MNA | Zahra Emamzadeh: What did happen in the politics that in less than a day many Arab countries in a region including Saudi, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, who were once close allies to Qatar, cut their diplomatic ties and closed their air, land and sea to a country?
I have been to Qatar three times; not for a trip as I was visiting my parents in their home, so I can say that I lived in Qatar for more than three months. Qatar is a very small but rich country in west of Asia with only elven thousand kilometres area and almost fifty years of history. The Guardian has reported the Qatar as the richest country in the world in terms of GDP per capita. Qatari people are one of the richest people I have ever seen. I have heard some of the people refer to Qatar as a small scale of New York city in terms of the engineering and the structure;, the tall buildings across the Persian -Gulf are one of the tourist attractions at nights. This small country with short history today has one of the biggest airlines in the world with almost 160 airplanes and 150 international destinations. Qatar is the second richest country in region.
What did happen in the politics that in less than a day many Arab countries in a region including Saudi, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, who were once close allies to Qatar, cut their diplomatic ties and closed their air, land and sea to a country? Today, after three weeks in to the worst Qatar crisis, we still we don’t know the exact reason of the all the unprecedented diplomatic and economic sanctions that were imposed on Qatar.
I have informally talked to Mr. Sohrabi, a former Iranian ambassador and Mr. Emamzadeh, a former Iranian cultural consulter in Qatar about the new situation these days, the points and arguments are mentioned below.
According to Mr. Sohrabi this was at least the third time that Saudi Arabia and Qatar got in conflict and tension with one another, but why this time it seems different? He believes that is the effect of Donald Trump trip to Saudi Arabia. Mr. Sohrabi deeply believes that U.S. president’s first trip to Saudi Arabia had two major reasons; one, to 1) ensure Israel security and full support, and two, 2) Donald Trump really wanted Palestine not to be the major concern in the region so by his indirect policy he took eyes off on from the Palestine and directed attention to Qatar. Mr. Sohrabi wisely mentions that we also need to be aware of the 11,000 troops in U.S. military base troops in Qatar., After the explosion in Dhahran, American military were shifted toin Qatar and since from then on Qatar is one of the largest U.S. military bases in the region exists in Qatar and therefor all this hazard can’t be without any cooperation.
In regard to the political situation of the Middle East, Qatar had some vague and uncertain strategies in the last few years. Mr. Sohrabi said that Doha these days is considered as supporter of the terrorist groups by the United States and Saudi Arabia but we need to remember that it was Doha that cooperated with Iran in “the “33-day war” in Lebanon and they helped the Lebanese to re-build the south of Lebanon with more than 500 million dollars. He as an observer of “the “33-day war” in Lebanon directs us to the major impact that Qatar had had in those days.
Regarding terrorist attacks all around the globe and the question of the way ahead about these groups, Mr. Sohrabi made a thoughtful point; he stated that with the relative success of the Iraqi and Syrian government in fighting with terrorist groups it is not out of mind that the United States and Saudi Arabia are trying to put the blame on Qatar in this way. When Donald Trump said; “Qatar must stop funding terrorism” it was a real shock to many. Does U.S. president forgot that the establishment of the Al-Qaeda and all these terrorist groups has rooted in the Saudi Arabia? ISI in Pakistan is founded by Saudi Arabia and unfortunately sometimes Qatar was among the fund-raising countries too.
BBC once reported that; “since 9/11, the United States-led global effort to disrupt terrorist financing has been relentless”! If it is so, what was the $110 Billion weapons that were sold to Saudi Arabia by the United State? Do they forget that in 9/11 terrorist attacks there were eleven Saudi attackers among the terrorists? BBC reported that Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, told BBC that a list of “grievances” would be presented to Qatar, addressing its alleged support for terrorism and extremist groups destabilising the region! The question is that before a few days of cutting the diplomatic relations, all these countries had a very similar stance toward regional issues;, what happened that now they are all standing front ofagainst Qatar! There are many vague ideas, but who has the crystal-clear answer we don’t really know.
After all, both Mr. Sohrabi who was serving in Iran’s embassy in Saudi Arabia embassy prior to his mission as ambassadors in Qatar and Mr. Emamzadeh who was commissioned in Syria before being cultural consulter in Qatar, insist on the importance of stability in the region., They both said we are looking forward for an assembling of the Arab countries to solve the problem, the tension in the region must be solved with negotiation. On June, the 10th CNN reported that; The President (Trump) has said he helped those countries make the decision to break off relations with Qatar during his trip to Saudi Arabia last month. The U.S. cannot solve the Middle East problems, as history has proved.
Mr. Emamzadeh pointed out that in his meeting with “Jaber al-Harmi” the then editor of Al-Sharq newspaper (one of the most significant Qatari newspapers), Jaber al-Harmi told him that,; “my generation and our fathers only known Shiraz (Iranian close city to Doha) for their shopping, health care and entertainment!” Mr. Emamzadeh said that elderly Qataris considered themselves indebted to Iran. The former Emir of Qatar said that “I can remember those days that we were waiting for a ferry to come from Bushehr to bring us food and water! And we won’t forget Iranian kindness ever”. Mr. Emamzadeh told me that Iran-Qatar relation is based on cultural relations, Qatari people were always interested in Iranian culture. He directed us to Iranian attitudes toward others, although Qatar is among the countries which support Saudi Arabia and cooperate in fighting with the Syrian government and this is not in line with Iran’s politics, now that a neighbour country is facing problem in providing their its citizen with food in the Holly month of Ramadan-, Iranians are supporting the Qatari citizens.