No sooner did Qatar refuse the demands made by the GCC last week than exclusive copies of agreements, obtained by CNN and verified by The National, showed Doha was intent on agreeing to one thing and doing another.
Indeed, the newly released documents, signed with its neighbours in 2013 and 2014, prove that Qatar failed to comply with previous, clearly stated written obligations that mirror the latest round of demands and provide further context to the stance of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt since the latest crisis began.
The first agreement of 2013 was signed between Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait and contained commitments to stop disrupting security in neighbouring countries through its funding of rogue groups. The understanding also specified ending support for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and rebels in Yemen. Another agreement alludes to Al Jazeera’s incendiary role in Egyptian politics. And yet, here we are. Essentially, Doha agreed to maintaining functional relations while willfully ignoring them.
The fact that Doha repeatedly denied understanding what was behind the scenes of the current diplomatic crisis only makes matters worse for the increasingly isolated nation. Not only did they not comply, they stalled by playing innocent.
But whatever their tactics, perhaps now the world will finally understand the complexity of the dispute. Doha’s efforts to play the role of victim or wronged party has always seemed a stretch, but today we see them for what they are.
Qatar has always known it is incurring the anger of its neighbours. The fact that Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors in 2014 was a tell-tale sign that the GCC’s patience has been wearing thin for years and that it has kept the accords under wraps for the sake of unity and stability.
The accords were comprehensive and declarative, breaching any of the obligations it signed up to rendered the whole agreement null and void.
The latest revelations merely reinforce the fact that Qatar has officially run out of excuses. The terms on the Muslim Brotherhood, Yemen and Al Jazeera were clear, but Doha has chosen another way, which is why action was necessary and unavoidable. Qatar must stop screaming injustice and foul play and start playing by the rules, only then will this crisis be resolved.