Founded on fault lines

 12 Jun 2017 - 8:09

Three Gulf countries’ move of severing diplomatic ties and imposing sanctions on Qatar under uncorroborated charges of “supporting terrorism” has been constructed on huge fault lines thus the campaign against Qatar is doomed to collapse sooner than later.

The intentions of three Gulf States went crystal-clear the day when some hawkish media outlets headquartered in those countries launched a smear campaign against Qatar in the wake of QNA hacking incident.

They launched a caustic rather poisonous propaganda drive against Qatar on the basis of a fake news story published by schemers attributing false statements to the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The media blitz by the neighbours against Qatar was initiated on an incident which itself was a “BIG LIE”. It was the first fault line.

The charge-sheet fabricated to create a justification for the diplomatic cut-off was another fault line. A country whose troops were fighting shoulder to shoulder with Saudi Arabia to suppress a rebellion against a legitimate government in Yemen for the stability of the region was blamed that “it was trying to destabilise the region”. Neither any such concern was raised nor any attempt was made to address the issue (in case they had any substance) during Riyadh summit, held just few days before the move of cutting off relations with Qatar by three Gulf states. Why? 

It was an error of judgment on behalf of three Gulf countries which thought that their designed diplomatic clampdown would bring Doha to its knees within no time. Qatar, a sovereign state, reacted with utmost prudence; with patience, steadfastness adopting mature diplomatic traditions. 

Rebutting all concocted stories of “Qatar supports terrorists”, Doha made it clear to all and sundry that it would “defend its independent foreign policy” and was not ready to budge an inch from its principled stance of not taking dictations. That was the moment when the allies-turned-opponents lost the ground to stand firm finding themselves weightless having only hollow claims and baseless allegations. The charges against Doha could not be proved and detestable pressure tactics had been countered and resisted successfully from the other side. 

Now they started looking in their own backyards where they found that their people too were standing with Qatar and Qatari nation. Intimidation button was pressed in panic and people were frightened with the dire consequences of long-imprisonments and huge-fines in case they expressed sympathy with their Qatari brothers. 

They say the blood is thicker than water. Yes, thickness of brotherly bonds between people of the Gulf have defeated the warnings of jail and the pro-Qatari sentiment is denying to die. This sentiment is too hard to crack. You can block one channel, the emotions will find hundreds of other passages to flow. 

Another fact that has angered people is the launching of ill-advised move against Qatar in the holy month of Ramadan. They have contaminated the spiritual ambience and harmed the reverence of Ramadan with badly crafted political actions. The reports emanating from Saudi Arabia that “Qatari citizens and pilgrims from Qatar were barred from entering the Masjid Al Haram in Makkah” will earn nothing for three Gulf states but worldwide condemnation and unbridled hate. Will they be able to read the writing on the wall and when?

Along other fault lines, the move of three Gulf states also rests on criminal neglect to human rights considerations. The people of the Gulf, for centuries, are living as a single society very closely knitted hence inseparable. The harsh orders of three Gulf countries asking Qataris to leave their lands within 14 days and closing all travel routes on them and also ordering their own citizens (Saudis, Bahranis and Emiratis) to return to their homelands has created a nightmare for a large number of people; imagine weeping mothers, distressed children and students and employees pushed to uncertainty. 

Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee Chairman, Ali bin Sumaikh Al Marri has rightly said that the moves by the Gulf states against Qatar amount to “a collective punishment and international crime.” Amnesty International has also condemned the blockade taken by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain against Qatar, saying the countries are “toying with the lives of thousands of Gulf residents” as part of their dispute with Qatar.

On the other hand, Qatar’s noble gestures of love, patience and respect are winning hearts of the people across the globe. Qatar’s Ministry of Interior said in a statement that the State of Qatar, in accordance with its firm beliefs and principles, works on avoiding political conflicts with states and governments when dealing with their people.

“Qatar did not take any measures against its residents who hold the nationalities of brotherly and friendly countries that severed diplomatic ties or lowered diplomatic representations with Qatar,” it stated. Famous English poet Alexander Pope says: “Honour and shame from no condition rise; act well your part, there all the honour lies.”

Now we come to the much-trumpeted “terror list” which better be dubbed as “terrifying list”. Leaving dozens of arguments aside which can be presented to nullify the so-called “terror list”, the inclusion of respected Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi is enough to rubbish the handiwork of hard-hearted officials. It is unfortunate indeed that Saudi-led bloc forgot the services of Al Qaradawi for Islam and also the fact that he is same Islamic scholar who was awarded with “King Faisal International Prize” in 1994 and “Dubai International Holy Quran Award” in 2000.

Also the vibrant and always-ready-to-serve charity organisations of Qatar which have become a last ray of hope for millions of poor, needy and destitute segments of society have not been spared. Reacting to the list, the UN said that it was not bound to the “terror list”. The reaction was timely and logical as all Qatar-based charity organisations are working with various organisations of the UN for decades. 

Bringing a great dismay for the countries which were posing like movers-and-shakers, world community is standing with Qatar and its stance. They say prosperity (good times) makes friends, adversity tries them. Now the time has tested that the majority of world nations stand behind Qatar extending their support and asking the other camp to behave with sanity. 

Why the world nations are not joining their hands in their campaign against Qatar? These countries must pose this question before the insensible architects of their foreign policies. 

Not only the world leaders, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan standing at the front, are resolute in denouncing the move of isolating Qatar, but the institutions have also come forward supporting Qatar as well as leading world human rights organisations. The US military lauded Qatar for its “enduring commitment to regional security”.

The head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has also urged Gulf countries that have cut ties with Qatar to restore air links with the country, warning of major travel disruptions. 

“Their second miscalculation was to assume that because Qatar was small, no bigger nation would come to its defence. Both Saudi and the UAE have significant investments in Turkey ... Both thought Turkey would be bought off. The opposite happened. Erdogan realised that if Qatar were crushed, he would be the only man of that camp standing,” David Hearst writes in the Middle East Eye.

The protest demonstrations to support Qatar in Turkey, Gaza, Mauritania etc and #SpendEidInQatar and #QatarIsNotAlone like hashtag trends emerging in Kuwait and Turkey respectively speak volumes of public opinion on a broader scale. 

The conspiracies being hatched to hit Qatar economically will also end in fiasco. “More than a third of the world’s liquefied natural gas trade comes from Qatar, making it the world’s largest producer and exporter of LNG. Countries across the world — including Japan, China, Pakistan, the UK, France, Turkey, Brazil and Argentina — rely on Qatar for much of their energy needs,” writes Boston Herald.

With the support of its citizens, residents and millions of people from the world, Qatar is set to steer itself out of this crisis as its people have an unflinching faith in Allah and trust upon their wise leadership. “Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark,” Tagore. 

The writer is a Doha-based journalist.