MIDDLE EAST

What happens to Qatar if it rejects Gulf demands?

As the deadline for Qatar to meet Gulf demands nears, the country puts itself in fierce conflict which does not end with the demands made by the four Arab countries. This dispute extends to other countries that support moderation, tolerance and combat terrorism.

In recent days, Qatar only viewed these demands via a narrow perspective. It did not look at them as serious demands by countries that suffered from terrorism and witnessed bloodshed. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt are countries targeted by terrorists.

All the busted cells were nurtured by media platforms in Qatar, and they received direct support from them, like the case is in Syria, or indirect support such as the hefty ransom, which Qatar unhesitatingly paid. Qatar is not convinced it is embroiled in this global terrorist situation and this poses a problem for Doha as it will worsen the regime’s crises and put it thrust it into an unprecedented phase.

Qatar’s foreign minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani was hesitant the entire time as he made contradictory statements. His statements were not suited to a major diplomatic crisis which struck the country. In his recent statements, he even admitted Qatar’s support of terrorism.

He literally said: “Qatar is not the only country confronting this accusation and it’s rather at the bottom of the list of countries involved in such crimes.” He acknowledges Qatar is on the list of countries supporting terrorism and when he realizes what he said he adds that Doha is at the bottom of the list.

Qatar can learn lessons from the exceptional cooperation that exists between Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain as these countries operate as a unit and almost completely agree on all thorny issues

Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran

Diplomatic efficiency

He also lessens the burden of responsibility. If Qatar demonstrated diplomatic efficiency during this crisis, it would have managed to delay the negative repercussions, contain the crisis and adopt a proper approach by responding to demands and discussing what is impossible or difficult to meet. However, it chose to remain stubborn as it viewed the crisis as “insulting” as former foreign minister Hamad bin Jassem put it.

No one objected to the mediation efforts, which sought to contain the crisis and bring Qatar back to the Gulf fold. As colleague Mohammad Romaihi said on Twitter the crisis with its repercussions may extend to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) which has been the most successful Arab entity. However, Qatar’s unjustified stubbornness may push the countries toward other options and alliances.

This is going to be the most dangerous consequence if Qatar chooses to reject the demands. Doha’s rejection may destroy the successes achieved by the GCC, which it hasn’t been harmonious to since the mid-1990s. It did not adhere to its principles and goals of the GCC, especially in areas such as resisting Iranian expansion in the Gulf and working to curb it.

Qatar can learn lessons from the exceptional cooperation that exists between Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain as these countries operate as a complete unit and almost completely agree on all thorny issues, such as their recent decision to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar. What these countries have in common is Qatar’s intense campaigns against them.

Gulf unity

When the UAE exercised its sovereign right to stamp out terrorists and Muslim Brotherhood’s criminal activities, Qatari media platforms claimed that the UAE was being suppressive. When Bahrain fought against terrorism, it was dubbed as an act of aggression against people seeking peace. When Saudi Arabia curbed expansion of terrorist activities in Qatif and Al-Awamiyah, Qatari media outlets sided with Hezbollah’s media.

And now, after rejecting the demands, Qatar will create a wedge in Gulf unity. This would mean the situation will become even more complicated and will last longer. It is no secret that the crisis has been difficult for Qatar as the reasons behind it are clear after decades of conspiracies. This is backed by records – some of which broadcast – and by documents that reveal the extent of Qatar’s rogue behavior in and outside the GCC.

The ball is now in the Qatar’s court and time is not on its side. The boycotting countries are the winning party as it is necessary for them to address Qatar after it went too far. The least they can do is protect the security of their countries from those who conspired against them during the past two decades.

Rejecting the demands means refusing to acknowledge the new international reality. The repercussions will not be easy on the small country, which is arrogantly stubborn for no good reason.

This article is also available in Arabic.
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Fahad Shoqiran is a Saudi writer and researcher who also founded the Riyadh philosophers group. His writings have appeared in pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Alarabiya.net, among others. He also blogs on philosophies, cultures and arts. He tweets @shoqiran.
 

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Last Update: Tuesday, 4 July 2017 KSA 14:24 - GMT 11:24
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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