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A Reminder that the Qatar Crisis Has Entered its 4th Year

A Reminder that the Qatar Crisis Has Entered its 4th Year

Saturday, 6 June, 2020 - 05:30
Salman Al-Dossary
Salman Al-Dossary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

In its first year, the Qatar crisis used to be measured in months. During its second year, it began to be measured in years. Now, after three years of boycott, the years go by and no one blinks an eye – except of course, the boycotted country, whose crisis grows worse the longer it goes on.

Whose airspace has been shut? Qatar. Who does not enjoy land borders? Qatar. Who searched the globe for solutions? Qatar. Who is desperately searching for one mediation after another? Qatar. Whose media has nothing else to report but on its rivals? Qatar. Who allied itself with the worst allies in the world, Iran and Turkey? Also, Qatar.

Today, the Qatar crisis enters is fourth year. It has been largely forgotten except by the side that is worst affected by the boycott, which has threatened its deceptions and isolated it from its surroundings. Every year and every month and every hour, Qatar claims that has become stronger than it was before June 5, 2017. Its diplomatic and media strategies are based on this policy, which it has been largely promoting internally and externally, while at the same time desperately searching for regional and international mediations to return matters back on course.

Therein lies the contradiction, for whoever has grown stronger after the boycott cannot go back to the time when it was “weaker.” How can someone who is committed to the “independence of its political decision-making in confronting hegemony” surrender to Ankara and Tehran and allow them to manipulate it as they choose? How can someone who rejected dictates on its foreign policy and meddling in its internal affairs deign for his country to become an open arena for Turkish soldiers?

The boycott revealed a bitter truth, which Doha knew before everyone else: Qatar was blessed by having such neighbors and used to make its decisions independently. But now, it has come under the political hegemony of its new allies.

What saddens Qatar is not the isolation it has been enduring for three years, but its inability to practice its old reliable policies of exploiting its special relations with its neighbors to support terrorist groups and their efforts to destabilize the region. It does still play this role to an extent, but it has lost the golden link that tied Doha to Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Cairo and Manama. Qatar can no more go back to being a normal state for itself and its neighbors than it can adjust to its new status as an isolated state that is being controlled by the Turks and Persians. It is Qatar’s extremist creed that has landed it in this major crisis that grows bigger the longer its isolation persists. The emergence of new recordings of its former Emir and prime minister offer new evidence of the hostile policy adopted by the Doha regime for several years.

Day after day, the decision to boycott Qatar appears to not only be the right move, but actually one that had should have been taken sooner given that it was the consequence of years of Qatari conspiracies and meddling that targeted the destabilization of neighbors and provided support to their enemies. Doha had gone so far as to attempt a coup against the legitimate rule in Bahrain.

Three years of the boycott against Qatar passed by normally in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain, but they seemed like a lifetime for Doha. Qatar’s arrogance has not helped it, but it has only led to more political, economic and social losses. It confirmed its suffering itself with its desperate pursuit of mediations. Its sole obsession throughout the 1,096 days of the boycott has been ending its isolation. Is that a sign that it has grown stronger?!

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