M. Ya’kub Akadir (The author is a lecturer in international law at Syiah Kuala University, Aceh, Indonesia and IFP Alumni)
When terrorism issue become a common threat, some countries declared themselves as anti-terrorism and pointed out some other countries as terrorists’ affiliations. It comes not in empty spaces since political economic forces appeared. The attack over Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, now continued to Qatar. It has been obscure to determine friend and foe. Despite many media mainstream convenience of this tale, supporting the Qatar isolation, even projecting to unseat the emir, it has not always in the right line to create perpetuated peace.
There are other faces at play as the collective vision of middle east now largely shares by the US, Saudi, Iran and Israel. While these four powers pay lip service to the idea of anti-terrorism in the Middle East, narrow self-interest increasingly drives their thinking. This short-term estimate underpins their unlikely outward alliance. And there seems no limit on the number of conflicts that can occur at once.
Having a deal of US$152 billion worth of arms, as compensation to counter islamist extremism and isolating Syi’i Iran, the Saudi has confidently show off to be a main player in gulf states. No more than week later, Saudi Arabia and its allies hold to isolate their rich tiny neighbour Qatar. Not only diplomatic tie, but also physical link by sea, land and air was halted to Qatar. The issues was a suspicious of the Emir of Qatar, suggesting Iran was a force for regional stability, defending Hamas against Israel, and speculating the end of Mr Trump would last as president. Despite Qatari official insist that the website of Qatar New Agency was hacked, but Saudi regime has blinded eyes of hostility over Qatar during the holy month of Ramadan.
It has been a pity that Saudi has been a puppet of the US to dominate gulf regions under the banner of counter terrorism, while the root of problem remains tightly put under the superficial luxury rug. Punishing Qatar and isolating Iran also fit with the Israeli government’s assessment of its strategic interests, as it confronts Hezbollah forces to its north and Hamas in Gaza on its south-western border.
It is a political dilemma when Qatar supports Muslim Brotherhood, that threateningly ignored dynasties in Gulf regions. While on the other side Saudi and Qatar both backed salafi forces in Syria, against that Iranian and Russian supported for the Assad regime, So there is a high hypocrisy and ignorant to make Qatar a loner. That is to say it is too much to persecute Qatar for extremism, as Saudi has also pose immeasurably more to fuel extremism by exporting Wahabism to the regions of Muslim world.
For US Qatar has been a nice country to spent more than $1b constructing Al-Udeid as it host the biggest US air base, to control all US operation in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria; international investors in the US, and and host for 2022 World Cup. Even Qatar took a lead from the Obama doctrine of engagement with Iran, which led to the 2015 nuclear deal. This diplomatic alignment and the presence of the strategically important air base meant that Doha enjoyed a measure of American protection as it pursued its own regional agenda; however when Trump ruled the US the game might change.
It is unclear how the row will be resolved, but the Saudi and their neighbours are making a clear play for western support, accusing Doha, Qatar’s capital, of backing terror groups including al-Qaida and Islamic State.
The open-minded Saudi to engage better ally with Qatar would be much better rather than being the US’s puppet in Middle East for long term purposes. Saudi has to release its dependency to the US and cut its diplomacy for explicit mind of interference in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and supported the sustained colonialism of Israeli over Palestine land. The rhetoric of terrorism needs to be redefined for more justice and impartial forces. Otherwise global diplomacy has come to confusion. In particular when terrorists shout up against terrorists, under the dark night we keep going our journey to find out a lightning star on the sky; and terrorism remains on the eye of beholder.