GCC is right, Qatar cannot be trusted
Yet, Qatar continues to function normally and such revelations do not appear to have affected it much.
Qatar's hypocrisy has been exposed time and again. Just last month, foreign media published the conversation of a Qatari ambassador in which he admitted his country's support to terrorists in Somalia. Then we have seen documents published by several media proving Doha's involvement in violating FIFA rules. Qatar's corrupted money has found its way in French sports, and the country has been exposed. And now, The Times has revealed that Doha was financing extremism through a British bank. The report was published on Tuesday.
Yet, Qatar continues to function normally and such revelations do not appear to have affected it much. But imagine other countries doing so. Every month a new scandal emerges - support for terrorism, attempts to buy everything with dirty money. Besides, the regime is forbidding its citizens to perform the holy Hajj for the third consecutive year.
All this is happening while the state is isolated and boycotted by its neighbours. Now think of a scenario had the neighbours not boycotted it and maintained relations with this deceitful state, as Gulf countries had done for more than two decades?
When Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain announced their decision to boycott Qatar in June 2017, questions were raised on what is the need. There were sympathizers, and others who did not understand the reasoning behind the move. No one expected Gulf countries to burn ties with a brotherly country. It wasn't seen as a solution; intra-Gulf relations had not seen this type of complete boycott before.
However, following the first few months of the boycott, all four countries reviewed their positions, and admitted - even to themselves - that this decision was not only right, but belated.
Today, more than two years after the boycott, I don't think anything has changed. There is consensus among the four gulf countries that they do not want Qatar to return to the group, even with a thousand conditions.
The danger of any rapprochement with it is much higher than boycotting it. Isolating it shields the Gulf nations from harm.
These governments today have the support of their wise citizens as well. They understand, there are no half-way solutions to this issue and boycotting and isolating Qatar is the best bet.
The Times said that Qatar should choose whether it wants to be the West's ally or foe, and if it chooses the latter, it should be isolated. The realisation has dawned a bit late, while Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, and Bahrain sensed the danger from Qatar before everyone else.
In the end, diplomacy suggests patience. However, overtime leaders can sift good from bad, and this changes the course of relations, like it has happened with Qatar.
Certainly, isolation may not be as open and public as in this case. However, there is conviction that Qatar still poses threats to all those who engage with it.
There is a growing conviction that the boycott has been the best resolution taken in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), since the late King Fahd's 1990 decision to liberate Kuwait. The decision has kept the four countries out of the harm's way. So the longer the boycott, the greater the benefits. The isolation of Qatar carries real and tremendous benefits, and the best is yet to come.
Salman Al Dossary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper