Qatar must act against terror, it can then sit down for talks

Curtailing Qatari importance is significant to reduce problems, contain extremist religious groups and isolate Iran

By Abdulrahman Al Rashed

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Published: Wed 20 Sep 2017, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Thu 21 Sep 2017, 1:09 AM

The action taken by four Arab countries to end the Qatari status quo will succeed no matter how much Doha's government resists and puts up a brave front. This week's political meetings in New York will shed light on the crisis and its progress. If Qatar accepts the ultimatum of the Arab countries, it will finally be relieved. If it is seeking to accept some conditions and disregard some others, the crisis will continue for years.
The world will be better off following the confrontation with Qatar because terrorism is in the limelight, and it needs to be rooted out. It is a small country with superfluous money and a great appetite for sowing chaos in the region and beyond; it has already caused many calamities. The Middle East got rid of almost all regimes financing and sowing chaos, except two - Qatar and Iran. By ending the Qatari role, problems will decline, extremist religious groups will be curtailed, and Iran will remain alone.
For two decades, Qatar has been responsible for chaos, extremism and a share of terrorism. No one addressed the Qatari threat in the beginning because they all underestimated its impact and influence. When the Qatari threat grew bigger and the number of crises supported by Qatar increased, Doha started to hide behind alliances. However, the joint efforts of four active Arab countries to face Qatar changed the rules of the game and besieged Qatar.
Qatar, without being supervised, becomes a dangerous country that has excess gas and oil revenues from which it can finance extremist organisations all over the world and seek to overthrow regimes it opposes. This made Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain determined to put an end to Qatari actions and policies. Most of the countries that have to choose between the four countries and Qatar will choose the anti-terror quartet because of their influence, importance and interests.
Before the meetings that take place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this month, Qatar sought to persuade major countries to be on its side against the quartet, but it failed. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has advised the Emir of Qatar to negotiate privately with the quartet, which means he will have to back down.
This week is crucial for the Qataris as they are trying to convince the US to mediate again and arrange a suitable political deal with the Quartet. Qatar's leadership may not succeed because of what it did when US President Donald Trump intervened, after the invitation of Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah. Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani thwarted the attempt from the first hour of the announcement of the mediation.
But why does Qatar seek mediation and then sabotage it? The answer is that Qatar is ruled by two people. Sheikh Tamim is the one working on a solution, but he does not control the executive powers. His father, the former emir, Sheikh Hamad, and his former foreign minister are both controlling the operative state institutions.
If all solutions fail in the next two weeks, the crisis could last for a year or maybe two. The train could easily go beyond small stations, for, as Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir said, the quartet has nothing to lose in its boycott. Qatar will suffer from this intransigence despite the fact that the port and airport are open. The rulers know they cannot hold out for long.
The enormous pressure on Qatar is not limited to its land border with Saudi Arabia, extending over 60km, but it goes way beyond to reach international and regional institutions. Qataris and foreigners will sooner or later realise that the crisis will eventually carry on and weaken the state, if it is not resolved soon. 
Abdulrahman Al Rashed is a former general manager of Al Arabiya news channel, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al Awsat

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