Qatar did well by putting the record straight and calling things by their names. It officially announced, through its ambassador to Moscow, its true position towards the Iranian occupation of Syria, by considering that Iran has “legitimate” interests in Syria and supporting Tehran’s quest to maintain those interests; and that the “Syrian regime, which oppressed its opponents, is responsible for allowing for international and regional foreign intervention, which should not be blamed on others.”
This is only part of a new chapter of the Qatari contradictions that the region and the world have witnessed for more than two decades. On one hand, Doha supports extremist groups fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime and its Iranian ally on Syrian territory, and on the other hand, it stands with Iran in its occupation of Syrian territory and legitimizes its presence; hence supporting two conflicting parties at the same time.
This is the climax of the political tragedy in which Qatar excels, in search of a role that it believes will give it a diplomatic advantage in the region, no matter whether the result is feeding conflicts and prolonging wars... and regardless of whether it was the worst thing a regime in the world can do.
The Qatari position obviously did not explain the “legitimate interests” of Iran in Syria, nor did it clarify the potential interests of a foreign country on the territory of another stateSalman al-Dosary
What is important is that Qatar continues its destructive practices and behavior, with which no one is competing. The Qatari position obviously did not explain the “legitimate interests” of Iran in Syria, nor did it clarify the potential interests of a foreign country on the territory of another state.
This strange definition of sovereignty may be understood only in one case; when we reflect on the size of the “legitimate interests” of Turkey over Qatar’s land, with the recent disclosure of the full details of the secret military agreement between Doha and Ankara on the Turkish military bases, which were mysteriously set up on the territory of Qatar, and which will enable “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to use the Qatari airspace, land and maritime blocks in the promotion of his ideology and ideas in the Gulf region, in addition to achieving his interests and personal goals.”
Notion of sovereignty
Qatar’s notion of sovereignty is radically different from international concepts. Iran has the right to settle in Syria, contribute to the killing of 700,000 Syrian citizens, and release its militias.
At the same time, according to that concept, the Turkish army has the right to remain on Qatari land for as long as it wants and to increase the number of its soldiers without even requesting the approval of the Qatari regime.
At a time when the international community, as well as the Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia, are seeking to bring Syria back to the Arab circle, in an effort to end the civil war and the Iranian occupation of its territory, even with their radical disagreement with the regime’s practices, hoping to strengthen the Arab role and activate it in order to preserve Syria’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, Doha stands in sharp contrast in an attempt to nurture the conflict to the fullest extent and keep the Syrian regime a hostage of Iran.
Thus, Qatar maintains its destabilizing behavior in the region, prolonging chaos after it was a sponsor to its ignition. The Qatari regime proves once again that it lives out of chaos and crises, surviving only in a jungle of instability.
Salman al-Dosary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. He tweets @SalmanAldosary.