Qatar spurns chance to mend Gulf ties
It’s a pity that Tamim stubbornly refused to address the concerns of the anti-terror quartet
very Sunday evening, the CBS news programme
offers a unique take on current affairs with relevant people. It’s a pity it wasted airtime broadcasting an interview with Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the emir of Qatar, who wasted an opportunity to address the concerns of the quartet of anti-terror nations who are trying to stop his government from aiding and abetting those who fund, support and spread terrorism and extremism. Since early June, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt have frozen diplomatic ties, isolated Qatar financially and shut their respective air and sea corridors to aircraft and vessels registered in Qatar. The quartet have issued 13 demands to ensure Qatar lives up to its international obligations and commitments in fighting terrorism and those who spread extremism across the Gulf and the wider region.
Shaikh Tamim’s interview was simply self-serving and he missed a timely and important opportunity to extend an olive branch to the quartet. In the past, Shaikh Tamim and his cohorts have failed to address the 13 demands and, since June, have passed on every reasonable opportunity to address the real issue — ending the threat of terror, rooting out extremism, ending the support of those who help propagate extremist views, and stopping the invasive cancer of sedition.
Since June, Shaikh Tamim oversees a nation that is facing a liquidity shortfall, increasing food shortages, an erosion in international relations with a broad coalition of nations who genuinely act against extremists and terrorism, and a sharp decline in its gross domestic product. With Qatar now isolated to the point that it has cosied up even closer to Tehran, the quartet are focusing on the real issues at hand — rooting out terrorism and extremists — and until Doha is genuinely interested in addressing the 13 demands, that’s just fine. If and when Shaikh Tamim is ready to address the issues — and he showed on 60 Minutes he’s not — the quartet are there to talk. But the 13 demands are non-negotiable and indivisible.
Qatar’s ruler has made it clear all of the demands are redline issues for him, from refusing to deal with the vitriol and seditious propaganda aired on Al Jazeera, to failing to acknowledge the dangers posed by Iran’s meddling from Yemen to Lebanon, Iran and Syria and its destabilisation in the Gulf. His actions and lack of words have cast a long shadow over the GCC and the upcoming summit in Kuwait — and more the pity.