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More fishermen arrested in Qatari waters 4, November 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar.
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28 Indian sailors from Saudi Arabia were arrested two months ago for entering Qatari waters and have just been sentenced to two years in jail by a Qatari court.

This sentence is, according to Indian officials, wholly unprecedented in the region. Previously, these kinds of infringements have (eventually) led to fines and repatriation for those deemed to have broken the law. It seems that Qatar is making a statement.

Many if not all Gulf states are extremely sensitive about their territorial waters. Indeed, considering that the GCC States are allies of very similar historical and cultural derivation and have a readily identifiable ‘other’ that threatens them all, this level of latent antagonism over borders is somewhat surprising.

However, all are young states with borders that were in flux until relatively recently. Given the potential riches deep under ground, it is furthermore not wholly surprising to see states arguing over precise delineations of borders. Add in a pinch of stubbornness and a large soupçon of pride and there’s a recipe for continual intransigence and perennial border-related issues, some of which, as we have all seen, can expand dramatically into a serious problem.

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