MIDDLE EAST

Round two in the boycott of Qatar

At the time of writing this article, interesting information was posted on Twitter indicating that wine has become available in duty free at King Fahad International Airport in Dammam. This information which was posted along with pictures of trucks unloading wine boxes in a place that looks like a duty free warehouse. It was realized that these photos were captured at King Fahd Bridge Customs that links Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, when the attempt to smuggle it into Saudi Arabia was caught last year.

Any exciting news that comes out from Saudi Arabia has been posted by thousands of the fake Qatari names in social media, known in region as “Azmi Cells” referring to Azmi Bishara, the “thinker” who lives in Qatar.

It is not unusual that Saudi citizens wish to respond to these lies and refute them.

When Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt decided to boycott the Qatari government for its repeated provocations, Doha responded to the scandalous evidence through Twitter and other social media sites to keep public opinion in the region busy.

However, the strangest thing I heard two days ago is a statement attributed to the Qatari Minister of Commerce stating that Doha has overcome the crisis and the boycott is no longer affecting his country’s economy at all. Such news cannot be treated in the same way as the lies of Twitter as it is subject to numbers and global analysis.

It would be enough to highlight that because of the boycott, occupancy rates of planes at Hamad International Airport fell by varying percentages, not less than 35% percent, which in itself is a catastrophic percentage when it comes to this industry.

I wish that the boycotting countries would ignore empty discussions on Twitter as they can evolve into further problems between people, as long as facts are clear and the four countries positions are solid and unchanging unless Doha agrees to the required conditions. Saudi citizens are occupied with a transitional phase in building tomorrow’s state with all its challenges and optimism, and so there is no point to have further debates about the Qatari issue.

In this context, while official sources are trying to refute lies, allow me, as a citizen of a boycotting country, to take the initiative to boycott Azmi Bishara accounts on Twitter and ignore its fake news.

Will Qatar wake up and stop the actual and moral draining of its economy or will it continue? Is supporting extremist groups, allowing their figures to live in Doha, and the continuing wickedness of their media, worth all this trouble?

This article was first published in Arabic.
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Fahad Deghaither is a Saudi columnist on geopolitics. He tweets @F_Deghaither
 

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Last Update: Monday, 29 January 2018 KSA 12:06 - GMT 09:06
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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