Territorial disputes: The Persian Gulf (Part 15) [Post 175]

Qatar and Saudi Arabia

Back in 2001, Qatar and Saudi Arabia signed a final agreement, bringing the curtain down on a 35-year-old territorial conflict in the second such settlement in a week for the Gulf peninsula state, reported AFP. 

Both Governments signed the 15 maps and documents included in the agreement over 60 kilometers (40 miles) of sea and land borders between the two countries. “With the signing of this agreement, all border conflicts between countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are settled,” Prince Saud was quoted by AFP as telling reporters after the ceremony. “

After settling our territorial conflict with Bahrain, we are proud of our relations with Saudi Arabia,” his Qatari counterpart said. Amid a long dispute over an unpublished 1965 border accord, Qatar and Saudi Arabia clashed in 1992 when Saudi troops occupied a Qatari border post before Egypt mediated to end the dispute. 

Riyadh and Doha in June 1999 signed maps marking a joint border, which were drawn up by a joint technical committee. Bedouin tribes live in the border area and frequently pass between the two countries. 

Qatar and the Arabian/Persian Gulf

Recently, Qatar’s relationships with its neighbours have been tense at times. Following the outbreak of regional unrest in 2011, Doha prided itself on its support for many popular revolutions, particularly in Libya and Syria. This stance was to the detriment of Qatar’s relations with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which temporarily recalled their respective ambassadors from Doha in March 2014. 

TAMIM later oversaw a warming of Qatar’s relations with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE in November 2014 following Kuwaiti mediation and signing of the Riyadh Agreement. In June 2017, however, the Quartet — Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE — cut diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar in response to alleged violations of the agreement.

The Region and the Historical Participation of External Interests

Occupying a small desert peninsula that extends northward from the larger Arabian Peninsula, it has been continuously but sparsely inhabited since prehistoric times. Following the rise of Islam, the region became subject to the Islamic caliphate; it later was ruled by a number of local and foreign dynasties before falling under the control of the Āl Thānī (Thānī dynasty) in the 19th century.

The Āl Thānī sought British patronage against competing tribal groups and against the Ottoman Empire—which occupied the country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries—and in exchange the United Kingdom controlled Qatar’s foreign policy until the latter’s independence in 1971. Thereafter, the monarchy continued to nurture close ties with Western powers as a central pillar of its national security.

ALBAWABA News (2001) Link to the complete document
CIA’s World Factbook Link to the complete document

Britannica.com Link to the complete document


This post is based on Jorge Emilio Núñez, Territorial Disputes and State Sovereignty. International Law and Politics (Routledge 2020).Previous published research monograph about territorial disputes and sovereignty by the author, Jorge Emilio Núñez, Sovereignty Conflicts and International Law and Politics: A Distributive Justice Issue London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2017.


The Persian Gulf and the Role of Outside Powers.

Friday 11th December 2020

Dr Jorge Emilio Núñez

Twitter: @DrJorge_World


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