Countries are no strangers to political rows that happen every now and then. But in Qatar’s case, disputes proved enduring, harmful and inexcusable.
For some time, disagreements were seen as fleeting and as short-lived inconveniences—but with over 20 years of not seeing eye to eye, the destructive policies grew inescapably consistent.
Going back in time, the first tangible difference took place in 1990—the year in which Kuwait was invaded, uprooting at least a million Kuwaiti citizens and residents and sending its government to exile.
Given that Kuwait is a key Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member, six Gulf leaders convened in the Qatari capital, Doha, for a summit devoted to free the GCC state from Iraqi aggression.
The then heir to Qatar monarchy, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, shocked Gulf leaders by leading discussions away from freeing Kuwait, and giving priority to the Doha-Bahrain quarrel over ownership of the Hawar Islands—which pales in comparison to Kuwait’s predicament at the time.
Gulf leaders, particularly the late Saudi King Fahd bin Abdulaziz (may his soul rest in peace), were short to infuriated by the apparent conceit shown by the Qatari party to advance personal agendas at such critical times.
King Fahd threatened Sheikh Hamad with withdrawing from the summit, so did the rest of GCC leaders.
From that day onwards, Qatar’s rifts with everyone never ended.
They only worsened as Sheikh Hamad overthrew his father in bloodless palace coup d’état in 1995 and later appointed his son Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani Emir of Qatar— two-decade worth of Sheikh Hamad policies fed into disagreement and undermining Gulf unity.
Increasingly, Doha began to play the backdoor part and host Saudi Arabia’s enemies. It took in protesters who wanted coercive regime change, and sponsored the alliance between Iran, the Lebanon-based Hezbollah and Syria’s regime head Bashar al Assad for a whole 10 years.
Qatar’s provocations left it at odds with most of the region’s states.
In response to its exceedingly dangerous behavior, four major Arab countries have finally decided to sever the ties with Qatar.
The decision was not based on a long record of dispute, but in the conviction of no hope in reforming the irreversible track Doha authorities have set course on.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain have announced on Monday cutting all land, maritime and transport ties with Qatar.
The fights Qatar is picking are juvenile, but also very risky.
Doha’s continued funding of organizations, individuals, media channels and social media networks that are blatantly campaigning for violent anti-government movements has only destabilized the region.
It has presented itself as an ally to groups like the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which are evermore in quest for establishing self-styled religious ruling systems, resembling Iran’s theocracy. Despite the MB’s failures in Palestine, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, they did not second guess resuming their agenda on spreading chaos across the region.
The final nail in the coffin of Gulf-Qatar friendship was struck last week, when the Doha state-owned media outlet called for anarchy in Saudi Arabia.
Among Qatar’s most dangerous ploys is that which is being played out in Bahrain, where it has not stopped funding both armed and peaceful oppositions—but its pitch to overthrow Bahrain’s government remains a failure.
On the other hand, Doha’s investment in disrupting Lebanon received better results, where it frankly supported the Assad regime and Iran proxy Hezbollah during their assassination campaign against Lebanese leaders and occupation of West Beirut. Until this very day, Hezbollah and its allies maintain an upper-hand in Lebanon.
Taking things a step further, Doha recently embarked on reviving communications with Iran, an arch foe to Gulf countries.
As for its end game in Bahrain, Qatar might be deluded into believing that toppling the regime would play out positively for its expansionist ambitions. The same analogy is evident with its attempt to spur chaos in Saudi Arabia, another neighboring state.
Apparently, Qatar is willing to go to extremes in doing everything and supporting everyone without distinction.
It backs religiously extremist groups, Salafists and Brotherhood groups, Arab fascists and nationalist parties and leftist groups.
Paradoxically, while it hosts one of the largest US military bases in the region, Qatar did not hesitate when broadcasting video tapes in which al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden’s and Ayman al-Zawahiri openly called for American bloodshed.
It is worth noting that US operations against Afghanistan and Iraq are launched from the abovementioned base.
Qatar also funds paramilitary militias that attack American troops in Iraq.
Taking into consideration Qatar’s irrational policies, it is made clear that the logic behind the decision-making is impossible to grasp, let alone arriving to a truce with its government.
During what is perceived as critical times, the Doha approach threatens to dismantle the last of whatever stability the Middle East has known since World War II.
The method adopted by Qatari authorities is short to delirious—or what could be loosely put as a “nut job.”