Qatar's tryst with terror will consume it
Now it finds itself in a quandary, and is left with few friends.
Ambition has driven Qatar's foreign policy. Overarching ambition. Vaulting ambition that sees no difference between friend and foe, partner or parasitical terror groups that have become a part of society and lived off its largesse. They were housed, nurtured and funded, while Doha insisted it remained a staunch US ally and loyal GCC member. Qatar's enigmatic rise since the 90s was the stuff of dreams - a small country punching above its weight geopolitically. It wanted to be feted, and lauded as a global player. Now it finds itself in a quandary, and is left with few friends, as it attempts to reach out to an unreliable partner across the Gulf. The choice should have been an easy one for Qatar, but it has preferred not to heed the voice of reason. The demands from its GCC partners are simple and direct: end support to terror groups like Hamas; stop cosying up to Iran; throw out Muslim Brotherhood leaders; and cut off funds to myriad extremist groups in Syria, Iraq and Egypt. The response from Qatar has not been encouraging to say the least, which prompted the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Yemen to sever links. The decision has not been easy, but had to be taken in the larger interest of regional security.
Through this turmoil, Qatar continues to be a sympathiser of extremist groups and movements; a soft power, which flexes its economic and diplomatic muscle against its larger, more powerful neighbour Saudi Arabia. Doha believes it is a counter-balance to Riyadh, and is keen on new regional order with it at the helm. It has shunned the role of a partner and prefers to be a power player who can make or break alliances. Doha's double-speak and conflicting actions landed it in hot water in 2014 with Gulf countries cutting off diplomatic ties with it. Three years later, nothing's changed in Doha's foreign policy. Mere lip service to the GCC cause will not mend fences with Gulf partners. Patience has dried up. Qatar must come clean. Doha cannot afford to support Hezbollah, Taleban, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Terror from its backyard will spread and return to consume it.