Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Seals and Delusions | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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An aerial view of Doha’s diplomatic area. Fadi Al-Assaad/ Reuters

Rulers need someone to protect them from excessive dreaming that leads to falling into delusions. The need for that doubles if the ruler of a certain country is wealthy.

With the absence of institutions and guarantees, no minister or adviser dares to trouble the leader with a report about how hard things are or about the actual dangers. Usually, the commander would hear what makes him happy apart from facts and reality.

The truth is that unnatural roles coming out of illusions soon become a burden. The circumstances of the “Arab Spring” allowed Qatar to play a role founded on the expenses of others and sovereignty of other states.

This is a role that Qatar can’t maintain or even manage, especially that it increased the winds of instability in more than one place.

The only way out is to end this role play and abandon what led to it.

The leader has the right to dream and put his country’s capabilities to serve those dreams. But dreams should take into consideration the country’s map and its ability to withstand the adventures.

Who even said that a ruler can achieve his dreams on others’ lands, like deciding who rules them or what regime to govern them?

Take my country for example. Is it right for Lebanon to decide who rules Syria? If we assume it is just, does this mean that Syria can determine who leads Lebanon, too? We can not reject the second assumption without refusing the first.

In the same context, we ask ourselves if, taking advantage of its resources, can Qatar determine the fate of Egypt?

There is a huge difference for Qatar to have a saying in the current situation in Egypt and support groups that are trying to change the regime by force. If Doha assumes it has the right to intervene in Egypt, why shouldn’t Cairo treat it the same way?

By using its ability to attract people or factions in a dismantled country as Libya, can Qatar, for instance, decide who should be its president or minister of defense? Why should Doha deny others the same right it granted itself?

For example, is it acceptable for Doha to back groups infiltrating into countries they don’t belong to and kill and bomb there?

Countries have the right to dream and to be motivated by revolution. But it is not within its right to cross over from the land of dreams to fantasies.

Only natural roles last. If not compatible with international law and conventions, major roles implode in small states. Countries that are relatively small can’t digest grand roles gained through maneuvers and under-the-table plots. Roles yanked in a haste and against nature, can’t survive long at the expense of natural roles.

States, like individuals, are tempted by roles of announced and secret mediation or direct or proxy interventions. The situation becomes dangerous that the person is so convinced he can re-form powers in conflict zones and is capable of shifting historical balances.

Middle East’s arenas are tempting for intervention. Countries always find an excuse to cross over borders and settle the scores. But these arenas are risky and it is hard for a new leader without any basis to rule it for a long time.

The only way out of the current crisis is through returning from the times of delusions. Qatar, like any other country, has the right to have a saying in what’s going on in the region and the world. But, it doesn’t have the right to devote its different capabilities in an agenda to create chaos in the region.

This chaos only serves non-Arab powers in the region.

Despite differences of countries, sizes, and eras, lessons should be learned.

Hasn’t Kuwait invasion been the fruit of holder of seals in Iraq changing from dreams to delusions? Didn’t Saddam believe he was capable of changing things and that the region will bow down to what he has done and the world would have to deal with it?

The results don’t need further explanations or comments.

Also, Muammar Gadhafi crossed over from the land of dreams to trap of illusions. He secretly sent money to armed groups in more than one continent. He wasn’t hesitant to use the embassies of his country to send bombs and mess with nearby and far away states.

Gadhafi received British Prime Minister Toni Blair and sat pointing the sole of his shoes at him. Where is Gadhafi now? Where is Blair? What about Libya and UK?

During his ruling, Gadhafi rejoiced that Silvio Berlusconi kissed him on the hand. But what happened to Gadhafi and Berlusconi?

A leader should be careful of excessive praise. It is pure poison. It leads to a trap of delusions and that is where the disaster begins.

It is so hard when delusions take over the ruler.​ ​