Makram Mohamed Ahmed - File photo
CAIRO – 10 July 2017: Sameh Shoukry, Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs, summarized the standpoint of the four countries (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain) toward Qatar’s negative response to the 13 demands suggested by them to settle the crisis with Qatar, saying that the Qatari response was long and dense, but negative and devoid of meaning.
It did not indicate any objective understanding, and we did not see a glimmer of hope in it. This asserted to the four countries that Qatari policies will not change. The four countries too shall never tolerate the sabotage attempted by Qatar.
Because of this clear standpoint, it is normal for the four countries to continue rejecting any Arab or foreign mediations as long as the Qatari stance does not change in a way that shows its full commitment to the Riyadh Agreement of 2013 and its follow-ups, guaranteeing the practical implementation of its items.
The four countries shall also hold to their 13 demands (which Qatar believes it can break down), and the first of which is stopping all forms of financial and in-kind support for terrorist groups, from Al-Qaeda to Al-Nusra Front and the Muslim Brotherhood, and stop providing them with safe havens.
It is also normal for the four countries to continue cutting ties with Qatar, shutting down its only land border with Saudi Arabia, stopping air traffic, closing access to regional waters, and intensifying the Qatar blockade.
It is certain that the crisis may continue for long, and that it may be further escalated through many paths. The paths to be taken go from freezing Qatar’s membership in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Arab League of States, to the four countries taking the issue to the United Nations Security Council, demanding the imposition of sanctions on Qatar and referring it to the International Court of Justice. This is the international community’s responsibility to pursue and punish deviant countries that support terrorism!
The recent developments of the crisis indicate that the door to negotiations with Qatar shall remain tightly shut. Any new proposals that do not guarantee stopping all forms of funding and supporting terrorist organizations, require Al-Jazeera TV to stop the broadcast of hatred and incitement of terrorism and promoting its thought, and respond to demands to exclude those involved in terrorism’s funding or ideas, will not solve the crisis or re-open the door to negotiations.
What adds to this is Egypt’s peculiar situation, as it is the country most affected by Qatar’s involvement and collusion of it. It is the country that made the greatest sacrifices of its citizens’ souls, be it unarmed civilians or police, security and army personnel who achieved martyrdom in the war against terrorism funded by Qatar. These are enough reasons to make Egypt more resilient in pursuing it, punishing it, taking it to the Security Council and the International Court of Justice, and requiring it to pay compensation for Egypt’s human and financial losses.
Egypt cannot tolerate, forgive or forget what Qatar did. It cannot turn a blind eye to the danger of Qatar’s support of terrorist groups in Libya, in defiance of Egypt, and to threaten its national security by turning Libya into a dagger stabbing Egypt’s western border.
Egypt cannot ignore Qatar’s interventions in the Gaza Strip and its support of terrorist groups in Sinai, or its attempts to turn the latter into another dagger stabbing Egypt’s eastern border and sabotaging it.
This is all in addition to a long history of conspiring against Egypt’s interests, reaching its peak in Qatar’s conspiracy with Israel to dig a canal connecting Eilat on the Red Sea to the east of the Mediterranean to harm Egyptian interests during former President Hosni Mubarak’s rule.
This is what Mubarak himself confirmed, before he pressured himself to visit it, in spite of tensions with its Emir, to convince Hamad, Tamim’s father, not to fund the Israeli project! Then came Qatar’s blatant complicity with the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) during the January 25 events, helping it rise to power in Egypt and empowering it to rule Egypt in exchange for Qatar’s control of the Suez Canal and Egypt’s antiquities.
This is on top of Qatar’s involvement in recruiting Hamas to sabotage Egypt’s interests in cooperation with American intelligence agencies, as the CIA director recently admitted. A few days ago, he admitted that Qatar was working with Hamas to achieve goals planned by the CIA!
I believe that what Qatar did in Saudi Arabia, which is trying to break its unity down and divide it, and what it did in the Emirates to empower the MB to have a secret organization there (as revealed by General Dhahi Khalfan) is no less dangerous than what Qatar did in Egypt.
It is striking how Qatar’s collusion and conspiracy against Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Bahrain was driven by petty and lowly motivations, which are basically reconciling the interests and strategic goals of the MB with the Qatari ruling family, and its desire to weaken those countries for the sake of the MB. This is besides Qatar’s sentiment that it is a mere microstate, to which God granted a huge fortune of oil.
Qatar, however, chose to squander it on sabotage, destruction, intervention in others’ affairs, and complicity in Syria, Libya and Egypt, so that its influence would grow in the Middle East, as well as to become an imposing power that blackmails the Arab world, of which it is part.
Qatar, however, is nothing but a microstate that was nurtured and instructed by Israeli and American intelligence agencies. It was taught how to sabotage Egypt’s interests, blackmail Saudi Arabia under the pressure of Al-Jazeera’s campaigns, divide Arab unity, and incite terrorist groups, especially the MB, to destabilize the region, hoping for a false new beginning that only brought disaster to the Arab world in the January events.
Then the treason became as clear as dawn, when the former Qatari Prime Minister revealed his “friendship” to Israeli and US intelligence agencies and his pursuit to undermine the Arab League of States from the inside, when he succeeded in handing the Libyan issue over to NATO and the internationalization of the Syrian crisis!
Not only were Qatar’s motivations in its animosity toward Egypt and Saudi Arabia truly dangerous, and they were to make up for its shortcomings (lack of status, history, small size) through excessive spending on whatever would bring it quick fame, even if it were acts of sabotage and destruction.
Qatar also tried to act as the “wronged” victim in the latest crisis, exposed to the aggression of four countries including Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Those countries are seeking to destroy the identity of Qatar, diminish its international role, stop it from “marching to the beat of its own drum” away from Arabs and work to change its regime, which is being passed down through generations of children’s betrayal of their parents.
From the very beginning of the crisis with Qatar, the four countries declared that they do not aim at carrying out a military aggression against it, change its regime or do any injustice to the Al-Thani family. They asserted that all they want is for Qatar to change its political approach, which jeopardizes the security and interests of its neighbors.
In spite of these clear statements, Qatar hastily accused the four countries of planning a military aggression against it, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Defense quickly stated that Qatar and its military forces are completely ready to deter the four countries’ aggression and defend the land and dignity of Qatar!
The Turkish clown Recep Tayyib Erdogan quickly declared that the Turkish Parliament issued a law reinforcing the Turkish military base in Qatar by deploying 5,000 soldiers there responsible for keeping the Qatari Emir and his family secure. Only some foreign countries with wide-reaching economic interests in Qatar applauded this farce.
It even divided the Trump administration, where Trump on the one hand stood by the four countries’ decision as a necessary act to stop the funding of terrorist groups and obligate Qatar to quit acting in its historical role supporting terrorist groups.
On the other hand, his Secretary of State played the role of the mediator who is already biased toward Qatar, when he stated that the demands of the four countries are in fact difficult to be met and approved!
There is no explanation for this conundrum, where some European countries suffered from terrorism and still suffer from its “sleeper cells” but still stand by Qatar in spite of its proven support for terrorism, other than international hypocrisy, lowly interests and double standards.
Of course, this conundrum entails older motivations, like the West’s pursuit of dividing the Arab world, worsening any Arab dispute, widening the gap between Arab stances and furthering a divide so that Arabs get weaker and more divided!
It is certain that the four countries’ decision to close the door on new mediations in this regard constitutes an all-important variable in their stance, making it more serious and powerful. One of the dilemmas of the Qatari standpoint is that the Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs admitted in an important statement that Qatar did indeed contribute to funding terrorist groups, but was not the largest contributor.
However, at the same time, its negative response to the four countries denies any relationship it has with terrorism. Qatar asked the Kuwaiti Emir to extend the 10-day time limit by 48 hours. Then, Qatar’s response came to close all doors on negotiation.
Qatari officials, especially the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Defense, declared in an empty so-called heroic gesture that Qatar shall not allow anybody to change its policies and that it is ready to defend the independence of its decision and bear the consequences of its standpoint.
This is because there is an international law to be respected and not violated! This makes one wonder about the “independence of the Qatari decision”, whereas it is home to a military base of more than 11,000 US soldiers. Who is violating international law? The four countries asking Qatar to stop supporting terrorism, or Qatar that interferes in the matters of Arab countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the Emirates and Bahrain?
What is worse than all these Qatari lies is what Mohammed bin Abdul-Rahman Al-Thani, Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs, said when he was handing his country’s response to Kuwait.
He said that if any of the GCC states could prove Qatar’s interference in any security or political issue for the Gulf states, Qatar could take that into consideration! This means that Egypt should “stay out of it”, and that its endeavors to sabotage Egypt, Syria and Libya are granted and that none of the Gulf countries have the right to interfere in them because it constitutes an interference in Qatar’s foreign policy. These are the rotten words of a rotten conspiring mentality, which Qatar previously used in the 2013 crisis.
It ended with the Riyadh Agreement, and Qatar implemented none of its items! What remains vague until now is why Qatar, the narrow-minded, rich microstate insists on antagonizing and targeting Egypt? Why does it do so, while Egypt never tried to interfere in Qatari issues, though it could gain access to its most private and secure places, and in spite of the differences of power and status that could allow Egypt to teach Qatar a lesson not to be forgotten? This lesson would have its objective and legal justifications, and it would be because of Qatar’s continuous aggression against Egyptian people’s security. Egyptian people will neither forgive nor forget Qatar’s crimes against their land.
The bottom line is that there is no way but to pursue Qatar and punish it, because Qatar shall not follow the right path unless it is subjected to more isolation. The Security Council and the League of Arab States should further pursue it, until it is given a fitting punishment.
Not punishing Qatar in spite of its clear support for terrorism and all the evidence that prove this takes the entire international community’s fight against terrorism back to square one! There is a huge loophole in this war, which could acquit Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra Front, the MB and every Tom, Dick and Harry, as if nothing was ever done! The four countries’ case against Qatar is, however, a fair and just case that is supported by thousands of evidences, and the international, Islamic and Arab public opinion support it, while the Arab world is following some foreign countries’ standpoints toward Qatar’s terrorism in total astonishment. In short, what is needed of the upcoming Ministers of Foreign Affairs meeting in Manama is that they become even more firm and strict with Qatar.
They must present a clear statement to the international public opinion through the Public Assembly and the Security Council, exposing Qatar’s aggression and conspiracy of terrorism, deterring it once and for all from continuing with these awful acts.
Without deterrence and forcing it to stick to the right path by stopping to provide financial and in-kind support, there is no point in talking about unifying the international community’s efforts in its fight against terrorism.
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