What if Qatar does not meet Gulf demands and insists on continuing the Hamad bin Khalifa project that aims to topple Arab countries and divide them?
The current situation shows that the countries, which boycotted Qatar, have had a large chunk of their demands met without Qatar responding to them as Doha before the boycott is not like Doha after the boycott.
The boycotting countries’ shifted media coverage of Qatar for the first time and revealed its links to terrorism. This limited Doha’s activities as they have restrained the tools Qatar used to implement its project.
Qatar has succeeded in keeping its project secret as it has a spotlight, such as Al-Jazeera channel, that obscures vision in its surrounding and sheds light outside it. However, for the first time ever, anyone who even sneezes in Qatar finds himself before a fierce campaign launched by media outlets in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and by the latter’s citizens via social media networks.
This is something that Al Jazeera and its affiliates are not used to as they were the only ones which adopted a populist rhetoric. Al Jazeera and all the television channels, which Qatar spent billions on thus lost their popularity and strong influence without Qatar even shutting them down, and they’ve now shifted to defending themselves after they served as a tool for attacking others.
Qatar must keep in mind that the boycotting countries will not lose with time as time is on their side. If Doha listens to the voice of reason, it will do so in dignity but if it refuses, nothing will change for usSawsan Al Shaer
The international community
The boycotting countries succeeded in highlighting the situation to the international community and not just to the Gulf community. They revealed how Qatar supports terrorist organizations and figures either inside Qatar or in other countries such as Turkey and Britain. Exposing Qatar’s ties with these organizations fell within the context of combating terrorism.
The boycotting countries have utilized their network of international relations to monitor these organizations’ and figures’ activity and broadcast it to the entire world shall they make a move or issue a statement. This limited their activity and also infiltrated their bank accounts and exposed the ties between them and Qatar. All this will make their work difficult as they will have to make unprecedented efforts to disguise.
The boycotting countries also brought up an issue, which the Qatari people have been kept away from for years. Who hijacked the decision making process from them and who benefits from isolating them from their surrounding and threatening their security and stability while they enjoy security and use their money?
How do Qataris benefit from funding fighting militias in Libya and Tunisia? How do they benefit from fueling the conflict in Egypt? What do Qataris get from its leaders’ relations with terrorists in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia? Everyone now knows who prevents ending the boycott. It is the same people who prevent the Qatari people from returning to their brothers in the Gulf and prevent opening borders.
They are the decision makers in Qatar, which has been exposed by the recent boycott as it shed light on them for the first time inside Qatar. The boycott has revealed they are enemies of the Qatari people sucking their blood and exploiting their riches, while not one of them is Qatari.
More importantly, the boycotting countries succeeded in bringing Qatar back to its normal geographical, historical and political size. It would not have shamed Qatar if it had realized its worth. On the contrary, Qatar’s modesty would have increased its worth but punching above its weight harmed others and it has now backfired on Qatar, which is back to its normal political size. For the first time ever, the Qatari command is going through what it put Arab leaders through in the past 20 years.
It is being mocked and ridiculed while everyone is on the lookout for any mistake. It got a taste of its own medicine in less than a month. It finally realized that silence over its practices was not due to weakness but out of sense of superiority. Qatar has realized that political weight does not improve by insulting others but improves when leaders play honest roles of kindness and love to achieve peace.
Qatar learnt what its real geographic size is and realized it would not have shamed it either as there are smaller countries which, thanks to their relations with their surroundings, provided themselves with a geographic extension that helped them be more efficient and developed.
These were the tools used to execute the Hamad bin Khalifa project but the boycotting countries have negated their effects even before Qatar announced abandoning them. Not ending the boycott and escalating it in case Qatar insists to resume these policies will eliminate these tools once and for all especially after the deception that Qatar resorted to during negotiations have been exposed as it never upheld its commitments.
Qatar must keep in mind that the boycotting countries will not lose with time as time is on their side. If Doha listens to the voice of reason and returns to the Gulf fold, it will do so in dignity but if it refuses, nothing will change for us.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Sawsan Al Shaer is a Bahraini writer and journalist. She tweets under the handle @sawsanalshaer