Tuesday , September 26 2017

Qatar 2017 … Qatar 1893

THE visit of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to the United States of America has huge significance.

Perhaps, the significance of this visit lies in the timing — during the third anniversary of the United Nation’s declaration of His Highness as International Humanitarian Leader and Kuwait as International Humanitarian Center or three months after the beginning of the Gulf crisis and the entire world agreed on Kuwait’s mediation as the necessary path towards the solution.

The statement made by His Highness the Amir during the joint conference with US President Donald Trump had positive denotations concerning the end of this regional impasse.

Throughout the past months, His Highness the Amir has been working hard, even during the holy month of Ramadan, to end the crisis through his shuttle diplomacy and movement in and out of Gulf capitals; let alone sending delegations in order to end the unusual rift by Kuwait’s comprehension of this Gulf entity.

Kuwait’s effort to find ways to end the crisis is also based on its belief that people in the same house have commonality which exceeds the personal ambitions of some countries.

Unfortunately, this reality eludes Qatar’s decision-making circle which rendered the telephone call between Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad and Saudi’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman an almost fateful issue, with the intention to close all windows of hope that have been opened.

The initiative of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad to telephone Prince Muhammad bin Salman is not an offense for Qatar’s Amir. Instead, what was agitated by Qatar’s Foreign Ministry, its official news agency and Al-Jazeera news channel concerning the call is politically read as not in the interest of Doha. It is as if there is division; and this, in itself, is considered disturbance of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad by members of the Qatari house.

The festival to distort facts, which came about two hours after the telephone call, does not promise any good at all. In fact, it puts matters back to square one.

This means there is a need for serious work to explain what is transpiring in Doha, where the strong wind came from. As it appears, the wind intended to close all doors leading to solutions; given that this downswing has brought grief and sadness to all.

This has affected Kuwait’s political leadership that Doha was supposed to coordinate with in the capacity as global mediator in this crisis — concerning the telephone call and any development in this regard.

Hence, the questions puzzling all decision-making circles, whether the four countries or other capitals keen on ending the rift and restoring political harmony in the Gulf Cooperation Council are: What is next and where do some establishments in Qatar want to take the region?

Undoubtedly, Qatar’s unified decision will open the horizon towards a quick end to the crisis as per the conditions agreed upon in the two Riyadh summits, and the roadmap which His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah is setting up as sole mediator in this crisis.

The immediate end of the crisis will also stop the loud voices that Qatar sought strength from — whether Turkey or Iran, as these two countries want to gain the most from this crisis; making Qatar subject to their line of interests.

Ideally, Qatar can just save itself from all the challenges by returning to the GCC house which will continue standing with or without it; whereas it remains without any protection if it stays outside. Therefore, it will be back to square one — to where it was in the late eighteenth century.

At the time — 1871, Qatar’s ruler requested the Ottomans to protect them from invaders. This bothered Britain which engaged in an almost continuous conflict with it, especially after the Ottomans attempted to increase their forces in Qatar through the appointment of Turkish officials in Zabara, Doha, Wakra and Khor Al-Odeid.

This was followed by the establishment of customs in Doha and enhancement of the Ottoman protectorate … All these led to war with Sheikh Qassem Al Thani in March 1893 and cost Qatar hugely.

Are some decision-making circles in Qatar currently striving for the country to bear another huge cost in favor of Turkey and Iran by making it the Trojan horse against their Gulf brothers?

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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