Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

‘Starving The Beast’ Starts in Qatar | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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US President Donald Trump delivers a speech during Arab-Islamic-American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 21, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

In the recent row rocking the Middle East, Qatar’s counter approach is far from impulsive or mimicking that of shock. Facing a boycott led by a bloc of three key GCC countries, joined by Egypt and others, Doha opted for escalation rather than allowing for reason to prevail.

This is not new to Qatar’s regime which resembles leftist and revolutionary systems in their stubbornness and intransigence— the peninsula nonstop exploited Gulf wisdom leaving it overworked.

Astonishingly, Doha’s indifference continues towards crackdown measures heading its way as the United States plans on imposing stringent sanctions in an effort to halt the funding of terrorism.

US President Donald Trump clearly gave priority to blocking terror funding in the new administration’s foreign policy agenda.

Consequentially, Trump understands that the way Qatar is tackled will paint for an enduring strategy that could be carried across the world.

Vowing to take the fight against terrorism to the very end, Trump said “we are going to starve the beast,” in reference to turning off the tap on funding. In that lies the hope of Qatar reading well and wise into these signs and reshaping its harmful policy.

All decisive measures being adopted by Washington are the first steps in a long list of upcoming procedures in the Trump way of “starving the beast.”

Defunding terrorism is conditioned by drying up all its sources, with Doha being one of them. However, Qatar’s reaction to the issue at hand remains indifferent, downsizing the crisis and branding it as another fleeting tiff.

Paradoxically, as Qatar reassures its people that they are well-protected by a strong contingency plan, it pushes forward with its standoff with the international community—Doha also has not been modest in its effort to advertise the current situation as a ‘Gaza-like’ blockade.

It does not seem like Qatar’s decision-makers follow that the new Trump administration strategy holds fallout of catastrophic measures to its people.

Clearly, Qatar is not serious about working on a solution that could end the boycott and mitigate its costs. Instead, the gas-rich country is bent on buying time as a tactic.

But reality dictates that Qatar will need to address the situation at hand and suture the wound before it worsens. If left unattended, the situation will have a massive domino effect that eventually would weaken Qatar’s position.
Options laid out on the table today might not be here tomorrow.

Washington will continue to weigh in so long that Doha has little to show on good intentions for true change.

Living in denial has followed the initial response stage, anger, but it will not be long before the march against funding extremism grows with larger crowds joining the parade.

With the US holding the banner, more countries are likely to join, with the biggest loser left in sight being Doha. It is simply a matter of time.

As to when Qatar would accept the new status quo, it does not seem soon– by the time it can potentially realize that, the train would have long left the station.

Rallying low key support from unknown NGOs and African political parties, and buying time through investing in Tehran, Ankara, Moscow, and Berlin only prolong the inevitable.

Having already lost a lot, Qatar understands well that the only way to settling the diplomatic crisis is to reconcile with Riyadh—any other approach would be short to a fool’s errand that reckless shot in the dark against the stability of its own people.