Futile efforts - TAHA KILINÇ

Futile efforts

Last Wednesday in this column you had read about the diplomatic and political crisis between Qatar and its neighbors. Despite the agenda normally changing quickly in the Middle East, the Qatar-based tension is interestingly getting deeper as it continues – with outside support and by adding Turkey to the equation. 

In its second week, the crisis that broke out with an interesting statement attributed to Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad, has reached the verge of completely isolating the Doha administration. As the Saudi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egyptian media are increasingly continuing their attacks on Qatar, Israel joined the debate as well.

Yoni Ben Benachem, a name close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu, accused Qatar in an evaluation he made at the Jerusalem Institute during the week, of supporting "the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) and Hamas terrorism." Ben Menachem's most striking claim was that Qatar was creating a new "axis" in the Middle East with Iran and Turkey alongside it. In an article in one of the U.S.'s effective foreign policy magazines, Foreign Policy, written by John Hannah, Qatar is accused of undermining the steps taken by the U.S. in the Middle East, blaming the Doha administration of "being two faced." 

Remembering that one of the most impossible U.S. military bases (Al Udeid) is found in Qatar and that American war planes took off from this air base for many air raids, Hannah said, "However, despite this image of close cooperation with the U.S., it is ruining the U.S.'s image with the footage of dead bodies broadcast on Al Jazeera television immediately after. In a comment in the English-language newspaper, The International, published in UAE capital Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Turkey were portrayed as two countries that invest in the extremist Islamic movements in the Middle East. The comment bearing the Hassan signature, underlined that the main reason Qatar was isolated in the Gulf by its neighbors is "its support to extremism and spreading this through media." Although the reason behind the eruption of the crisis and the apparent reason behind it is presented like Qatar's tolerant approach toward Iran, the result is: Gulf Arabs and the countries supporting them are trying to completely end Qatar's support to "Islamist" movements, the Doha administration to give up all its regional claims and neutralize its media power. If they are able to strike a blow on Turkey's image from time to time, then perfect. This is the entire motivation for taking action in many of the region's capitals.

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With the exception of Saudi Arabia, it seems like every country in the anti-Qatar front is in a relationship with Iran. Risking clashing on the Syria issue, Egypt has already aligned itself with Iran. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's statement along the lines of, "Syria's state army should be strengthened, it should not be harmed," is still on minds. It is known that the UAE is one of the main headquarters where Iran carries out its financial operations in particular. Despite the island crisis between the two countries (there are sovereignty and border debates happening on three islands in the Gulf), neither the Emirates nor Iran are able to give up on one another. Oman always stood close to Iran from the very start, it never lost contact – Quwait, likewise.

Looking at it from this aspect, another reality indicated by the newly formed balance in the Gulf is that Saudi Arabia is no longer perceived as the "dominant power" of the Arab world. The Arabs, choosing to perfunctorily please Riyadh, are following their own agenda on many regional and international issues. Having found a common denominator in the Qatar issue also shows that with Saudi Arabia's increasingly weakening power, Riyadh is starting to become dependent on them.

When King Salman and the "children of the founding king" withdraw from administration, the third generation is going to start to come to power in the Saudi kingdom. If in this period, a fight breaks out for the throne between Prince Muhammad bin Nayef and Prince Muhammad bin Salman as predicted by some political observers, Riyadh is going to be completely crippled. The effect of such a situation on the hierarchical relationship between Arabs is going to be wider than thought. 

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The thought that all "Islamist" movements can be trashed without any distinction between them, is a huge mistake in all aspects. Just as no formation that has a social base can be entirely eliminated, the "Islamic politics" concern is always going to exist on these lands. The movements that emerge from among the Shiite with this claim – not only in Sunni circles – are always going to see support. Just as they have throughout history.

The Middle East's recent history proves to us that the masses are in seek, that certain understandings prevail from time to time, that while certain movements are on a rise others are declining, but one need never goes away: Living with honor. It is not possible to exhaust this through political games or makeshift alliances. When writing about what happened in this day and age, historians of the future are going to explain in length how certain countries made futile efforts to change the course of water and wasted their own time and the Muslim world's time. 


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