Iraqis from various provinces have taken to the streets to protest the bad condition of public services and the government’s complete neglect of development in different governorates. People are demanding clean water and electricity services after Iran cut both off. Meanwhile, the Iraqi prime minister is looking for alternative solutions in neighboring Saudi Arabia.
There is no secrecy about these facts as they are all in the open. The protestors have made just and urgent demands, including having electricity to operate air conditioning and having drinking water, especially during a very hot summer. Iran has provoked the Iraqis by putting pressure on them in these months so that it can escape forward in its current and expected crisis with the US.
Even if Iranian agents or ISIS members infiltrate these protests, it does not mean that demonstrators do not have legitimate demands. The government is still the responsible party for securing the protests and meeting the protestors’ demands.
It is ridiculous that Qatar is offering advice to people protesting water and electricity shortages since Qatar is a state that sponsors terrorism and armed groups that have caused the destruction of many countriesAmal Abdulaziz Al-Hazani
The irony is that officials in Doha have expressed their concern for the Iraqis. They are sending out messages to protesters in southern and central Iraq, advising them not to be provoked or swayed by instigators and people with political agendas! They have reiterated that the wave of protests in Iraq is due to the intervention of Gulf states that do not wish stability for Iraq. Of course, they are not referring to Oman or Kuwait, but are directly pointing the accusatory finger at Saudi Arabia.
Let us not forget that Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Qatari regime’s mufti, boldly issued a statement a year ago saying that Qatar supported revolutions in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen and Syria, and that it was thanks to Qatar that people protested and toppled the regimes since it provided continuous financial and political support. Perhaps, Qaradawi’s bragging was the truest thing he had ever said.
Doha’s terror funding
Qatar was that ATM which funded all the chaos that has spread in the region since 2011 and has promoted these revolutions in the media and made allegations against their opponents. It thus seems weird that Qatar, which has financed and fomented these uprisings, is wearing a mask of innocence now and urging protesters in Basra, Karbala and Najaf to maintain peace and to return to their homes.
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Qatar’s seemingly negative stance on the Iraqi protests doesn’t change a thing, but it is a stance aimed at gaining Tehran’s amiability and at covering up the unprecedented historical scandal reported by more than one western media source. This scandal was about its billion dollar deal with factions of Hezbollah in Iraq and Lebanon, with the Tahrir Al-Sham front (formerly known as Al-Nusra) and with Qassem Soleimani, in exchange for the release of Qatari hostages who were kidnapped while on a hunting expedition in south of Iraq two years ago.
The deal did not just include money, but it also covered gifts such as apartments in Beirut and even Rolex watches for mediators and mercenaries who grabbed the opportunity to milk profits. The budget of Hezbollah, the largest Iranian militia in the region, was one billion US dollars in two years. Within days, Shiite and Sunni terrorist militias divided this amount among themselves.
The deal also included reaching certain settlements that have harmed the inhabitants of Syrian villages who were coercively displaced to change Syria’s demographics. The deal also brokered an exchange of prisoners between Tahrir al-Sham and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and this was supervised by Qatar’s ambassador in Baghdad, Zayed al-Khayareen.
This was direct support for terrorists, through a plane carrying over one billion US dollars in cash that was divided among the militias that committed crimes against the Iraqi, Syrian and Lebanese people and caused the slaughter and forced displacement of innocent people in Arab countries.
It is ridiculous that Qatar is offering advice to people protesting water and electricity shortages since Qatar is a state that sponsors terrorism and armed groups that have caused the destruction of many countries. Today, Qatar is accused of the worst crimes in contemporary history, terrorism.
Qatar’s ruling regime has projected a bad image for the country worldwide to the extent that some of its diplomats are banned from entering certain countries for fear of terrorism related activities. In fact, Azerbaijan has refused the appointment of Zayed al-Khayareen as Doha’s envoy.
The state that has set the region aflame with the help of its media and that has supported coups and fighting in Arab countries financially and politically is now worried about public anger. Imported foreign soldiers from other countries protect its streets from protestors and angry crowds.
Qatar’s ruler has been travelling to Western countries to boost his image through arms deals, but he is received with slogans and posters that remind him of the billion dollar deal; the shameful deal. Qatar has given itself the right to advise others and lecture about loyalty to one’s country when it has legalized treason and legitimized extremist discourse.
Qatar has been an agent of regression, fear and cautious anticipation of the future, and now it is its turn to taste its own medicine because it cannot afford to throw it up.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Amal Abdulaziz Al–Hazani is a professor at King Saudi University and a writer for al-Sharq al-Awsat. She tweets @Alhazzani_Amal.