The Arab world is being “reconfigured” and today it is destined to be located between two main axes: the axis of stability and the desired centrality and the axis of extremism and sedition, which supports fundamentalist groups at the expense of state entities.
This is perhaps the simplest explanation and the interpretation of what is happening between Qatar on one hand and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on the other. The division between the two groups is a reflection of the policies of the two axes.
Qatar has chosen to support extremist groups, moving away from the track. Qatar also chose the same “Iranian route” to support the extremist groups and did not choose the “national” option that unites and does not differentiate.
Qatar has the will to govern by proxy and wants to be the maker of kings and presidents, a state that believes that its soft power, as well as money and information broadcasting can “change” the reality on the ground under the slogans of “revolution” and “religion.”
It focused its attention on revolution, the Arab Spring and the religion of “revolutionary.” It even augmented the issue of the mosque renovation project of Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahab and named the largest mosque after his name. Qatar desired to claim one of the most important tribes of the Arabian Peninsula in order to disturb Saudi Arabia (an old complexity) and produced documentaries, making a big drama out of it to strengthen its claim.
Let us understand that Qatar is a suspicious state. It mixes politics with religion and the economy and all its actions are politicized to serve its agenda, which came into existence after the coupHussein Shobokshi
A few years ago, when I attended a conference in Doha, a Qatari researcher was explaining to me the methods of Qatar’s use of soft power and its expected impact in the Arab world. The man said that Qatar has its vision since the day of the coup from the son against his father which affected not only Qatar but also the Gulf region as well.
Qatar wants to influence “every house” and has therefore expanded its largest television station Al Jazeera into a network with several outlets, including BeIn that is involved in broadcasting all types of sports. Soon it plans to enter into the movies and drama segment. It believes in the ability of the media to influence and thus change the formation of collective opinion, thus able to influence them easily.
Qatar’s another great ambition is to have one of the largest and most influential banks in the Arab world. Their National Bank of Qatar is in expansion mode with capital infusion and acquisitions.
In addition, it is also determined in the growth of its national airline Qatar Airways aiming to be the top airline in the region. Saudi Arabia gave it the license to operate in the Saudi domestic market but it soon realized the risk and did not encourage Qatar Airways to operate in the domestic market.
It has tried to be the region’s most accessible education hub in the region, opening to a group of international universities and thus serving as an influential platform for young people and nurturing ideas for controversial decision-making centers in Doha such as Rand, Brookings, Saban Center for Middle East Policy and other institutions.
Let us understand that Qatar is a suspicious state. It mixes politics with religion and the economy and all its actions are politicized to serve its agenda, which came into existence after the coup.
In the past there was warning to Qatar from the former UAE ruler, Sheikh Zayed, for its actions and it also invited the wrath from former King Abdullah. The same anger is expressed by King Salman at Qatar today and the same message is conveyed by Jordan, Bahrain, Morocco and Libya for various reasons.
Qatar has always been an offender, let us not forget it!
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on June 12, 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.
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