Playing to the gallery

 20 Aug 2017 - 10:47

Each and every move from the hacking of QNA website back in July this year to the engineered-events behind the reopening of Saudi borders for Qatari pilgrims is preplanned and part of a greater yet visibly failed conspiracy hatched to damage, defame and isolate Qatar by Saudi-led alliance.  

All accusations, the 13-point list of demands, hostile propaganda campaigns and even frequent u-turns in political positions by Saudi-led quartet are meant to raise mist of misinformation to confuse judgment of people across the globe.

When blockading countries’ mouth organs operating from the Gulf like Al Arabiya and Sky News Abu Dhabi failed to deliver desired results they loosened the strings of their deep purses to launch smear campaigns against Qatar in the US media.

First by cutting all links with authorities concerned in Qatar; blockading sea, air and land routes; imposing restrictions on channels of logistics like accommodation; Saudi Arabia virtually barred Qatar’s pilgrims entry to the Holy Land to perform Haj and when the whole world community stood against the injustice they opened the border posing as if they were doing a great favour.

Banning Qatari pilgrims from Haj was a flagrant violation not only of human rights but Islamic injunctions also and unblocking the path to the Holy Land is the legal and moral duty of Saudi authorities hence there left no space to play to the gallery.

The reopening of Saudi borders for Qataris is being portrayed by the blockading countries’ rent-a-quotes as a great benevolent step. Public relations writers hired by the siege countries should at least spare religious matters from being politicised for short-lived vested interests and used for cheap publicity stunts.

“Despite the fact it’s been politically motivated to ban the Qatari people from Haj and politically motivated that they allow them (in)..., we welcome such a step, which is a step forward to get rid of this blockade that is imposed against my country,” said Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.

Not paying heed to the repeated calls for dialogue by the world community to iron out political differences for the greater good of the region and world, Saudi-led quartet is doing only one thing seriously and that is to run smear campaign against Qatar with laughable lies.

Without presenting even single substantive evidence to back their “Qatar supports terror” allegations in last two and a half months, they are funding propaganda attacks on Qatar in the US media.

Gary Wasserman, who spent 8 years in Doha writes in The Washington Post: “The Qatar I lived in for eight years is unrecognisable from the television ads running in Washington. In these Saudi-sponsored spots, Trump administration officials denounce Qatar’s aid to terrorists while fires burn in the background. This is a harsh and largely unfair judgment of the peaceful, globalist city-state I knew.”

“Taliban office” story which was designed grossly to prove unfounded accusations against Qatar has gone down the tube as the world knows that the office was opened to facilitate a broader US-led effort of peace talks in Afghanistan. In no way, it was an endorsement of Taliban’s ideology.

Luckily, hollowness of substance of blockading countries false allegations against Qatar has also been proved by leaked emails of UAE ambassador to US, Yousef Al Otaiba. The New York Times reported that Otaiba had received an “angry call” from UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, complaining that the Taliban had ended up in Qatar and not the UAE, according to messages in the ambassador’s Hotmail account.

“I got an angry call from (Zayed) saying how come we weren’t told,” Otaiba wrote to an American official, referring to the decision on choosing Qatar to host the Taliban. This leaked email is sufficient to expose mala fide campaign against Qatar.

The blockading countries are stuck in a quagmire they created themselves and the only honourable exit is an open admission of their diplomatic follies. The journey will start with halting poisonous media campaigns against Qatar and refraining from issuing fiery statements against Qatar’s leadership.

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs H E Sultan bin Saad Al Muraikhi has rightly stressed that there is no winner in the Gulf crisis because it is a problem affecting people, families and tribal relations, as well as international relations.

In an interview with the Bulgarian newspaper 24 hours, Al Muraikhi said the continuation of the situation will affect the entire world, not just the region. “The Gulf region is considered an energy centre; everything that happens affects everyone, and the crisis happened suddenly and no one knows when and how it will end.”

Qatar has been saying in categorical terms since the onset of crisis that it never interferes in the internal affairs of neighbouring countries and has never ever tried to destabilise them. On the other hand, leaked emails of Emirati ambassador to Washington are more than enough to prove UAE’s hidden motives regarding the region and its overambitious approach for power politics.  

The messages, obtained by Middle East Eye through the GlobalLeaks hacking group, show Otaiba mocking Saudi Arabia to his Egyptian wife, Abeer Shoukry, over the 2008 decision of Saudi religious police to ban red roses on Valentine’s Day.

In another email, Yousef Otaiba wrote that Abu Dhabi has warred for 200 years with the Saudis over Wahhabism and that the Emiratis had more “bad history” with Saudi Arabia than anyone else. He revealed that now was the time when the Emiratis could get “the most results we can ever get out of Saudi”.

It is a ripe time for Saudi Arabia to take a pause to recognise mischievous hands working behind the Gulf crisis and also differentiate between real well-wishers and enemies disguised as friends. For such ‘friends’ Voltaire said: “Defend me from my friends, I can defend myself from my enemies.”

And the “countries” which are trying to widen the rift in the region to gather the loot will continue having eggs on their faces.     

The writer is a Doha-based journalist.