Only Qatar can end the crisis it triggered
Doha must heed the calls to end its policy of financing terror
A few days from now, the regional crisis triggered by Qatar will reach the 100-day milestone. If the rupture in relations between Qatar and its neighbours was the result of the former’s policy of backing terrorists, the current stalemate is a product of Doha’s intransigence and downright mendacity. Despite being on the receiving end of Qatar’s troubling conduct, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have extended opportunity after opportunity to Qatar to resolve the crisis ever since they broke off formal ties with Doha on June 5. The quartet's desire to solve problems, driven by a genuine desire for peace and stability, has repeatedly been rebuffed by Qatar.
Rather than strive to end the impasse, Doha intensified the crisis by waging a relentless PR campaign against the quartet. But if its efforts backfired spectacularly at every turn, it is because the truth was there for the world to see—extremists from the Taliban to Hezbollah and Hamas enjoying Qatari hospitality, a thick trail of a compelling evidence connecting Doha to terror outfits in Yemen and elsewhere, and incontrovertible proof of Qatar’s clandestine intervention in the internal affairs of fellow GCC states with the explicit aim of engineering political instability. Besides, Qatar’s deepening of relations with Iran, the chief patron of terrorism in the region, exposes its protestation of innocence for the sham that it is.
On Thursday, US President Donald Trump made it clear that the only way to end this crisis is for Qatar to stop financing terror. There was a brief burst of optimism thereafter that Doha would finally come to its senses. But any hope fuelled by the phone call between Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, was immediately doused by Doha’s resumption of its pernicious habit of spreading falsehoods as soon as the call ended. The fact that Qatar deployed its media to vilify the quartet showed, yet again, that Doha has no inclination to change its behaviour.
Qatar can either be a rogue benefactor of terrorists, or it can be a responsible member of the international community. It cannot be both. It will gain nothing from prolonging this crisis. As Dr Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said on Saturday, the quartet’s determination to “protect the region from [Qatari] policies that have dragged the Gulf and Arabs into chaos and violence” will not weaken. The ball is in Qatar’s court.
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Updated: September 10, 2017 07:32 PM