How bizarre Saudi Ara­bia is be­hav­ing!

Tehran Times - - ANALYSIS - By Zahra Emamzadeh

I have been to Qatar three times; not for a trip as I was vis­it­ing my par­ents in their home, so I can say that I lived in Qatar for more than three months. Qatar is a very small but rich coun­try in west of Asia with only el­ven thou­sand kilo­me­tres area and al­most fifty years of his­tory. The Guardian has re­ported Qatar as the rich­est coun­try in the world in terms of GDP per capita. Qatari peo­ple are one of the rich­est peo­ple I have ever seen. I have heard some of the peo­ple re­fer to Qatar as a small scale of New York city in terms of the en­gi­neer­ing and the struc­ture; the tall build­ings across the Per­sian Gulf are one of the tourist at­trac­tions at nights. This small coun­try with short his­tory to­day has one of the big­gest air­lines in the world with al­most 160 air­planes and 150 in­ter­na­tional des­ti­na­tions. Qatar is the sec­ond rich­est coun­try in re­gion.

What did hap­pen in the pol­i­tics that in less than a day many Arab coun­tries in a re­gion in­clud­ing Saudi, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, who were once close al­lies to Qatar, cut their diplo­matic ties and closed their air, land and sea to a coun­try? To­day, after three weeks into the worst Qatar cri­sis, we still don’t know the ex­act rea­son of all the un­prece­dented diplo­matic and eco­nomic sanc­tions that were im­posed on Qatar.

I have in­for­mally talked to Mr. Sohrabi, a for­mer Ira­nian am­bas­sador and Mr. Emamzadeh, a for­mer Ira­nian cul­tural con­sul­ter in Qatar about the new sit­u­a­tion th­ese days, the points and ar­gu­ments are men­tioned be­low.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr. Sohrabi this was at least the third time that Saudi Ara­bia and Qatar got in con­flict and tension with one an­other, but why this time it seems dif­fer­ent? He be­lieves that is the ef­fect of Don­ald Trump trip to Saudi Ara­bia. Mr. Sohrabi deeply be­lieves that U.S. president’s first trip to Saudi Ara­bia had two ma­jor rea­sons; one, to en­sure Is­rael se­cu­rity and full sup­port, and two, Don­ald Trump re­ally wanted Pales­tine not to be the ma­jor con­cern in the re­gion so by his in­di­rect pol­icy he took eyes off from the Pales­tine and di­rected at­ten­tion to Qatar. Mr. Sohrabi wisely men­tions that we also need to be aware of the 11,000 troops in U.S. mil­i­tary base in Qatar. After the ex­plo­sion in Dhahran, Amer­i­can mil­i­tary were shifted to Qatar and since then one of the largest U.S. mil­i­tary bases in the re­gion ex­ists in Qatar and there­for all this haz­ard can’t be with­out any co­op­er­a­tion.

In re­gard to the po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion of the Mid­dle East, Qatar had some vague and un­cer­tain strate­gies in the last few years. Mr. Sohrabi said that Doha th­ese days is con­sid­ered as sup­porter of the ter­ror­ist groups by the United States and Saudi Ara­bia but we need to re­mem­ber that it was Doha that co­op­er­ated with Iran in the “33-day war” in Le­banon and they helped the Le­banese to re-build the south of Le­banon with more than 500 mil­lion dol­lars. He as an ob­server of the “33-day war” in Le­banon di­rects us to the ma­jor im­pact that Qatar had had in those days.

Re­gard­ing ter­ror­ist at­tacks all around the globe and the ques­tion of the way ahead about th­ese groups, Mr. Sohrabi made a thought­ful point; he stated that with the rel­a­tive suc­cess of the Iraqi and Syr­ian gov­ern­ment in fight­ing with ter­ror­ist groups it is not out of mind that the United States and Saudi Ara­bia are try­ing to put the blame on Qatar in this way. When Don­ald Trump said “Qatar must stop fund­ing ter­ror­ism” it was a real shock to many. Does U.S. president for­got that the es­tab­lish­ment of the Al-Qaeda and all th­ese ter­ror­ist groups has rooted in the Saudi Ara­bia? ISI in Pak­istan is founded by Saudi Ara­bia and un­for­tu­nately some­times Qatar was among the fund-raising coun­tries too. BBC once re­ported that “since 9/11, the United States-led global ef­fort to disrupt ter­ror­ist fi­nanc­ing has been re­lent­less”! If it is so, what was the $110 Bil­lion weapons that were sold to Saudi Ara­bia by the United State? Do they for­get that in 9/11 ter­ror­ist at­tacks there were eleven Saudi at­tack­ers among the ter­ror­ists? BBC re­ported that Saudi Ara­bia’s For­eign Min­is­ter, Adel al-Jubeir, told BBC that a list of “griev­ances” would be pre­sented to Qatar, ad­dress­ing its

Does U.S. president for­get that the es­tab­lish­ment of the Al-Qaeda and all th­ese ter­ror­ist groups has rooted in the Saudi Ara­bia?

al­leged sup­port for ter­ror­ism and ex­trem­ist groups desta­bil­is­ing the re­gion! The ques­tion is that be­fore a few days of cut­ting the diplo­matic re­la­tions, all th­ese coun­tries had a very sim­i­lar stance to­ward re­gional is­sues; what hap­pened that now they are all stand­ing against Qatar! There are many vague ideas, but who has the crys­tal-clear an­swer we don’t re­ally know.

After all, both Mr. Sohrabi who was serv­ing in Iran’s em­bassy in Saudi Ara­bia prior to his mis­sion as am­bas­sadors in Qatar and Mr. Emamzadeh who was com­mis­sioned in Syria be­fore be­ing cul­tural con­sul­ter in Qatar, in­sist on the im­por­tance of sta­bil­ity in the re­gion. They both said we are look­ing for­ward for an as­sem­bling of the Arab coun­tries to solve the prob­lem, the tension in the re­gion must be solved with ne­go­ti­a­tion. On June, the 10th CNN re­ported that President Trump has said he helped those coun­tries make the de­ci­sion to break off re­la­tions with Qatar dur­ing his trip to Saudi Ara­bia last month. The U.S. can­not solve the Mid­dle East prob­lems, as his­tory has proved.

Mr. Emamzadeh pointed out that in his meet­ing with “Jaber al-Harmi” the then ed­i­tor of Al-Sharq news­pa­per (one of the most sig­nif­i­cant Qatari news­pa­pers), Jaber al-Harmi told him that, “my gen­er­a­tion and our fathers only know Shi­raz (Ira­nian close city to Doha) for their shop­ping, health care and en­ter­tain­ment!” Mr. Emamzadeh said that elderly Qataris con­sid­ered them­selves in­debted to Iran. The for­mer Emir of Qatar said that “I can re­mem­ber those days that we were wait­ing for a ferry to come from Bushehr to bring us food and wa­ter! And we won’t for­get Ira­nian kind­ness ever”. Mr. Emamzadeh told me that Iran-Qatar re­la­tion is based on cul­tural re­la­tions, Qatari peo­ple were al­ways in­ter­ested in Ira­nian cul­ture. He di­rected us to Ira­nian at­ti­tudes to­ward oth­ers, al­though Qatar is among the coun­tries which sup­port Saudi Ara­bia and co­op­er­ate in fight­ing with the Syr­ian gov­ern­ment and this is not in line with Iran’s pol­i­tics, now that a neigh­bour coun­try is fac­ing prob­lem in pro­vid­ing its cit­i­zen with food in the Holy month of Ra­madan, Ira­ni­ans are sup­port­ing the Qatari ci­ti­zens.

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