During the past few decades, we have all heard the term the ‘war on terror’ and extremism, and we have seen it turn into a cheap commodity used for propaganda purposes. However, if we examine the reality of our current situation in the region, it is clear that violent ideologies and extremism have increased dramatically, and many brutal terrorist organizations have emerged.
The conflict in the Middle East is being steered by two types of discourse that are controlled by political forces with radically conflicting goals and visions for the region's future. The first type is a discourse that is designed for purely propaganda purposes, claiming to combat extremism, while pursuing policies that contradict this claim. The second is a discourse that firmly calls for fostering concepts like tolerance and coexistence.
Turkey and its ally Qatar adopt the first type of discourse. Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that these two states did not exist, any rational objective individual would see that so much of the unnecessary damage that is being inflicted would be removed. However, in reality, these states do exist, and they are moving forward with their destructive vision of supporting extremist groups and militias in several countries, just like Iran, which funds and trains its terrorist militias in a number of Arab countries.
Under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's rule, Turkey has turned into the preferred destination for different types of groups that can aid Turkey in spreading extremist ideologies and implementing Ankara's agendas to form armed militias that serve its goals in Syria, Libya and other countries.
These reckless policies are facing backlash from within Turkey itself, and from well-known political figures, as Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), who recently criticized the AKP's policies that support "Muslim Brotherhood" groups and antagonize major Arab countries.
Furthermore, Qatar continues to play multiple roles in keeping the extremist discourse alive by being a reliable financer many extremist groups and organizations even within Europe. (Christian Chesnot, one of the authors of a book titled "Qatar Papers" reveals in numbers how Qatar has flooded Europe with extremist groups by supporting their projects with amounts reaching 260 million euros).
When these organizations have access to unconstrained funds from Doha, they will surely be motivated to do everything in their power to attack and undermine the discourse of tolerance and coexistence that millions of Muslims nowadays are trying to adopt and strengthen.
Although Doha claims to fight terrorism, the latest events clearly indicate that it is all a big performance meant to mislead and deceive the world. For instance, Qatar claims to be in the process of carrying out trials for figures on the US Department of the Treasury’s terrorist lists, such as Abdul Rahman Al-Nuaimi, the financier of Al-Qaeda, when he is in fact completely free, and Qatari officials were even photographed attending the wedding of his son.
It is safe to say that successive US administrations are committing the same grave mistake by believing this heinous performance. They are being lenient with such forces and letting them continue to provide unlimited funds that help terrorist organizations thrive and spread their extremist agenda, without holding them accountable.
For this reason, we understand that boycotting Doha is considered a decisive and historic step aimed at putting an end to this outright nefarious meddling. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have taken it upon themselves to eradicate such destabilizing and dangerous behavior not only in the Gulf region, but in the Middle East, and perhaps the world. Such destabilizing behavior is the main reason why in the past few years we have seen extremist ideologies spread quickly and manifest in the form of terrorist organizations that move seamlessly from one place to another because of their supporters.
These four states are waging a valiant war against the discourse of violence and extremism. It is clear to see that what is happening before our eyes is not a propaganda campaign. These states are sparing no effort to spread the values of tolerance and coexistence within their borders first, and then in a region that has not experienced true peace for a very long time. This is why we are witnessing a great alliance between Sunni and Shia extremist forces whose only aim is to undermine these efforts and discredit the leadership of these states.
This commendable quest to promote such peaceful values reflects the shared vision of these states. Their main objective is to create a humane environment that is morally, socially, and economically healthy, and to defeat the curators of hate and extremism as soon as possible before they succeed in influencing and manipulating emerging generations. There is no doubt that this is the war that should be praised; this is what I would call the war of the righteous.
This article was originally published in, and translated from, Asharq al-Awsat.