MIDDLE EAST

Qatar’s political blunders and glimpses of hope

Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad has called upon Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, expressing his desire for dialogue. The crown prince welcomed the move and the details are to be announced after Saudi Arabia consults with the boycotting countries.

Earlier, Kuwait’s Amir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad and US President Donald Trump addressed the Qatari crisis during their joint press conference. Sheikh Sabah said Qatar accepts the demands of the four boycotting countries: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain.

As soon as the press conference ended, the Qatari foreign minister denied what the Kuwaiti emir said. This means there’s a perspective that differs from Sheikh Tamim’s within the decision-making circles in Qatar.

Qatar victim of confusion

The series of Qatar’s confused moves ever since the crisis erupted has slowly revealed that it is not the only party making decisions in its name. This is evident from Doha’s contradictory reactions. Adopting contradictions has been a Qatari policy for around 20 years. However, Qatar is adopting such policies today due to a state of confusion and not because it’s planning destructive schemes.

Qatar’s insistence against politically dealing with the crisis and its preference to use media campaigns thwarted the mediation of Sheikh Sabah and Qatar’s chances towards finding a political solution. Al-Jazeera channel lost its viewers after it became a local Qatari channel that has nothing to do with professionalism.

The Qatari command structure is bragging about protecting its castles with foreign soldiers and not with its own people

Abdullah bin Bijad al-Otaibi

Sheikh Sabah’s statements in Washington showed the extent of Kuwait’s bitter feelings towards the adverse impact of the media and on the treason which Qatar committed inside Kuwait. Forgiveness can be granted to those who repent and acknowledge their mistakes but cannot be granted to stubborn people who insist on committing the same crimes, like the Qatari decision maker is doing.

Qatar and its manoeuvres towards the hajj season this year, such as attempts to internationalize it or politicize it, have terribly failed either out of fear of Saudi Arabia’s strong reaction or due to failing to convince anyone to politicize Hajj – except for Iran which Qatar has insisted to throw itself in its bosom and act like it is its saviour.

Doha could not even convince its own people of its own misleading propaganda as this year’s Qatari pilgrims numbered more than 1,500.

Persecution of Hajj pilgrims

How did Qatar deal with its citizens who went for hajj? It either denied there were any – and this was proven wrong from the interviews which media outlets published and broadcast with Qatari pilgrims – or detained some pilgrims who returned to Doha and cast suspicions about their loyalty.

During his phone call with Emir Tamim, which was after his press conference with Kuwait’s emir, President Trump said: “Countries must follow through on commitments from the Riyadh Summit to defeat terrorism, cut off funding for terrorist groups and combat extremist ideology.”

The most prominent proof that Qatar is condemned in the regional and international arena is that terror groups have lost their balance in many areas across the globe, just after Qatar was put under the regional and international microscope. This leaves no doubt that Qatar has been involved in funding terrorism and supporting terror groups and organizations for years.

Also read: Anti-Terror Quartet issue statement on Qatar FM’s recent comments at the UN

What the Qatari decision maker does not understand, despite its clarity, is that its battle with the four boycotting countries and other countries which supported the latter’s stance is not a media or social-media battle but a political one. The path to resolve this battle is clear as Doha must commit to the four countries’ demands and stop supporting and funding terrorism.

However, Doha is still adopting stubbornness as a strategy and it’s still spending millions to buy western media outlets, so-called human-rights organizations and public relations’ companies. All this is being paid for from the Qatari people’s money and it’s all for a lost cause!

Dabbling with extremism

Another losing gamble for the Qatari dispensation is its ideological backing of the Muslim Brotherhood and its branches in Gulf countries and other states. The Brotherhood is listed as a terror group in all four boycotting countries and the world has begun to discover the extent of the threats of these fundamentalist groups and its direct relation to terrorism in America and Europe.

The era of Obama who was allied with it has ended. Obama had granted the Brotherhood and other evil states and groups a chance to organize their ranks and empower their interests. North Korea and Iran are examples.

Losing this ideological wager has become clear to the branches of this extremist fundamentalist group in the Arab Gulf – be it related to its associations, organizations and symbols – as most of them kept silent out of fear that their involvement in Qatar’s treason, betrayal and conspiracies is exposed.

Also read: Qatar and the opposing Arab quartet: Why the standoff will prolong

Khomeini drank poison once and Khamenei drank it several times after him and there will be more to come. It seems the Qatari decision maker insists on drinking from the same cup. Insisting to fail is shameful and persisting to fail is suicide. Resorting to some regional countries, whether they are sectarian or fundamentalist, deepens the crisis and does not show there are any serious efforts to finding a solution. We hope this recent contact represents willingness to return to the Arab, Gulf and international bosom.

The four boycotting countries did not propose a military solution in any way whatsoever. However, Doha was quick to summon foreign brigades, armored vehicles, soldiers and tanks to protect its troublesome decision makers and not Qatar, the state and its people and interests. It summoned them to protect the mistakes of the past and the current sins. What a strange choice!

The Qatari command structure is bragging about protecting its castles with foreign soldiers and not with its own people. Qatar is being as strange as Muammar Qaddafi whose bodyguards were foreign females and not Libyans. Misleading illusions and foolish dreams are harmful, and the way back is always easier.

As we await an agreement among the four countries regarding the desire which the Qatari emir conveyed to the Saudi crown prince, the stance is clear. Qatar must completely abandon its destructive and terrorist policies and wake up from its illusions. A traitor is still doubted amid hopes that he will return to his senses.

This article is also available in Arabic.
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Abdullah bin Bijad al-Otaibi is a Saudi writer and researcher. He is a member of the board of advisors at Al-Mesbar Studies and Research Center. He tweets under @abdullahbjad.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 13 September 2017 KSA 14:15 - GMT 11:15
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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