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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

Qatar’s wrong-headed behaviour is depressingly predictable

Doha would prefer to divert the course of the discussion rather than change its ways

The clock is ticking and the deadline draws near for Qatar's compliance with a list of 13 demands  / KUNA
The clock is ticking and the deadline draws near for Qatar's compliance with a list of 13 demands / KUNA

Finally, Doha has been honest about its intentions and has stopped prevaricating and pretending. At last, the world can see that Qatar is uninterested in the welfare of the region, preferring instead to pursue a dangerous path, believing that cosying up with Tehran and terror groups will offer hopes for its future.

Few who have followed the current crisis closely will be remotely surprised by last night’s developments. The clock was ticking and time was running out for Qatar to comply with a list of Gulf demands – which included reducing ties with Iran, shuttering the Al Jazeera network and cutting links with extremists – when foreign minister Mohammed Al Thani said that Doha would reject the request. He claimed that the ultimatum was an attack on his country’s sovereignty, ignoring the region’s concerns – once expressed quietly, now delivered more forcefully – that Qatar’s funding of terror groups has to end.

The challenge for Qatar is to become a functional part of the region, but we now know that Doha has no intention of following a sensible path. We know now that Doha prefers to smokescreen and disrupt the course of the argument rather than listen to the genuine concerns of Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and others.

A conclusion to the crisis will not be found in their foreign minister’s comments. It can only arrive when Doha mends its ways and seeks to answer the Gulf’s concerns. We doubt that day will come soon, even though Qatar must be aware that its actions will deliver profound consequences.