Why is Saudi Arabia so infuriated by Qatar?

The Saudi kingdom is fundamentally conservative and rejects change through revolt and chaos.


2017/06/18 Issue: 111 Page: 7


The Arab Weekly
As’ad al-Basri



What was Qatar’s crime that so ticked off Saudi Arabia? The fact is that Saudi Arabia sits smack in the middle of an immense ocean of Sunni Arab countries. These countries are by nature closer to Saudi Arabia and have nothing in common with Iran. Qatar, on the other hand, has spent billions of dollars to poison this Sunni Arab well and turn it into antagonistic political parties.

Saudi authorities find it difficult to distinguish between regular Sunnis, the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State (ISIS) sympathisers. The influence peddling did not stop at the area surrounding vital Saudi space but has seeped inside the kingdom. Adherents of the Sururist sect, an Islamist trend that combines teachings of the Muslim Brotherhood with puritanical Salafism, were successful in creating a Salafist cell in Saudi Arabia holding extremist ideologies.

Wherever the Muslim Brotherhood goes, religious disputes, political animosity and treason follow. The best example of this is the Tehran-backed Hamas movement. To spite Saudi Arabia, Qatar is planning to transfer more Hamas leaders to Iran and give further proof of its strategic alliance with the mullahs’ regime.

Saudi Arabia has always been a peaceful country and now it is surrounded by an environment poisoned by Muslim Brotherhood ideology. The Sunni bloc is showing cracks. The Saudi kingdom is fundamentally conservative and rejects change through revolt and chaos. It prefers careful peaceful reforms. Saudi Arabia prefers to appeal to international legitimacy.

Sunni societies have tended to be conservative and peace-loving until Qatari money, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Al Jazeera news channel came to the fore. This dubious combination injected religious thinking into ideologies that lend themselves to political and social chaos. Religion has become synonymous with revolution and the “Arab spring” was corrupted by sectarian and political strife. Money and weapons flowed from Doha. Sunni Islam has become polluted by politics, just like Shia Islam.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s plan was to eliminate Saudi Arabia and cause the disintegration of the Arabian Peninsula. Some might criticise Riyadh for trying to wipe out the Muslim Brotherhood. They say that the Brotherhood is a century-old organisation and carries an ideology. Ideologies are difficult to wipe out but Muslim Brothers will disappear once the money stops flowing, Al Jazeera is closed down and their leaders are put to a stop. Afterward, the Arab world will regain its stability.

The masks are off. By running to Iran and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for protection, Qatar has reneged on its Arab character. Doha will never be the same. Seeking Erdogan’s help was a mistake. Look at what he has done with Syria. This Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated hardliner claims to be concerned with protecting Qatar, its partner in crime. How many times has he promised the Syrians the same thing only to betray them?

The Muslim Brotherhood and Iran want to destroy Saudi Arabia. Their strategy was to confuse Saudi authorities on whom to target. Should it be the Salafists, the Shias or the Muslim Brotherhood?

The Obama administration also played its part in the conspiracy against Saudi Arabia. It allowed the infamous Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) to become law and chose to play lovey-dovey with Iran. Riyadh waited patiently for a new president to enter the White House and then took the first real step to bring hope back to the region.

Qatar has always played a double game. It encouraged Syria to fight Iran and now it turns out that the tiny emirate is Iran’s ally. The same applies to Iraq. In Iran’s expansionist plan, Iraq and Turkey are useful tools against everything Arab.

Iraq is a member of the Arab League but is, in fact, a planted Iranian proxy in the service of Iran’s nationalistic plans. At some point, it had accused Qatar of sponsoring sectarian strife and acts of terrorism against it but now Iraq is rushing to the defence of Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The mask has also fallen off Al Jazeera. It had always given a voice to terrorists left and right. Through this channel, al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi reached millions of Arabs, inciting them to start a jihad in Saudi Arabia.

Erdogan made liberal use of Al Jazeera to increase his popularity in the Arab world. Turkey pretends to be a strong defender of Sunni Islam. This is another major lie by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Turkey is after its own narrow national interests. It wants to join the European Union and has joined hands with Iran and Russia to decide the fate of the Arab population in Syria, a country that these three outsiders reduced to rubble. Their scheme to share their Arab spoils would have nearly succeeded if not for King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.


As’ad al-Basri is an Iraqi writer.


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