Farouk Yousef is an Iraqi writer. His article was translated and adapted from the Arabic. It was initially published by the London-based Al Arab newspaper.

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  • Egypt is the key to Qatar’s current crisis

    By focusing on secondary reasons for its current crisis, Qatar hopes to avoid bringing up the main reason.


    2017/07/02 Issue: 113 Page: 3



    Looking closely at Qatar’s official discourse during the current crisis, it is apparent that it has practically all been directed at the three opposing Gulf countries and that little attention has been given to Egypt.

    The idea behind this propaganda strategy is obvious. On the surface, Qatar is trying to belittle Egypt and ignore it as if it had no political weight in the region and does not deserve any attention. Deep down, however, Doha is trying to avoid facing the crux of its crisis, which lies in Egypt.

    Qatar’s relations with extrem­ist movements go back to when it began giving safe haven to the Muslim Brotherhood and its leaders. The Muslim Brotherhood is es­sentially an Egyptian organisation, even though it has transformed into a global one through the creation of the International Organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    There is no need to expand on Doha’s position regarding the overthrow of the Muslim Brothers’ regime in Egypt. Al Jazeera and all other Qatari propaganda media still bemoan that fateful reversal of fortunes and urge people to rebel against their government. Qatar says the change in Egypt was part of a conspiracy to end its influence in North Africa.

    Qatar has been trying to hide the fact that its anti-Egyptian senti­ments and actions caused its 2014 crisis. In dealing with its current crisis, Qatar is trying to take advan­tage of the complexity of the 2014 crisis, its expanded geographical territory and the many parties it used to bring chaos to the region. By focusing on secondary reasons for its current crisis, Qatar hopes to avoid bringing up the main reason. That reason emanates from Doha’s organic and complex relations with the Muslim Brotherhood.

    The Muslim Brothers are trying to regain power in Egypt through acts of violence against Egyptian society. By persisting in backing and protecting the Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar is implicitly taking part in the conspiracy against Egypt’s stability and security.

    It would be useless to get into an argument with Qatar about whether the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organisation acting under the cover of religion. To get an idea about the Brotherhood’s relationship with vio­lence, look back at its time in power. Throughout its history, the Brother­hood legitimised the use of violence against civilians.

    Qatar does not seem concerned about Egypt’s security or the security of any other country for that matter. This is political myopia. Or is it per­haps that Egypt’s existence does not mesh well with the tiny Gulf state’s ambition to control the lives of the people in North Africa? If that is the case, it would be ironic and sad.

    What is even more ridiculous is that Qatar wants to cover the failure of its plan in Egypt by ignoring the latter in its discourse meant for the Gulf countries.

    For the angry Gulf countries, Qa­tar’s decision to avoid the real reason for the crisis is useless. The central issue has nothing to do with “mis­givings by neighbours” to borrow the expression of a Qatari official. The issue is beyond the neighbours’ borders.

    The Qatari leadership needs to look at the crisis in its real size, which reaches all the way to Egypt. It is not that difficult for the Qataris to realise that the solution to their crisis is in Egypt.

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