I was not surprised at the controversial statements made by Emir of Qatar Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani against Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain and his support for Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Ever since the Emir’s coup against his father and taking over the power, Qatar has pursued hostile policies, specifically to target countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan and Morocco.
Qatar launched its hostile political stance through its dubious media platform Al-Jazeera, from where it broadcasts the elements of hostility and extremism. It also aired views of leaders from terrorist organizations and their terrorist operations in the neighboring countries of Qatar.
Through its media platform, it promoted dangerous views on the suicide bombing, the price of which is being paid by the whole world today and that has killed thousands of innocent people. It also divided the ranks of Palestinians by throwing its weight behind the extremist policies and directions.
Qatar created differences on “border” issues between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, which resulted in heavy casualties and it did not do it secretly. It publicly supported the “opponents” of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and did the same with Morocco, Jordan and the UAE. In addition, it encouraged the Houthis to strengthen their ties with Iran and still continues to do so. It also opened the Qatari market for Iranian investments.
Qatar created differences on “border” issues between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, which resulted in heavy casualties and it did not do it secretly. It publicly supported the “opponents” of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and did the same with Morocco, Jordan and the UAEHussein Shobokshi
After investigation by the Saudi security agencies, it was revealed that Qatar was involved in the distribution of maps to the Yemeni tribes showing new borders of Yemen, which “includes” Asir and Taif.
Qatar continued with its hostile policies against Saudi Arabia until the events in Egypt where people’s power rejected the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was, again, supported by Qatar.
After the Brotherhood government was dislodged, Qatar hardened its position against Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE and accused Saudi Arabia of supporting a coup, which sounds funny, as the Qatari regime itself came to power with a coup! When questioned why Qatar adopts an anti-Egyptian policy, its reply is that it favors democracy. Well, this logic could be acceptable if it came from the British Labour Party or from a Swedish party, but not from Qatar!
I can recall my first meeting with the former Foreign Minister Hamad Bin Jassim when I met him at a roundtable at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. We were together with the head of the Polish Central Bank and a member of the Russian Communist Party. I asked him why Qatar is pursuing its controversial policies and reversing the path.
He said, “I personally admire French politics. It is a part of Western politics, but it is also pushing it to new areas of total disobedience.” He continued, “We are not the size of Saudi Arabia or Egypt. We want to be different and we have our own personality. Therefore, we are open to Israel, Iran, America and the Muslim Brotherhood and are open to all the free voices of the world.”
Larger than the size
I was not convinced by his words. I remembered history is a school where we learn from entities that are drawn to play roles that are larger than their size.
Lebanon in the seventies supported all opposition voices for reforms in the Arab world until it plunged into a civil war and it is paying for it until today. Kuwait fell victim to the votes of the leftists as it tried to play a bigger role in the region. Saddam Hussein paid for his own treachery. Very soon Qatar will be the next victim, if it doesn’t learn from history’s tough lessons.
The issue of Qatar’s policy must be seen with logic and reason as former emir’s coup against his father was based on treason and not on consensus which has created an unrest in the Arab world. Qataris themselves are ashamed of their country’s positions.
I remember at a dinner interview in Jeddah that was attended by one of the current Qatari banks’ head who presided over during the reign of the former Emir. He said, “We believe that Egypt and other countries in the region deserve better governance.” Hello, who are you?”
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on June 5, 2017.
(Hussein Shobokshi is a Businessman and prominent columnist. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al Takreer on Al Arabiya, and in 1995, he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his B.A. in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa. His twitter handle is @husseinshoboksh.