Not much was expected from the Gulf summit in Kuwait. For the Kuwaiti mediator, the meeting alone was an accomplishment regardless of the size of representation. The crisis with Qatar is escalating due to stubbornness and intransigence. What Qatar did during the past five days did not reflect any serious efforts to reach a decisive solution. Qatari platforms are all working against the coalition to restore legitimacy in Yemen, and there’s fuss regarding its role in assassinating former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, which reminds of the same scenario of Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi as they were all killed when they gave up on this statelet.
Saleh has talked about the details of his ties with the Qataris and their coup on him through supporting terrorist and radical factions in Yemen, all in the name of the “revolution” after 2011. UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash revealed how Qatar proposed mediation between Saleh and the Houthis when the late leader said he stands with Gulf countries and defies Iran’s proxies while pledging to keep Yemen within the Gulf bosom.
Before the summit, Qatar exceeded all boundaries by escalating the situation via its media outlets, causing tensions on the ground in Yemen and supporting Iran’s movements in Lebanon. There was information that Qatari delegates visited Beirut’s southern suburb to meet with Hezbollah political and security officials. This atmosphere made the summit be much less than what Kuwaiti politicians thought it would be. It was a routine summit. The aim of it was to maintain the structure of the Gulf Cooperation Council and revive it as much as possible, and that is according to the classic vision which views the council as one of the constant pillars that cannot be touched or amended or diversified in terms of its formula.
The GCC was established within certain historical circumstances when the dust of the Khomeini revolution was a bad omen. Leaders back then feared for their countries from these revolutionary toxins and the GCC helped maintain the deep concept of the state and its entity. However, when a country inside the GCC turns into an entity in support of radical groups and becomes close to the Khomeini revolution, Hezbollah and the Houthis, coordination among the council members will not be flexible as one cannot work with a regime that has two heads, two leaderships and two projects.
The recent quick events put the context of the state at stake as the revolutionary invasion and militant culture are steadily expanding. What’s really dangerous is the fact that Qatar is among those supporting this expansion. Therefore, maintaining countries’ entities will only succeed via organized work led by a moderate axis that highly coordinates efforts, like the case is with the moderate axis combating terrorism and which is represented by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. This axis is more reliable for the war on terrorism than the Gulf Cooperation Council which requires reform and needs to be filtrated of impurities.
What the GCC currently lacks is actually what it needs most: trust. Qatar’s participation in the coalition supporting legitimacy and its secret cooperation with the Houthis, as narrated by Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmad, had negative catastrophic repercussions. How can the GCC restore its trust in that state? How can Qatar which supports radical projects be part of a project that aims to maintain the state’s entity in the Gulf?Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran
This is why Tuesday’s decision by UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed to form a joint cooperation committee between Saudi Arabia and the UAE is significant as it is a live model for modern cooperation.
According to the decision, the committee will be headed by Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The decision’s second article stipulates that the committee’s chief “will assign the members who will represent the federal and local governmental sectors.”
The committee “will cooperate and coordinate between the UAE and Saudi Arabia in the military, political, economic, commercial and cultural fields, as well as other fields as required by the two countries’ interests.”
We live among failed countries which have collapsed on their people’s heads as they have been suffering from bloodshed and destruction for seven years now – countries that produced terrorist organizations, like Syria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia. This is in addition to partial disintegration of other countries’ structures.
Without a model for a new bloc that establishes trust among countries and enhances cooperation on the ground, we will not completely be safe from the winds of revolutionary madness.
What the GCC currently lacks is actually what it needs most: trust. Qatar’s participation in the coalition supporting legitimacy and its secret cooperation with the Houthis, as narrated by Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmad, had negative catastrophic repercussions. How can the GCC restore its trust in that state? How can Qatar which supports radical projects be part of a project that aims to maintain the state’s entity in the Gulf?
It’s much more than what social media romantics echo about a solution being simple and near. There are deep-rooted disputes. It’s a conflict over two different approaches and projects, between a movement that calls for development and combating terrorism and a project that supports terror groups, including al-Qaeda organization (as narrated by Ali Abdullah Saleh in a televised interview when Qatar proposed a mediation between him and al-Qaeda via Seif al-Islam al-Qaddafi).
It’s a difficult and historical phase. Cooperation to overcome this must thus be within the framework of renewable entities that go beyond old routine work.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Fahad Shoqiran is a Saudi writer and researcher who also founded the Riyadh philosophers group. His writings have appeared in pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Alarabiya.net, among others. He also blogs on philosophies, cultures and arts. He tweets @shoqiran.