The story with Qatar is not just about the recent statements attributed to Qatari Emir as it’s gone beyond the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Playing the role of the victim whom others are scheming against and attacking may be beneficial to gain some time and distract others. However, this only works for some time since what shocks Arab and Gulf more is evidence that’s based on policies and facts and not on mere statements. Dear people in Qatar, we respect you, therefore we will not underestimate your wit and lie to you or be double-faced while addressing you.
Let’s assume that recent statements attributed to the Qatari Emir were fabricated and that those who fabricated them will be punished. Let’s forget about these statements and put them aside. Let’s think about unifying our ranks and in being seriously harmonious, not to serve the interest of the GCC but to serve the interest of the beloved country of Qatar. The attack on Qatar has become international and not just limited to the Gulf. Qatar must comprehend international changes, mainly the changes in the American administration.
During a conference held last Wednesday and attended by the former secretary of defense and top officials, Ed Royce, the chairman of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, submitted a thorough proposal to impose sanctions on Qatar. Royce did not base this on the alleged Qatari statements but on evidence and data which American intelligence apparatuses have gathered.
Mounting possibilities of international sanctions
There are also European countries contemplating sanctions against Qatar, and these sanctions also have nothing to do with the Qatari statements but are due to Qatar’s policies and stances. When the Congress committees discuss these suggestions to boycott Qatar, those who submitted the proposals will certainly present their arguments and old affairs will thus be brought up. The Qatari statements were issued after that Wednesday conference was held in the US. The affair with Qatar is therefore no longer within the framework of the GCC. The parties which Qatar is dealing with are on international terrorism lists. The US may have overlooked Qatar’s relations with these groups in the past but there are changes in American policy now.
We’re saying this out of love for the Qataris - although Bahrain is one of the countries that was harmed by this Qatari policy. We have the ability to be selfless and to put the general interest of the GCC first. We can thus put what the Qataris did behind our backs and look forward to unifying the ranks and moving forward with you to serve our Gulf people. Help us help you.Sawsan Al Shaer
I hope that beloved Qatar understands this new international development. It’s not right to depend on the expectation that Trump may no longer be in power at some point or on the return of the former American policy. This is illogical and it bases a defense strategy on unlikely assumptions.
Double standards in terms of Qatar’s practices are no longer convincing. Even if Qatar convinces us of them, it will not be able to convince the international alliance, i.e. it will not be possible for Qatar to continue to be part of the military alliance against terrorism while maintaining relations with Iran and its terrorist wings like Hezbollah or al-Nusra Front. The international alliance will expand the scope of its war and Iran will be among its considerations. It’s not possible to continue to be part of the Arab and Islamic alliance to restore legitimacy in Yemen while dealing with Iran and viewing it as a friend when it funds Houthi militias. We, the ones who love Qatar, cannot accept or comprehend this contradiction. So how will Qatar explain these double standards to the world? Qatar is in dire need of its brothers; help us so we could help you.
Where are Qatar’s interests?
Qatar’s only fortification is the Gulf people. So what are the brothers in Qatar counting on if they deviate far from their strategic depth? Are singularity and independence a goal? Is it independence just for the sake of independence? Even lack of goals is sometimes a legitimate goal. The decision to be different from Gulf unity can be out of the desire to be more independent and free. Let this be Qatar’s aim, it’s okay. We will understand and accept this and the Qataris will still be our brothers. But why choose to ally with our enemies and the rivals of the international community? This is political suicide!
Where is Qatar’s interest in making this choice? During the peak of our war with Iran and as the latter attacks Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and as the world categorizes it as the spearhead of terrorism, Qatar opens its arms to it via security agreements! It published an article by the Iranian foreign minister in which he attacks the GCC and the Qatari foreign minister met with the criminal Qassem Soleimani! Forget the statement attributed to the Qatari Emir as it’s possible to deny it. Playing the victim could be helpful but it only acts as a sedative. What’s best is to prepare. These preparations must be realistic and they must begin with comprehending international changes and then building a defense plan that’s based on this understanding and not on unrealistic assumptions. The solution begins with resorting to the strategic depth and by realizing that continuing to adopt the former policy will have dangerous repercussions, not on the level of Gulf-Qatari relations, but on the level of international relations with Qatar.
Qatar knows that and it sensed this storm since Trump won the presidential elections. Then it saw this unfold at the American-Islamic Summit but it still postponed addressing the situation and resolving it. I hope Qatar immediately thinks of a radical solution and does not only pursue goals of gaining time through making a fuss.
We’re saying this out of love for the Qataris - although Bahrain is one of the countries that was harmed by this Qatari policy. We have the ability to be selfless and to put the general interest of the GCC first. We can thus put what the Qataris did behind our backs and look forward to unifying the ranks and moving forward with you to serve our Gulf people. Help us help you.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Sawsan Al Shaer is a Bahraini writer and journalist. She tweets under the handle @sawsanalshaer.