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The Assault on Qatar Was Another Big Saudi Failure

December 19, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

DOHA, QATAR – The small Persian Gulf kingdom of Qatar put itself on display last weekend with its annual Doha Forum. The event’s broad theme was governance in a changing world.


However valuable the conference discussion, another important purpose of the gathering was to showcase the land of just 2.8 million, of whom little more than 300,000 are citizens. I was hosted by the government and treated well, if not quite like visiting royalty.

The emirate has spent more than two years under diplomatic, economic, and cultural assault by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. However, Qatar has survived and even prospered. Today it looks and feels normal. Even those without oil wealth feel secure. A driver, a Syrian refugee, told me that he and his family were no longer suffering from any impact of the blockade.



In June 2017, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, along with their financial and military dependents, most notably Bahrain, Egypt, and Jordan, broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar, expelled Qatari citizens, banned all commerce and travel, denied access to airspace and territorial waters, and punished their own citizens who sympathized with Doha. In what has been called the Second Arab Cold War (in 2014, the Saudis and Emiratis briefly cut diplomatic ties), the coalition issued a baker’s dozen demands. Their acceptance would have turned Qatar into a puppet state, effectively governed by the Saudis and Emiratis.

Riyadh and Abu Dhabi hypocritically accused Qatar of funding terrorists, a practice they, as well as other Gulf States, had long tolerated, to Washington’s frustration. The more serious complaint appeared to be over Doha’s relative foreign policy contrariness, refusing to follow Saudi Arabia’s lead and backing different radical Islamist factions in regional political and military struggles. (For instance, Saudi Arabia’s taste runs to fundamentalist Wahhabists, who preach hatred against everyone other than extremist Sunnis, while Qatar prefers the Muslim Brotherhood, which promotes political activism.)

Doha also maintains civil relations with Iran, with which …read more

Source: OP-EDS