“CURSED is arrogance, it kills the arrogant first”, this loosely translated Arabic proverb — for decades — applies to Qatari politics, and not only in its recent crisis that ended with Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain closing their borders and airspace, and severing diplomatic relations with her.
If we’re to ask what Qatar has gained from its politics, we can never forget what transpired in 1990 during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait when GCC countries held their summit in Doha. At that time, the only agenda of the summit was the Iraqi occupation but the then Crown Prince Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani dragged his feet for three days, demanding solution to Qatar-Bahrain border dispute—prioritizing an issue that could be settled in a friendly manner between two countries over the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
After waiting three days in Doha’s Sheraton Hotel, the late King Fahad Abdul-Aziz called the then Qatari Amir Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad and asked, “Are we captives in this hotel? Come with your son; bring your crown prince with you to settle the issue”.
Sheikh Khalifa felt the matter has reached the boiling point, so he went to the hotel accompanied by his son who deposed him five years later and even attempted to extradite his father to Qatar through Interpol warrant. This incident indicates the level of Qatar’s arrogance throughout history, and how she could prefer its temporary interests over issues related to the destiny of GCC countries.
Qatar has never abided by any decision and agreement reached by the GCC leadership apart from the freedom of movement through identity cards for GCC nationals. Apart from that, Qatar has remained alone in its foreign policies, whether in interfering with the internal affairs of member states and supporting destructive gangs or through its alliance or opening its borders to countries that are hostile to the GCC leadership, citing the case of Iran, which Qatar is supporting at the expense of its brothers.
It is really unfortunate Qatar has become the media and financial bridge, and even logistic of Persian aggression on Bahrain and the eastern area of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with full force of its leadership. Of course, in addition to its support of Houthi rebels and Iranian linked terrorist groups in Iraq, we all know the details regarding Qatar’s interference in Egypt’s affairs and how it punished Egyptians for revolting against the Muslim Brotherhood leadership and toppled its “doll”.
At that time, Doha quickly demanded return of its deposits from Egypt’s central bank, whereas Egypt being the big man, proudly returned the deposits in an instance, pardoning the big brother on frivols of children.
The suicidal politics adopted by Qatar has also contributed to fragmentation of Libya through the support of terrorist groups and participation with Houthis and Iran to shed blood in Yemen and Syria and Lebanon over the past six years.
Despite Qatar’s actions to completely dishonor the joint destiny, the GCC countries have been striving to protect its small brother by keeping it close and solving diplomatic challenges with calm in a bid to preserve the interests of its people. Nonetheless, due to arrogance, Doha’s mistakes went overboard and the big brothers deemed it necessary to use the last diplomatic remedy of isolation. Other Arab and Islamic countries have also started to follow suit!
It is clear the suicidal arrogance that overwhelms Qatar’s administration since the deposed grandfather of the current Amir has been transmitted to the grandson to the point of offending his people and pushing the country to the list of renegade countries— where it will live with its internationally isolated ally, Iran.
Isn’t it the right of the people of Qatar to have a wise leadership that positively contributes to the unity of GCC nations instead of the suicidal alienation caused by the current administration?
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times