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A popular joke going around these days asks why Qatar did not vote for the agreed Arab candidate for the post of UN Secretary General?

The answer is because he was rumored to be a member of the Al Murrah tribe (A well known Qatari tribe that saw five thousand of its members loose their citizenship by royal decree, after a failed coup attempt).

Qatar “surprisingly” decided to vote for the South Korean candidate (despite its assurance to Arab states that it would support the Arab contender). However, was Qatar’s position really that surprising? A close look at the continuous chain of positions, which cannot be explained by traditional logic given by the Qatari foreign ministry, indicate that the matter has shifted from an odd position and has confused people incessantly because the slogans upon which Arab and Gulf action is based have become futile and redundant.

The Al Adeed base is more important than Baghdad, Iran is more important than the occupied Emirate islands and Lebanon, the Muslim Brotherhood is more important than moderation in Islam, ideological media is more important than the truth and balance and South Korea is more important than all the Arabs put together. These are the kinds of messages that Qatar seeks to convey to the world and more specifically to the Arab world. The Qatari play has already been seen by an Arab audience, the ending of which is the same despite a change in cast and some circumstances. The state and its leaders sought to be different and to “invent” a peculiar approach whether concerning compulsory unity, military occupation, or various “colorful” political philosophies and theories that they support, which are not even understood by the writers themselves. The outcome of all of this is the wasting of time, money and respect given by the region and its people who have had enough of empty words and fake slogans.

Political analysts in the Arab world and segments of society around the Arab world have sought to decipher Qatar’s foreign policy, as if trying to solve an ancient riddle. These attempts to understand have failed and in time, it has become clear that there is an independent Qatari danger that overlooks important issues and values of the Arab world.

The issue of voting for the Arab candidate for the post of UN Secretary General will not be the last episode of the Qatari saga, as it is likely that there will be more incidents like this one as long as foreign policy in that country is motivated by stubbornness and the “because I said so” attitude. However, the people are intelligent and alert and most importantly, they have a conscience.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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