Qatar crisis and the invasion of Kuwait
By : Abdulrahman al-Rashed
:: Supporters of Doha’s government are trying to unjustly recall the invasion of Kuwait and falsely project it on Qatar’s current crisis. They have promoted the idea that Qatar is currently in danger like Kuwait once was and that Saudi Arabia and its allies resemble Iraq under the rule of Saddam Hussein!
Apart from the fact that this is false, we must note that Qatar was the only Gulf state that tried to obstruct the liberation of Kuwait by preventing a Gulf Cooperation Council decision to adopt the military war to liberate Kuwait during a meeting in December 1990. Then Crown Prince Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa insisted that he will not discuss the liberation of Kuwait unless and until Bahrain is forced to give up the disputed islands with Qatar. This angered the five member-states and they forced the crown prince to either back down on his demand or leave Doha. It was a shameful and strange stance to take at a time when Saddam Hussein’s forces were in the Dasman Palace in Kuwait and more than 1.5 million Kuwaitis and residents were displaced.
The only stance which wasn’t as strange as Doha’s was that of the Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar’s ally today. The Brotherhood also spoke out against the liberation of Kuwait and the organization in Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia and other countries clearly expressed that.
Back then, they justified Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait by saying they are against a military solution and against summoning foreign forces! Truth is they aspired to cooperate with Saddam’s government so that they substitute Al-Sabah family and rule Kuwait.
Undervaluing the role of the GCC
For the anniversary of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, Qatar’s propaganda and Kuwaiti media outlets affiliated with Doha have marketed two aspects: undervaluing the role of the GCC, including that of Saudi Arabia’s, in the crisis and attempting to make the Qatari crisis resemble the invasion of Kuwait.
The truth, however, is the complete opposite of that. When it comes to the current crisis, the hostile country is Qatar and the victim would be the four countries, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt. The entire picture is strange considering that Qatar’s area is small.
The four countries have been patient for years with Qatar’s policy and dangerous practices against them.
However, they were not patient because they were weak but because Qatar is a small country and they were hoping the Qatari command will eventually come to its senses.
As we mark the anniversary of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, we must realize this harsh and precious lesson that we must be more concerned over respecting relations and pledges and must support each other’s stability. Gulf countries should reject Qatar’s practices more than others and they should support the demands of the four countries as the latter did not ask to alter governance there but simply requested Doha’s government to stop threatening their security and existence.
You may ask what Qatar’s crime is to say it resembles Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Doha’s authorities have for years relentlessly worked to destabilize and topple the regimes of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE – I have arranged the latter countries according to the harm done to them.
Qatar is funding the opposition against Saudi Arabia in London, Turkey and Qatar itself – an opposition that calls for toppling the Saudi rule. Qatar was a partner in conspiring to assassinate King Abdullah and it admitted that it conspired with Muammar Qaddafi to topple the regime in Riyadh.
When it admits to something, it provides a worse excuse and pledges to quit adopting these policies; however, it goes back to acting the same way!
Two months ago, it marketed for a revolution in Saudi Arabia under the name “the activity of the 7th of Ramadan” and it paid hundreds of people there and directly transferred money to their accounts to serve its purpose.
Meanwhile, what Doha does in Bahrain and Egypt is well-known and it can be clearly seen through Qatar’s official television channels as it supports the Bahraini extremist Shiite opposition to topple Al-Khalifa’s rule and openly supports and funds the Brotherhood to topple Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi’s government by force.
Qatar is the only country that sponsors and funds Emirati opposition figures in foreign countries.
And as these countries have put it, they have been patient for a long time and now it’s time to stop Qatar.
The brothers in Kuwait must remember that these four countries have come to aid them when Saddam toppled their regime.
Loyalty means Kuwait must stand by these four countries or at least not allow Qatar to exploit its arena on the political, economic and media fronts.
What’s the difference between what Saddam did when he toppled governance in Kuwait and what Qatar’s government is currently doing?
Truth is, Qatar is worse because it’s hiding behind slogans and excuses like democracy and Islam when it has nothing to do with either!
As we mark the anniversary of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, we must realize this harsh and precious lesson that we must be more concerned over respecting relations and pledges and must support each other’s stability.
Gulf countries should reject Qatar’s practices more than others and they should support the demands of the four countries as the latter did not ask to alter governance there but simply requested Doha’s government to stop threatening their security and existence.
If Kuwait, and similar countries, take a fair stand, it may help Doha come to its senses and thus save it from itself and save the entire region from this Qaddafi-like mentality which manages its policy.
My article tomorrow is about stories on confronting Saddam’s invasion.
:: Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed.
:: Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in the Column section are their own and do not reflect RiyadhVision’s point-of-view.