Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Will the world let Qatar be bullied?


           A few days ago, Tanzania had some explanations to make vis-à-vis ties with North Korea.  I think; this is because our country is not an island when it comes to how it functions in the international community. This has forced me to look at another conflict in the Middle East between Qatar and the Quartet of Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  For some past months, a wealthy country of Qatar has been involved in the tussle with its gulf neighbours. Due to this conflict, the quartet severed diplomatic ties with Qatar after accusing it of supporting terrorist groups the allegations Qatar sturdily denies.
          Essentially, the ongoing Qatar-Gulf- Arab-nations conflict is not a good thing for both Qatar and its neighbouring adversaries. So, too, this conflict is likely to negatively impact on other countries in the region and in the world in general. After this conflict simmered; and came to the surface, the quartet issued some conditions to Qatar among which were the closure of an international media outlet, Al Jazeera; suspension of relationship between Qatar and some countries aggrieved countries view as the enemies of the region; and making sure that Qatar is audited by these countries vis-à-vis its compliance with their demands. Those who know and appreciate the freedom of press and the great role the Al Jazeera has played in the modern world in information dissemination, will never understand the rationale of closing it down.
            First of all, the Al Jazeera has not only open Qatar for the world but also the entire region; which is good for all countries in the region.
            Secondly, the Al Jazeera is an independent media group that is supposed to be left alone to do its business peacefully and professionally as it has been doing since its inception.
            And thirdly, there is no way foreign powers can dictate Qatar’s political life so as to choose friends for it not to mention deciding what is wrong or not for it. This is colonialism; even if it committed by neighbouring countries. Qatar is a sovereign country whose sovereignty is sacrosanct under the international laws.
            Luckily however, Qatar decided to stand its ground and resist this bullying behaviour its neighbours are exhibiting. For, many of the conditions set do completely violate the sacrosanctity of Qatar’s sovereignty.
            Apart from severing diplomatic ties with Qatar, the quartet also decided to close their borders, waters and skies for Qatar which is strange and unfeasible in dealing with the conflict positively. As the conflict drags on, it will play in the hands of the enemies of the region. What is obvious is the fact that regional, international competitors and enemies will like to take advantage of the existing impasse.
Fundamentally, there is no winner in this conflict except the enemies of the countries involved in this imbroglio. If there are winners in this conflict are none other than Iran and Turkey whose leverage in Qatar is likely to grow and glow provided that they will stand by their friend, Qatar at the hour of need; which is natural. Geostrategically, these gulf nations need to think out of the box as far as the conflict is concerned.  
The nature of regional realpolitik shows that Qatar will win big provided that many countries will sympathise with it due to the size and nature of demands its adversaries want it to succumb to or comply with. In June, the quartet offered Qatar a period of ten day to meet their demands. Since then, Qatar has never bowed; and it still soldiers on three month down the line. If all parties stand their ground to see to it that their demands are met by either of the side, chances of losing it are high. Qatar will never sacrifice its sovereignty as any country could do. Arguably, the quartet has to tone down their pressure; and abandon some of its demands shall it want to resolve this conflict constructively and positively. There is no reason for neighbours to shun each other and expect to do well in all aspects of their lives.
In a nutshell, parties to this conflict need to understand that the world does not look at; and into the conflict they are into with the same lens and intentions. The US provides a very good example; it refused to side with any of the parties to conflict. This means; the US as well as the international community see some elements of bullying in the conflict. Therefore, my advice to the parties to this conflict is: Sit on a roundtable and iron out your differences; otherwise, the world will never side with any bully in this conflict at hand.
Source: Citizen Wed., today.

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