Qatar should strive to regain trust of other Gulf countries

Qatar should strive to regain trust of other Gulf countries
A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on December 5, 2016 shows Saudi King Salman (L) waving next to the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani during a ceremony in Doha

It is strange that a brotherly country is directing its media against the GCC



by

Mustafa Al Zarooni

Published: Thu 1 Jun 2017, 8:12 AM

Last updated: Thu 1 Jun 2017, 10:16 AM

The claims by Qatar officials that the web-site of Qatar News Agency (QNA) was hacked and that the recent statements of the Amir of Qatar His Highness Shaikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, have not gone down well with the rest of the GCC. Media persons in the GCC do not believe the hacking theory for they know how the media works in the region, especially government-supported news agencies.
Qatar is part of the six-member Arab Gulf Coop-eration Council (GCC) along with the UAE, Bah-rain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman. But it's time it opened its doors of trust and stopped conspiring against the bloc. The GCC has been working tire-lessly to put an end to militancy in the region. The destructive frenzy of the militants has been putting pressure on the member states to combat its spread, along with Iranian expansion. It's high time Qatar became transparent in its dealings and come clean on its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran.
It is no secret that Qatar has fostered the Muslim Brotherhood which is labelled as a terror outfit by its allies and neighbours, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The pro-brotherhood campaigns by Qatar as well as its financial support to the group have been substantiated by reports. Hence the statement by Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrah-man Al Thani after the hacking incident that there is a media campaign targeting Qatar came as a sur-prise, especially after Doha's continuous support to the Brotherhood, and allowing an office of the Tale-ban to function there for several years.
Doha also extends unwavering support to the Hamas movement which it regards as the legitimate representative of the Palestinians. The hacked re-port even mentioned the interview conducted by Ahmed Mansour, a television host at Al Jazeera tele-vision, with the leader of Al Nusra terror group, Abu Mohammed Al Jolani. Other instances were the bags with banknotes allegedly left at Syrian and Iraqi air-ports for agents to pick up later and channelled to support terror groups in the two countries.
Arab and GCC media is also well aware of the deep-rooted relationship between Iran and Qatar. They know that Qatar turns to Iran when any situ-ation arises with other GCC countries. Even with continuous threats emanating from Iran against GCC nations, Sheikh Tamim, spoke to Iran's Presi-dent Hassan Rouhani and assured him that his country (Qatar) sees no obstacles in boosting bilat-eral relations with Iran and that he would direct all bodies concerned in his country to enhance the re-lations between the two countries. This takes us back to a visit paid by Iran's Foreign Minister Mo-hammad Zarif to Qatar in early March, following Rouhani's visit to Kuwait and Oman.
Shaikh Tamim also spoke at the UN and said that bilateral relations between Qatar and Iran are devel-oping on the basis of "shared interests and good neighbourliness". He said there was no issue or dis-pute that could affect ties between the two coun-tries.
Qatar was a partner when the GCC took a unified stand in 2015 against Iran's interventions in the domestic affairs of neighbouring countries. But later, Doha signed a military and security pact with Iran. Qatar also backed Iran's nuclear programmes and signed a military agreement with Teheran in 2010. Going back, in 2007, Doha took everyone by surprise when it invited Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the then president of Iran, to attend the GCC sum-mit as a guest of honour
Qatar's relationship with the Hezbollah which began during the 2006 war still continues. The cri-sis in Syria has only strained ties further after Doha encouraged extremist groups against the Syrian regime. But there is no doubt that communication with the Hezbollah is still on, which is clear from the freeing of prisoners and the release of certain Syrian dossiers.
Qatar also unabashedly supported certain extremist entities which tried to manipulate Bahrain's security. This was evident from the reporting by Al Jazeera.
It is a known that Qatar has established good military and economic ties with Israel. Several long meetings were held. Qatar also handed over two official requests to Israel in 2010 asking the latter to reestablish trade relations by exporting construc-tion materials to the Gaza strip.
Qatar has also instituted a media empire mostly based in London which serves as the prime support-er of the Muslim Brotherhood. Articles emanating from this media are against the unity of the GCC. It was also very critical about the Riyadh summits with US President Donald Trump. It is strange that a brotherly country which is part of the GCC, directed its media against the bloc. However, this media em-pire disappeared from over a third of the Arab world 48 hours after the Qatari media was blocked in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain.
Qatar will always remain a part and parcel of the Gulf, but it should regain the of other GCC states. Doha should understand that the future of the Gulf is together, and one member of the GCC cannot distance itself from the other. 
malzarooni@khaleejtimes.com


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