Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, which blockaded Qatar from air, land and sea, issued a "list of terrorists" including 59 people and 12 institutions last evening in order to further restrict the blockade. People from nine Arab countries were included in the list, which also included some members of the Qatari emir’s family.
With the exclusion of one or two people who were interspersed in the list for no real reason, most of the names on the list have a common feature: They make a loud and de facto objection to Egypt and the UAE's internal and foreign policies. It seems the list was prepared in Cairo and Abu Dhabi, while Riyadh and Manama follow them unquestioningly. Especially, the emphasis on Muslim Brotherhood supporters reminds once again of the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is one of the main reasons behind the Qatar crisis.
Yusuf al-Qaradawi, 91, an Egyptian scholar, is the most notable person on the list of terrorists. Al-Qaradawi, who has been living in Qatar since 1961 and is also a Qatari citizen, is such a symbolic figure in the Arab world that the media outlets of the boycotting countries have chastised him as much as they could for two days, saying that he is the main terrorist, the source of sedition, a poisonous sheikh and uses snaky rhetoric. Meanwhile, they often used Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s photographs taken while paying tribute to al-Qaradawi.
The Saudi-financed al-Arabiya channel did not neglect to use the old footage of the Qatari Emir and Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi together, although there is no debate on Ghannouchi on the agenda.
Wajdi Ghunaim, one of the most important members of the Muslim Brotherhood, is also on the list. It is known that Ghunaim, who has been issued the death penalty in absence in Egypt, has been residing in Qatar's capital Doha for a while. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s government accuses Ghunaim, who has a serious audience at his sermons, for giving a fatwa for the murder of the Christians in the country.
The Egyptian government, which overstepped the limit while including its own priorities on the list, included even Dr. Ahmad Biltaji who is still in detention in the country. Biltaji, who was arrested after the coup of 2013 has not even stepped into Qatar in his life.
While many businessmen were also cited in the list of terrorists, the people and institutions who were included in it from Libya are considered to be obstacles to Egypt and the UAE’s operations in the country.
Among these are Abdelhakim Belhaj, who played a critical role in the takeover of Tripoli in 2011, former mufti Sadiq al-Ghariani and Ismail Sallabi. The Benghazi Defense Brigade, which is described as a "terrorist formation,” is known by its strong opposition to Gen. Khalifa Haftar, the man of the Egypt-UAE coalition in Libya.
Of the 12 “terrorist” institutions on the list, those who constitute Qatar's international operation power are noteworthy. Qatar Charity, a billion-dollar budget charity that is a partner of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is the first. Three other humanitarian aid agencies at the helm of the emir’s family are also on the list. These agencies operating in Gaza in particular will no longer be able to bring aid to Gaza via Egypt (and of course via Israel). Reportedly, aids to be brought to the tens of thousands of Syrians sheltering in camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria may be hindered because of the attitude of the boycotting countries.
While they are trying to punish Qatar for digressing from mainstream Arab politics in this way, they did not directly address Hamas on the list of terrorists. Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have realized that the incarceration of Qatar has begun backlashing in the Arab world because of Israel’s shrieks of delight. So, it seems this troika does not have the heart to overtly name Hamas a terrorist organization. However, this does not prevent Saudi media from accusing Hamas of terrorism. The Okaz newspaper reported the day before that Hamas is worse than Daesh in terms of being a terrorist organization and disregarding human rights.
The boycotting countries, which have embarked on such a comprehensive smear and destruction campaign against Qatar, have extended their measures to common internet users. Putting forth a positive opinion about Qatar in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain through social media will require imprisonment between 5-to-15 years. It has been officially announced.
The opposite front, which explicitly asks Qatar to close Al Jazeera, is already on its way to de facto blocking, although it has not yet succeeded. Saudi Arabia will fine hotels $26,000 unless they remove Al Jazeera from television menus. This has also been officially announced.
The days-long crisis has clearly shown that the picture we see in the Gulf is essentially a war on worldviews. The reason behind the desire to suffocate Qatar is what it represents and advocates. For Arab monarchies and their supporters, Qatar is the sum of all the nightmares that threaten their existence and future.
In the next article, I will talk about some who masterminded the crisis behind the scenes and have risen to the position of the brain of politics in the region with their skills and actions.