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Two Years into Blockading Qatar

Two Years into Blockading Qatar

Saturday, 8 June, 2019 - 08:00
Salman Al-dossary
Salman Aldosary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper
Logging two years into a regional blockade, Qatar chose to revamp its media campaign. But failing to see that reinventing its rhetoric will not impact change, Doha remains unable to bridge the divide that has left it at odds with its neighbors.

When addressing the global community, it decries the blockade and plays the victim. But when speaking to its audience at home, the Qatari administration touts itself as stronger and ever-more prosperous, flaunting independence from neighboring states.

It is hard to level being an “isolated prey” with also being a standalone independent state. It is also laughable to think the blockading countries were merely concerned with Doha’s ability to import livestock.

For the states that severed ties with Qatar, stopping the rogue nation from meddling in their internal affairs, reducing its support of terror groups and preventing its exploitation of its Gulf Cooperation Council membership to advance enemy state agendas, especially Iran’s, are all well-achieved goals of the blockade.

Qatar’s recent backtracking on the Makkah summits declarations, despite initially endorsing the Arab and GCC final communiques, proves that the decision to isolate the small country is not only valid, but also necessary.

Authorities in Doha, after having secretly pushed for Iranian interests in the region, are now openly representing the terror-funding state in global summits.

This places Qatar in a league of its own in terms of blatant support for Iran-- other states that maintain lukewarm relations with the cleric-led Tehran regime are generally reserved when it comes to standing for Iran in international arenas.

Doha had gone out of its way to reject the declarations which condemned Iran’s escalatory aggressions in the region.    

Whilst the Qatari foreign minister justified the refusal by saying the declarations failed to find a moderate policy to speak with the foe state, the Qatari Emir went an extra mile and chose to draw parallels between stances upheld by the cleric-led regime in Iran and the government in Doha.

Even more, in a phone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Qatar's Emir emphasized that Doha and Tehran agree on many regional issues.

Rouhani, for his part, welcomed Qatar's stances, saying they are based on the policy of “good” neighborliness.  But in reality, all Qatar had done was expose where its allegiances have truly been placed for the past two decades.    

Today, the only difference is Doha’s decision to publicly side with Iran against its neighboring Arab states.

For years, authorities in Qatar have been the epitome of a wayward shipmate which repeatedly punches holes that could sink the ship. And each time, fellow states work to patch these holes with the hope that Doha will have a serious policy rethink.

But two years into the blockade, there are no signs on a regional desire to welcome Doha, a self-proven mutineer, back on board. 

At this point, no one knows when exactly the gaps will be mended with Qatar—reconciliation could take five to ten years. But it goes without saying that boycotting neighbors have, since imposing the blockade, been enjoying better security and are more focused on personal affairs rather than keeping a lookout for the next harmful action their small state neighbor lobs their way.

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