Inviting affection, the Qatari way

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Published: Updated:

We no longer hear much about the dispute with Qatar except from Qatar’s side. Doha’s rivals are now paying attention to other issues like Iran, Yemen and their international and regional relations.

This has angered Qatar which wants its dispute with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt to be an affair that occupies the international public opinion.

Sovereign rights allow each country to be free when choosing friends and whom it wants to open its markets to. Preventing the Saudi Almarai Company from selling its products in Doha, suspending Qatar’s shares trading in the Emirati stock market and preventing Qatar’s airplanes from flying through Bahraini airspace are matters which concern these countries.

The US boycotted Cuba, which is a stone’s throw away from Florida (less than 100 miles) for more than 50 years. So what’s the problem if the anti-terror quartet treats Qatar like America treated Cuba, knowing that unlike the latter, Qatar has a massive income that’s more than enough to feed the entire population of India?

There were no attempts to invade Qatar and there are no intentions to do so, not out of respect to Doha’s leadership but because the quartet knows the consequences of invasion and changing regimes by force

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Media attention

In order to attract the media’s attention, Qatar has repeated the narrative that there was an intention to invade it and replace its Emir. The Qataris made these accusations in all countries they visited and thanked them for their support.

Iranian officials thus said in an official statement that Tehran prevented an imminent invasion of Qatar. The Qataris then went to Turkey and made the same accusations.

The Turks hence announced that they were the ones who prevented the invasion of Doha. In Washington, the Qatari defense minister said if it hadn’t been for the US, Saudi and Emirati forces would have invaded Qatar. Some American officials hence said that they heard there were military preparations against Qatar.

The first statement on the matter was made by Qatar’s Emir who at the beginning of September last year said: “We succeeded in stopping military intervention.”

The same story

It’s clear that the Qataris have been narrating the same story. They simply amend it to suit the country they visit in order to involve it in the crisis and grant it the alleged role of heroism.

There were no attempts to invade Qatar and there are no intentions to do so, not out of respect to Doha’s leadership but because the quartet simply knows the consequences of invasion and changing regimes by force.

Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait is one example. The largest American base in the region is in Qatar so will who go as far as considering venturing and making risks? It’s Qatar’s habit to exaggerate every matter.

Qatar’s policies have been hostile as they supported foreign and internal threats against the anti-terror quartet. This does not make Saudi Arabia and the UAE think of invading Doha to discipline it.

It’s enough to boycott it and to turn their back to it and live without it. Just like attention-seeking children, Qatari officials cannot tolerate being ignored. However, they must get used to that.

Finally, we tell Qatar’s leadership, which is squandering its money and trying to convince superpowers to intervene and reach a reconciliation, that there is no compulsion in love.

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.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.