The future of Qatar after Hamad bin Khalifa

Mohammed Al Shaikh

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It is a generally acknowledged fact that Qatar does not have any strength or resilience factors that are worth mentioning. It’s a small state on the banks of the Gulf and it lacks the key elements of a state. It has virtually no history, a very small indigenous population and all of its culture and elements of life are derived from the fact that it shares a border with the eastern region of Saudi Arabia.

A flawed outlook

Today, Qatar is ruled by Hamad bin Khalifa, whom they call “the father Emir”. Hamad bin Khalifa, who is the father of the current Emir, controls decision-making in Qatar on both domestic and international issues. The current Emir is thus only formally in charge. Hamad bin Khalifa believes that by having a huge fortune, he can be a strong leader who makes history and who can achieve what his predecessors could not. However, Arab opportunists surrounding began to flatter and praise him in order to line up their pockets.

The people of Qatar are well aware that Hamad’s actions are imprudent and unjustified. He cannot keep walking on the path of defiance that he has put himself and his people on because Saudi Arabia and the other boycotting countries are not losing anything due to the boycott while Qatar is paying a high price as a consequence of these measures, especially that its provocative remarks made by its media against the kingdom and the boycotting countries only make matters worse and overcomplicate the issue. It’s rationally and objectively impossible for Qatar to pursue its path of stubbornness, arrogance and escalation forever. Its current position resembles that of Arab Sa'alik who rebelled against the customs of their tribes, until their tribes expelled them and disowned them so they wandered around in a desperate miserable attempt to find someone who could adopt them and support them against their tribes.

Challenge for Tamim bin Hamad

I have no doubt that Emir Tamim bin Hamad is fully aware of this truth and knows that his father is fighting a lost battle and that Qatar with its very limited geopolitical capabilities cannot alter its reality, no matter how much wealth it possesses as it’s not enough to secure victory when all you have is money. It is my belief that the current Emir is eagerly awaiting his day to be the sole ruler so that he can take control of all the authority in his hands, change the course in the right direction and fix everything that his father has destroyed. All the news emanating from Qatar, which the Qataris discuss in their private gatherings, holds Hamad bin Jassim greatly responsible for their current deplorable situation. As such, they say, the first decision to be taken by Tamim then, would be to arrest Hamad bin Jassim and try him. I have no doubt that such a courageous move will be hailed and supported by the Qataris, especially since Hamad bin Jassim is deeply despised in Qatari circles.

The menace of Muslim Brotherhood

Nevertheless, the most difficult and dangerous decision that Tamim will confront if he dominates power pertains to getting rid of the widespread Muslim Brotherhood legacy in Qatar and confronting the group’s influence and control of Qatari institutions? Over the past few decades, the Muslim Brotherhood has succeeded in infiltrating several strata of Qatari society and gained many followers and supporters. Getting rid of them and recovering the Qatari decision will confront some real difficulties that may only be settled by bloodshed.

All I want to say here is that even any genuine disappearance of the father Emir from the political field , sooner or later, will not be the end of Qatar’s dilemma, as new conflicts will erupt. It is said that the Muslim Brotherhood cadres in Qatar have already started preparing in this regard.

Mohammed Al Shaikh is a Saudi writer with al-Jazirah newspaper. He tweets @alshaikhmhmd

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