USE OF FORCE OR DIPLOMATIC INTERVENTION: ASSESSING THE BLOCKADE OF QATAR
Keywords:“Use of force”, “non-intervention”, Blockade, Qatar, “sovereign state”.
The coordinated blockade of the State of Qatar by some of its neighbours in June 2017 has raised questions on the sovereignty of the state and the extent to which coercion is allowed in international law. This article considers the reasons behind the blockade and the subsequent demands by Qatar’s neighbours. It evaluates the blockade of Qatar based on the twin principles of international law: the prohibition on the use of force and non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations. The article argues that the language of article 2 (4), read together with the purposes of the United Nations (UN), render any forcible attempt to coerce a sovereign state into surrendering its sovereignty illegal. The article also considers the debate on whether economic and political coercion amounts to force. It submits that the coordinated blockade and the subsequent “13 points” demands threaten Qatar’s sovereignty, because the blockade contravenes the purposes of the UN. The article also argues that the blockade amounts to an interference in the internal affairs of Qatar, even if economic or political coercion are not considered as force. The article finds that the blockade does not categorically amount to a threat or use of force; but it certainly violates the principle of non-intervention as enshrined in the UN Charter.
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