At a time when outstanding regional issues are inching towards resolution, Qatar is once again back to searching for a role; however, this time around the crisis is greater and all the major players have started maneuvering, leaving Doha with nothing but explicit slander left to resort to, a throw back to the worst forms of insults and condemnations during the 1960s in the Middle East.
The maneuvering done by the Major Player— and in this case I mean Saudi Arabia— has led the Qataris to losing their reason and hence we see and hear their blatant attack on Riyadh and against all those seeking to stabilize the region.
The problem with the Qatari leadership is that it lacks credibility and political muscle, and the first to attest to this are the parties honeymooning with Doha.
Qatar talks about Arabism, liberation and struggle while their soil is home to the largest US military base. They talk about religious tolerance while Doha has become a media platform utilized by al Qaeda to air its poisonous ideology. Even one of its media figures is currently in custody for collaborating with “al Qaeda.”
They talk about the Palestinian cause, yet they are the first to flock towards Israel. When Israel wanted to discuss King Abdullah’s peace initiative, Qatar were the first to be ignored.
While Doha showed concern for Lebanon, smart bombs were being airlifted from its soil to Israel during the 33-day war. While the Qatari Emir talked about the “long-awaited victory” in Lebanon, his Foreign Minister, while onboard his plane, updated the Israelis on the tiniest details following the conference in Beirut, which he attended on route from Israel.
When Qatar talked about its concern for the future of Lebanon, their policy in Beirut did not differ from that of the “Abu Ads” television station—one of deception and agitation. Everybody saw Qatar’s absence from the Paris III conference.
The same applies to Baghdad; they are the source of dissension in all that relates to Iraq from the start of the war to the ousting of Saddam from its soil.
Here is Qatar, searching for a role that outweighs its political size and importance. Today the Palestinians are better off after the Mecca agreement, and the Iraqis are discussing national reconciliation with their delegation arriving in succession in Riyadh. The Iranians have moved aside the Syrian and other mediators and have come to the table vis-à-vis the Saudis. Big issues need qualified politicians rather than crisis traders or states that specialize in paying lip service like Qatar and its leadership.
Accordingly, under a Saudi-Iranian umbrella, the Lebanese are discussing solutions that may be viable and fruitful. Israel is scrutinizing, maneuvering and moving to reconsider the Arab peace initiative proposed by Saudi Arabia, and the Americans are acting with Riyadh for the sake of all these outstanding issues in the region.
And finally the Arab summit set to take place in Saudi Arabia is on the horizon, and all this accounts for Qatar’s evasive behavior, which has been their usual behavior towards Riyadh since the ousting of its former Emir. Of course, the best and ideal response to this behavior is for Riyadh to continue its political work. Qatar is a drop in the ocean and will have no effect. After all, in times of distress, it is the laws of nature that will prevail, cutting everyone back to size.