A major part of the dispute between the four countries – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar – is based on accusations that the latter supports hostile organizations and individuals, including terrorist ones. The four countries issued a list of names of those accused and they include Qatari institutions and associations involved in terrorist operations. Qatari officials responded by denying these accusations.
They said: “Do not believe them because the list is politicized and reflects disagreements among us as countries.” However, Qatar’s problem is that most of those on the list are also on terror lists issued by official American institutions, including the Treasury. Therefore, declaring the lists is a dangerous development as Doha’s disagreements are not limited to disputes with its Arab rivals, whom it has gotten used to defy, but have now internationally expanded.
All those on the list are somehow linked to Qatar. What it should do is hand over the accused ones in Qatar to the four countries. Since there is a political dispute between it and the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain and says it does not trust them, then it should consider another which is the US, and it must involve it in the investigations. I think America’s participation is a solution that can ease the current conflict.
However, instead of discussing the names and details, Qatar harshly responded via an official source at the ministry of foreign affairs and said the list was defamation and an attempt to distort the country’s image. The source said: “The four countries have assigned themselves as an alternative to international legitimacy and set a field court to try Qatar.”
In order for the truth not to be lost amid the four countries’ claims and Qatar’s denial, the Qataris can just end the problem by involving the Americans considering they are Doha’s friends and have information about the lists.
The affair concerns the entire international community and it does not only concern the Saudis, Egyptians, Emiratis and Bahrainis. Therefore, it is an opportunity to cooperate and be transparent. All countries must lay out their cards on the table and accept cooperation instead of exchanging accusations.
And just like we’re asking Qatar to cooperate, we call on Saudi Arabia to accept this. All the countries involved in the dispute must accept this and accept an investigation and try those who are listed. The problem of Doha’s authorities is that those who are listed, including Saudi, Kuwaiti and other accused figures, are linked to it.
In order for the truth not to be lost amid the four countries’ claims and Qatar’s denial, the Qataris can just end the problem by involving the Americans considering they are Doha’s friends and have information about the listsAbdulrahman al-Rashed
There are Qataris listed on international and American lists and Qatar refuses to try them. This strengthens suspicions. What’s worse is that most of them are still active in Syria, Libya, Egypt, Iraq and other conflict zones where terrorist groups operate.
The same applies to institutions and associations which pretend to be charity organizations. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE have made these institutions’ names public. The Qatari source at the ministry of foreign affairs responded to these accusations by saying: “The list included the names of charity organizations that have a long history in humanitarian work. Some of them have a consultative status at the UN.”
So why doesn’t Qatar silence its rivals and allow the international investigation into these institutions or shut them down especially that some of them are listed by the US and accused of sponsoring terrorism? Our brothers in Qatar, it’s for your own sake and interest that we are advising you: End this as the game is over.
Qatar has been friendly to terrorist groups since the mid 1990s. At the beginning there were videos and propaganda of al-Qaeda organization in Afghanistan. Then Qatar’s activity expanded to areas where there are revolutions and it funded armed groups like al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham.
This is the end of the road. The war on terrorism is the world’s first cause today. The international community will pursue any country that provides any support to these groups. It will not be long before Doha finds itself between the claws of countries that are bigger than Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed.