Coming on the heels of three powerful Middle East oil nations pulling their ambassadors from Qatar, as reported yesterday in ValueWalk, a new report says the Doha government “will not bow to demands from three Gulf states to alter its foreign policy,” setting up a potential confrontation.
Defiant: “Qatar will not let go of its foreign policy”
A Qatari government source quoted in a Reuters report said “Qatar will not let go of its foreign policy, no matter what the pressures are. This is a matter of principles which we will stick to, no matter the price. Since the day Qatar was founded we decided to take this approach of always welcoming anyone who seeks refuge in our country, and no amount of pressure will make us kick these people out.”
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The source in the Reuters report also indicated Qatar would not stop its practice of playing host to members of the Muslim Brotherhood, including Youssef al-Qaradawi, an influential Sunni cleric and a vocal critic of authorities in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
“It’s the right of every sovereign state to have its own foreign policy,” a Qatari Foreign Ministry source was quoted as saying in the report, indicating that Qatar had no differences with fellow Gulf Arab states on Gulf matters, a direct contradiction of the three Middle East nations who pulled their ambassadors from Qatar.
Previous plans to rein in rogue royal leader of Qatar
As reported Wednesday in ValueWalk, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors Wednesday from Qatar in response to Doha’s support for the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and to a lesser extent displeasure with Qatar’s Al Jezeera television network.
As previously reported in ValueWalk, Saudi Arabia was said to be considering closing the border with Qatar, but the softer withdrawal of ambassadors appears to have replaced this plan.
GCC powerful group of key US allies
The GCC is a group of six of the richest and most influential Islamic nations in the Middle East formed to buttress Iran and other destabilizing forces in the region. The group has typically been supportive of US goals and the GCC is notable for their behind closed door agreement to mandate that the US dollar is used in all trades for oil, known as the “petrodollar trade,” which is key to the US remaining the dominant world reserve currency of choice.
Thirty four year old leader wants to blaze his own path
Members of the GCC are said to be upset not only with the issue of tangible financial and logistical support Doha provides the Muslim Brotherhood, but also the platform Al Jazeera, supported by the government of Qatar, gives the radical preacher. For their part Al Jezeera was quoted in the report as saying they are an independent news service that provides a voice to everyone in the region. Qatar’s new emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, has blazed an independent path since taking over from his father last year, and GCC member actions are seen as an attempt to encourage the young thirty four year old royal to fall in line with its plans in the region.
If the issue is not resolved, watch for the GCC to ratchet up its isolation of Qatar, including Saudi Arabia closing its borders, a key issue that would then isolate the small nation.