Love, the Qatari Way

Love, the Qatari Way

Tuesday, 6 February, 2018 - 13:00
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad.
We no longer hear much about the dispute with Qatar, except from Doha's side where officials deliver statements and conduct interviews. Its foes are now concerned with their own issues, such as Iran and Yemen and their regional and international relations, which angered Doha that wants to turn its dispute with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain into an issue that occupies the international public opinion.

However, sovereignty grants each country the right to choose its own friends and states to which it opens its markets. Choosing to ban Saudi Arabia’s al-Marai dairy company from selling its products in Doha, or stopping share trading of Qatari companies in the UAE stock market, and closing Bahraini airspace in the face of Qatar Airways are matters that concern those states.

For over 50 years, US boycotted Cuba, less than 100 miles away from Florida. Given the different circumstances, because unlike poor Cuba, Doha has easily enough income to feed the entire population of India, So, what is the problem if the quartet treated Qatar the same way US did with Cuba?

In order to attract media attention, Qatar has been repeating the story that there was an intention to invade it, topple its Emir and install an alternative ruler. Qatari delegations made these accusations that appealed to each country they visited and thanked the leaderships for their "support."

Iranian officials went as far to claim, in an official statement, that their country prevented an imminent invasion of Qatar. The Qataris went on to repeat the same narrative in Turkey, and thus Turkish officials declared they were the ones who prevented the invasion.

In Washington, Qatar's Defense Minister said that, had it not been for the US, Saudi and Emirati troops would have invaded his country. US officials, in turn, said they had heard about military preparations against Qatar. Surely we can't forget that the first statement in this regard came from the Emir of Kuwait, who claimed early in September: “We succeeded in stopping the military intervention.”

Obviously, Qatari officials have been repeating the same narrative, with some modifications that suit all the governments they visit, in order to involve them in the crisis and grant each one the alleged role of heroism.

There were never any attempt to invade Qatar or any intention to do so; not out of respect for the leadership of Doha, but because these governments are fully aware of the dangers of invasion and regime change by force. Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait comes to mind.

Largest US military base in the region is in Qatar, so who would be so adventurous as to take such a risk? Qatar always exaggerates every issue.

It is possible that Qatar deliberately spread such rumors to disturb the already scared officials terrified of possible outcomes to their hostile actions against neighboring countries, and their 20-year efforts to support any external or internal threats against them. Both Saudi Arabia and UAE won't consider an invasion to discipline Doha. It is enough for them to boycott it, ignore, and continue without it. However, like attention-seeking children, officials in Doha cannot tolerate being ignored or boycotted, although they will have to get used to it.

In the end, while Qatar is wasting its money trying to convince the super powers to intervene and reach a reconciliation, we tell the Doha regime: it's time you realize there is no compulsion in love.

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