MIDDLE EAST

Qatar: It is about policies not news

The story from Qatar is not whether the news is fabricated or true. The problem is much bigger than what meets the eye.

Qatar, a country which is rich with natural resources and whose people are very close to the Saudi society, has since 1996 adopted a strange approach in looking after the general interest of the Gulf system particularly towards any higher interest of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Cooperation Council’s biggest country.

A lot has been said about the statements attributed to the Qatari Emir Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani and which were published by the official Qatari news agency, state television and other official Qatari media outlets. They later denied the report. This was followed by Saudi, Emirati and Bahraini comments. Let’s keep in mind that “ordinary” media outlets publish news from their “ordinary” and usual sources.

The substance

What attracts attention here is the content of the report. According to the report, it was said that Brotherhood is a legitimate group and not a terrorist organization and that Hezbollah is a resistance movement while Hamas is a legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

It was also said that Iran is a major country that one must gain to his side and that Qatar is being subjected to “an unjust campaign” coinciding with the US President Donald Trump’s visit. The report also said the situation with the US will change due to the problematic new administration.

It added that Al-Udeid Air Base provides a deep and permanent cooperation with the Americans that no one can change. It also said that some governments which claim to fight terrorism actually adopt extremism (it’s clear who is meant here following Riyadh’s major summit) and added that the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt must end their campaigns against Qatar.

Are these Qatari contentions false? They do not exist? Is this all slander? Does this reflect reality?

The reason behind Saudi, Emirati, Bahraini and other Arab countries’ anger is that clarity in terms of unified policies is no longer something that we can take lightly or overlook

Mashari Althayidi

Beyond denial

The situation is far deeper than the denial. Media outlets affiliated to Qatar – from Al-Jazeera network to London and Turkey’s platforms, research centers and publishing houses – are all dedicated to promoting the Brotherhood propaganda. Everyone is aware of that. Prior to that we have known about the honeymoon period between Hezbollah and Doha.

Even the United States, during the presidential term of Iran’s and Brotherhood’s friend Barack Obama, was aware of that. Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently spoke about Qatar’s relation with Brotherhood at a seminar at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy.

“Qatar has long welcomed the Muslim Brotherhood more than any other country in the region,” adding that whenever Washington asked Doha to pursue a rejected Brotherhood activity they would “but the initiative never came from them,” he said.

The reason behind Saudi, Emirati, Bahraini and other Arab countries’ anger is that clarity in terms of unified policies is no longer something that we can take lightly or overlook, especially after the departure of Obama who obstructed such efforts.

Everyone should try and comprehend the importance GCC-US and the Islamic-US summits. This is a new phase in politics which leaves its mark on media and other fields. We hope the brothers in Qatar think of mutual interests.

This article is also available in Arabic.
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Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy.

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Last Update: Thursday, 25 May 2017 KSA 14:30 - GMT 11:30
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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