Opinion: An Open letter Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs



Thu, 29 Jun 2017 - 11:48 GMT


Thu, 29 Jun 2017 - 11:48 GMT

Dr. Moataz Abdel Fattah - File Photo

Dr. Moataz Abdel Fattah - File Photo

In the aftermath of a meeting held Tuesday with United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani - the Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs - has come up to the world with a barrage of a political statement that has been almost sacredly conveyed by Qatari-based Al Jazeera news channel.

Rex Tillerson - CC via Flikr/William Munoz

As per his statement, Qatar is willing to negotiate with neighboring gulf countries (Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain). Becoming a new political de-facto status by now and creating a cyclone in its wake, these three Gulf countries, along with other countries in the region such as Egypt, have carried out a full-blown political and economic boycott against Qatar.

With an apparent but not a convincing mask of confidence, H.E Sheikh Mohammed keeps wrongly referring to the boycott as a ‘siege.’ In his statement, he directly linked Qatar’s receptiveness to negotiate with the political willingness of these countries to open a channel of dialogue and provide concrete evidence that support their allegations against Qatar. He continued by declaring that all presented accusations are merely allegations that are not based on substantial evidence.

In alignment with the United States’ position that was conveyed by Secretary Tillerson during the meeting, Qatar is asking its neighbors for more grounded and rational demands to end the imposed boycott.

As if in a political and media ping-pong match, H.E Sheikh Mohammed’s statement was a reply to earlier declarations by Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel Al Jubeir, in which Al Jubeir clearly and firmly announced that there is no negotiating with Qatar so long as the country is not willing to succumb to the ultimatum of demands required to end the boycott.

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel Al Jubeir - State Department photo/Public Domain

Being the ardent enthusiast to analyze new unfolding events regarding what I like to coin as the “Qatar-gate” catastrophe, I have to really critically highlight and protest the negotiation and conflict resolution tact, skills and stance of the Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Ever since the outset of the boycott, H.E Mohammed has been continuously and repetitively saying the same thing!

He uses similar words in some instances, and a different tone others. He previously stated that his country doesn’t translate the imposed boycott as coupled with any specific agenda of demands, whilst in another instance he would come out to announce that the boycott is based on unfounded allegations.

It is safe to say that the man is a loyal sophist student of a very amateurish sophistication school specialized in weak diplomatic rhetoric rather than wisdom and lack of political savviness rather than deep knowledge.

I really have to resurrect and liken it to Socrates’ description of weak philosophers who resort to small talk and word manipulation to get away with shallow knowledge and lack of wisdom. Socrates was pointing fingers at the likes of Glaucon son of Ariston, Protagoras the Greek philosopher and Thrasymachus.

Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani - State Department photo/Public Domain

However, in all fairness, perhaps the political stance of Qatar really is ambiguous to him or not enough information is being conveyed to him by those in higher power (i.e Crown Prince Tamim and his close entourage). Perhaps he doesn’t realize the extent of political or even geo-political damage that Qatar has unleashed unto this region.

Therefore, laced with best intentions, I would like to extend a sincere ‘5 pointed’ advice to H.E Minister Mohammed.

First of all, please take the time to read the six prevailing principles of the classical “realism” school pertaining to international relations coined by Hans J. Morgenthau. Qatar is dealing with this political catastrophe with a very Machiavellian approach. I can envision this Qatari position as someone who is wholeheartedly digging a very deep well and dedicating all time spent on digging, without any second thoughts or considerations regarding “the way up and out of the deepening well.” Now Qatar is forced to find a way out!

Hans J. Morgenthau - Fair Use via Wikimedia Commons/Author unknown

Secondly, please try to avoid always tackling head-on the issues of human rights, international law and the global partners of Qatar as a mechanism of defense to counter the boycott.

Defending your country’s position should not be based on ethics and idealistic morals. Rather, please look closer to home, actually much closer, if I may say that.

Qatar has been for years now embarking on political tactics and strategies that are deprived of any moral or ethical considerations. It has taken the region onto a path muddied with human collateral damage and streams of blood.

Vapid, shallow and non-conclusive media statements will not have a valuable return for Qatar.

Bust of Socrates - CC via Flikr/Ben Crowe

Third, please do not refer to the current political catastrophe as “a Gulf situation;” rather, it is wholly a “Qatari Situation” born and bred by Qatar and will only be solved by Qatar. This also resonates with you using the term “siege” rather than, as it really is, a “boycott.” In my humble opinion it is really a “Qatar-gate” in all its sad and bad glory.

But if you are inclined to name it a “siege,” then please also acknowledge that this was the result of miscalculating the extent of the political and strategic role that Qatar can play in the region. It is also the result of underestimating the power and role of your neighboring countries.

Fourth, Qatar is in a defensive position and with the elongation of the boycott duration, the economic bill is on the rise. This will result in very serious economic repercussions that can be felt for future generations to come. Economic and even social seclusion from the Arab world is not a winning card on the long run. Meanwhile, Arab countries are diligently working hard towards economic progress and development.

Lastly, my fifth point would be about taking full responsibility of the actions taken by Qatar. The political renegades that you are housing and the blood money being pumped to finance terrorism-linked groups across the region and with it wreaking havoc in its trail.

I am afraid that the Qatari regime lacks any serious intentions to address or present real solutions to resolve the so-called “siege.” They remain stringent in their political perception, even if the price is going to be really high.

Please prove me wrong…



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