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Need for wisdom in Gulf crisis

March 27, 2014 - 5:43:26 am

The three Gulf countries that recalled their ambassadors from Qatar for a range of reasons they announced in a joint statement have so far failed to present proof of the accusations they levelled against Doha.

The only evidence in this regard is a number of reports carried by several newspapers and other media outlets that have a knack for fabricating news. 

Officials in the three countries, as well as their beneficiaries, who include Arab and foreign advisors, are still repeating the same lies. Qatar, in its response to these claims, has used the following verse from the holy Quran: “Bring your proof if you are truthful in your assertion”.

The claims made by the officials include support to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Shia Houthi group in Yemen, and interference in their internal affairs. Having been repeated, these claims sound boring. 

Qatar has played host to some leaders and members of the Muslim Brotherhood who fled their country for fear of detention, torture or killing. If that is the case, then how do the three countries see their hosting of Shafiq, Mohammed Dahlan, Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali and others like them who are wanted in their countries? 

As for the Houthis, nobody can gain anything by supporting them, supposing that Qatar backs them more than the three countries. 

It is clear that the three countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are fighting what has come to be known as “political Islam”. 

Making the Houthis strong will prevent the Yemeni revolution from becoming strong and moving ahead. This will also undermine Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated reformists and prevent them from controlling Yemen. 

Making the Houthis strong also serves the interests of the three countries, especially in their persistent fight against political Islam, even if this hurts some of their interests.

How could it be that Qatar supports Yemen’s Houthis, who are enemies of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Qatar is alleged to support?

Interference in the affairs of the three countries is another story. I do not want to go into the details of this, because it is an illogical claim in the light of geography and logic. Is it logical that Qatar would seek to destabilise its neighbours? Instability and chaos in these neighbouring countries will affect Qatar, given the country’s small size and population. Why do they not consider the fact that putting pressure on other countries to comply with specific conditions is also interference in their affairs and a violation of their sovereignty? 

What these three neighbouring countries are doing is blatant interference in Qatar’s affairs, particularly when this has to do with the freedom of the country to think and adopt the positions and policies that most benefit its people and its interests. Why did not Qatar say that the attitude of its neighbours is tantamount to interference in its affairs and a violation of its interests?

I leave the answers to all these questions to people who think logically.

The last claim made by the three countries is of incitement by the Qatari news channel Al Jazeera. What do they mean by this accusation? This is said even as the channel does its work with a great deal of objectivity and professionalism, especially when it comes to the crisis in Egypt. 

Al Jazeera is accused of incitement against the Egyptian state. But it should be known that the channel has opened the door for the backers of the military coup and its opponents to express themselves freely when all Egyptian channels are being suppressed. On Egypt’s channels, only the voice of the military can be heard. To a smaller extent the same is true of channels backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Assuming that Al Jazeera is guilty of incitement, what do we say about Sky News Arabia, Al Arabia, the Middle East and many other media outlets that incite people against Qatar directly and indirectly? These outlets are affiliated to the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia.

Qatar has ignored all this incitement, believing that it cannot stop the media and information revolution taking place across the world. Qatar also believes that it cannot stop people from talking or put everybody under watch. It believes that any measures in this regard will be fruitless. 

This is why Qatar wisely decided to ignore continual attacks by media outlets affiliated to the three countries, leaving readers and audiences to judge things for themselves. Qatar counts on the intelligence of readers and viewers and their ability to distinguish truth from falsehood. 

Incitement against Qatar is continuing. The United Arab Emirates is excelling Saudi Arabia in this, thanks to the Dubai security chief, who finds joy only in tweeting against the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar, as if there is nothing else for him to write about. 

There are many examples of incitement against Qatar by the Dubai security chief. Qatar, however, does not need to count these and file a lawsuit against him. It does not need to busy itself with these issues or even keep others busy thinking of them. 

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself was a target of incitement. He was also a target of rumours and fabricated accusations. Therefore, it is no surprise that Qatar, its leaders and its symbols are not immune to incitement, rumours and false accusations. 

Wisdom is needed in this regard. The first statement by the Qatari cabinet reflected wisdom and calmness. These things are necessary at times of crises. The statement was admired by many of those concerned about the security and stability of the region. 

I think Qatar is still moving along the same path, given its many positives. It is perhaps the most appropriate model for relations among countries, shunning the use of threats and arms, which bring nothing but loss.