Siege helps Qatar gain real political independence

 15 Aug 2017 - 2:22

Siege helps Qatar gain real political independence
Experts speaking at a symposium organised last week by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, in Doha.

By Mohammed Osman / The Peninsula

Qatari economy was able to face the current blockade due to two sources of power; the natural resources and the wise economic policies of the country, said an expert on monetary policy and political economy.

These two sources have contributed to achieve development and encouraged investment in infrastructure, promotion of investment policies and a shift towards economic diversification, said Dr Khalid Al Khater, an expert on monetary policy and political economy.

Al Khater was speaking at a symposium organised last week by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies.

Al Khater stressed that the financial and banking sector in Qatar are immune because of the policies adopted by the Central Bank even before the beginning of the crisis. QCB’s policies have limited the exposure and impact of the blockade on the financial and banking sectors of Qatar through pumping money and deposits, he observed.

Moreover, Al Khater said that the Qatari currency was subjected to speculative attempts during the crisis but proved to be a strong currency, which is considered the most stable in the region for decades, thanks to the financial reserves and sovereign state fund.

The symposium hosted a group of Qatari researchers and specialists including Al Khater, Mohammed Al Khulaifi, Dean of the Faculty of Law, Qatar University (QU), Majid Al Ansari Professor of Political Sociology at QU, to discuss the economic, legal and political implications of the Gulf crisis that erupted on June 5, 2017.

Al Khater stressed that the Saudi-led bloc will lose credibility in the long run because of the destruction of the business environment and projects of economic integration, and this rift will affect their economic growth. There are many lessons learned from this crisis on top of that Qatar needs to work on new economic policies that ensure that the Qatari economy will not return to situation before the current crisis, which were putting the country under the mercy of volatility of the policies of the neighbouring countries and the fluctuations in oil prices.

This requires redrawing policies to stimulate economic diversification in various fields to achieve security, sustainable development, social and economic well-being through four pillars: self-reliance, reducing dependence on neighbouring countries and diversifying import agents and encouraging industry.
The second paper was presented by Mohammed Al Khulaifi who focused on the legal aspects of the crisis. Al Khulaifi said that international law is the main reference to international relations as well as human rights laws, since every individual is part of the international community.

Al Khulaifi said that siege countries have violated principles and provisions of international laws as threatening another country to use force is violence against a state according to the international relations. As well economic and political boycotts and imposing siege on a state is a kind of revenge and reprisal, Al Khulaifi added.

The internal affairs of the State is a sovereign issue and every State is free to form its policies without a mandate or guardianship of any other State.
Al Khulaifi said that siege countries did not go to the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes and violated international law in this regard, and this indicates an intention to harm the State of Qatar.

Al Khulaifi stressed that the countries of the blockade violated the principles of human rights and violated international conventions signed by these countries, including the regulation of air traffic.

For his part Dr Majid Al Ansari said that before the eruption of the crisis there were a set of things which we used to believe in and now we have become unrealistic. Differences between these countries is old because the Arab revolutions have unveiled countries that support change and people’s choices and another countries which stood against the choice of peoples and their rights to democracy and freedom. He believes that the Qatari position has been steadfast in supporting change in the Arab countries and standing by the peoples during the Arab Spring revolution.

Al Ansari highlighted that the conflicts inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the game of chairs has played a role in the steps taken against Qatar. He added that the Riyadh conference and the arrival of President Donald Trump in Saudi Arabia provided the siege countries with an opportunity to convince him to take a stand against the State of Qatar. Ansari believes that these countries are trying to convince the US administration to stand against changes in the region.

He noted that the crisis will move Qatar to real political independence and rely on diversification of bilateral relations and out of the principle of political courtesy, which was adopted before the crisis. At the end of the seminar, a discussion was held on a range of issues such as the future of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the foreign policies of Qatar and the role of Iran during the crisis and the position of international organizations and the economic implications of the crisis on the Gulf States.

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