is Riyadh, and not Tehran, who has a problem with other regional players.