Qatar and gambling on the impossible

Mohammed Al Shaikh

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It seems the isolation and marginalization which Qatar is living through is going to prolong and may cost the Qataris more than what they expected at the beginning of the boycott.

In order to withstand the boycott and the marginalization and their political and economic consequences, Qatar took many hasty decisions that cost it a lot without it achieving the desired results.

This statelet which was prestigious during the term of former US President Obama is not the same in the times of US President Donald Trump.

Instead of rationally dealing with its new situation and realizing that the tasks assigned to it by the former US president sprung from emergencies and not were not based on strategic reasoning and that the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ and the ‘creative chaos’ had failed miserably, Doha continues to be arrogant and insists on restoring its role.

Qatar must return to what it was before the onset of the ‘Arab Spring’. It seems that Hamad bin Khalifa, who actually controls power in Qatar, had thought that he could revive the same revolts again with his money and regain influence in the region; as was the mission assigned to him by Obama. However, this is almost impossible even if the Democrats regain power again as it’s anticipated and hoped for.

The rules of the game changed completely. The Muslim Brotherhood, which had employed its cadres to execute the conspiracies of what they called “creative chaos” for US’s benefit, is now facing an existential threat in every sense of the word.

It is no longer secret to many who used to support and bet on the Muslim Brotherhood that it is losing its popularity and its influence is diminishing in Arab countries. Even many of those who belong to the Brotherhood have now started disowning it, and many have begun to criticize it publicly and even defame it.

However, Hamad bin Khalifa still insists on supporting its cadres and spending on them generously wherever they are. This was considered by many of the rational Qataris as foolishness and unjustified stubbornness.

Politics is always based on what is possible, not on what is supposed to be. Many of those I met from Qatar admit this. I even have information that suggests that Emir Tamim (the supposed Emir of Qatar) is convinced of this as well since present and future indicators do not suggest that Islamists are still the same; therefore, insisting to bet on them and defying those who oppose them, like his father is doing, is a huge waste of time, effort and money.

Iran which ignited the spark of political Islamization and which embraces and finances many of the Islamists’ operations, in spite of their sectarian differences, is now facing tough conditions, both internally and externally. It is on the verge of falling due to the economic sanctions imposed on it by the US. If Iran collapses or at least changes some of its behavior or retreats to reform its internal situation, Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood will be like a small ship which the ocean waves pummel and which will eventually swallow it.

The Qatari people and most probably their Emir, Tamim, have begun to feel that Hamad’s bets, or let us say the two Hamads’ (Hamad bin Khalifa and Hamad bin Jassim) bets, have proven to be a failure. So will they act before drowning?

This article is also available in Arabic.


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

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