MIDDLE EAST

Qatar will surrender in the dark

The moves taken by Doha can be easily predicted as if it was an open book. Qatar has taken the same steps in similar previous crises. It is keen on spreading the propaganda of rejection and showing heroic television stances that do not match its capabilities, and do not reflect the true decisions it intends to take.

We heard yesterday that Qatar has rejected the demands of the 4 boycotting countries, but do not believe what you heard, as Doha will secretly surrender soon. This is what it did when it was in conflict with Saudi Arabia in 2013, and repeated it the following year.

On the media, Qatar exaggerated about being tenacious, and then again, through some mediators, it agreed later on the demands behind closed doors. Qatar has relied on the Emir of Kuwait as a mediator, asking him again to intervene and stop the crisis on the diplomatic and borders levels.

Old promises

When Doha agreed to all the demands that year, including silencing its Jazeera channel, it did not complain that it was a violation of its sovereignty. The only condition of the Emir of Qatar was not to announce the details of the agreement. Indeed, Saudi Arabia kept it secreted until the last crisis broke out, weeks ago and most of the information was revealed.

Qatar cares about appearances; it wants the world to see that it rejected the demands and then it will be ready to compromise behind the scenes

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Today, the authorities in Doha announced their rejection through media celebrations and propaganda. It would be good if Qatar sticks by its stances; however, you will hear soon, in a month or two, that it has sent secret mediators with short messages stating that Doha is ready to accept all 13 demands. Hypocrisy will repeat itself!

Qatar cares about the appearances; it wants the world to see that it rejected the demands and then it will be ready to compromise behind the scenes. A well-known Qatari source advises not to believe anything said now as Qatar will be ready to get rid of their al-Jazeera channel and even fire a number of its employees.

Later on, they will announce that they have sold it and one of their affiliates will be buying it so that it remains associated to Qatar. In my opinion, it is wrong to include al-Jazeera in the demands. It is just a media tool for the government’s policy. Everyone knows that it is no longer influential.

New ways

The Qatari maneuvers will be repeated in a different way. Last time, the Emir promised to undertake commitments that are kind of similar to today’s demands.

The previous list also included the abstention from financing Saudi extremist religious groups, funding revolts against the government from abroad, paying Saudi clerics, academics and media used by Qatari government against Saudi Arabia, and waging media inciting campaigns, including al-Jazeera and other outlets.

Qatar has literally carried out its commitments, but in fact, it was not doing so. Al-Jazeera has stopped criticizing Saudi Arabia for 3 consecutive years and was always praising Saudi officials, but at the same time, it opened 2 television stations in London that carried out incitement against Riyadh, targeting in particular radical Islamic groups.

After Al-Jazeera stopped criticizing Saudi Arabia, based on the agreement between the 2 governments, it dedicated its time to incite against the Egyptian authorities.

Hostile moves

The Qatari authorities has also stopped the payments to Saudi nationals as per the previous agreement, but opened new financial accounts for them through their institutions that were affiliated to Qatar and raised the number of those who are under the Qatari financial cover to hundreds after being tens.

As for the demands to abstain from sheltering Saudi Islamic extremists on its territories, Qatar deported them to live in Turkey up until today at its expenses; there are also those who stayed in Qatar after being granted the citizenship! In my opinion, this is a decisive crisis as Saudi Arabia is not alone; it is supported by Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain, and this would generate a stronger diplomatic position.

There also other regional governments that have supported the boycotting countries and their positions against Qatar will be clearer in future diplomatic and economic meetings. All these countries insist on their position against the reconciliation and against accepting any commitment from the Doha regime as they want Qatar to feel the same danger it has caused to other governments in the region by insisting on funding terrorist and extremist groups.

This article was first published in Asharq Al-Awsat on July 6 2017.
_______________________
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed.

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Last Update: Thursday, 6 July 2017 KSA 13:47 - GMT 10:47
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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