The Story of the GCC: Gulf Chaos Council

Nations have always been at war with each other. They either try to amass regional assets, overturn governments or just intervene in other nations’ politics. Most times it is pride that clouds their judgement or just good old fingering because you can. With the establishment of international organizations, especially after WW 2, it was to be seen that nations would come together for a stable understanding and a civilized few generations who thought rationally and not just because someone teased them over their previous loss. Regional unions or international unions have been widely seen as conglomerates that have a common goal, are each other’s allies and seek to be internationally accepted. A form of assurance that

no single nation is going to be a prick to one another and that they are going to adhere to the tunes of tolerance and common understanding. However, there are times when the lines between normalcy and idiocy. The US has always done that and is a nation who don’t seem to understand when enough is enough. Now it’s acting as a peacemaker in the Middle East. Why? Because a few kings had their ego hurt and a royal family just likes to poke the others in their buttocks/glutes/anal cavity. Oh, and free press is a taboo there apparently. Thank god, India has freedom of speech. Oh wait.

The entire saga in the Arabian Gulf started out when four members of the Arab league cut off all relations with Qatar. This included international borders, trade relations and even political relations between both parties. Any person and organization associated with Qatar had to cease all activities and return to Qatar. Qatari broadcasters Al Jazeera and beIn Sports have been banned. Sports teams in the four nations have dropped Qatari sponsors. The Saudi led bloc consisting of U.A.E., Egypt and Bahrain had certain reasons for such actions. They include and are not limited to its state run media corporation Al Jazeera, Qatar’s liberal approach to its governance and the outside world, its alliance with Iran and its affiliation to regional threats and radical extremist groups.

Though some of the reasons are trivial to most people, it poses massive risk to the region in terms of stability and peace. The four-member bloc have seen the rise of the Arab Spring, especially Egypt, and are afraid that such events might mean a transfer of power within those nations. In other words, they don’t want to turn into Iran. Iran in 1979 was one of the first states in the Arab Peninsula to have a revolution against the government with it eventually falling down. It ran shivers down the spines of many of the royal Arab kingdoms. Ever after 38 years, they still fear an uprising. Egypt had one, primarily due it having been established as a democratic nation. It struggled and is still getting back to its feet. However, the other Arab Kingdoms can’t afford to do so. The royal families have enjoyed ruling their nations for the past sixty to seventy years. They aren’t going to give in so quickly. The way Qatar handles itself is also seen as a threat. This is because they are a nation that has opted to be more liberal and open to external parties. This form of liberalism is a threat to the way the Arab Kingdoms have run themselves. The more people are aware and informed, the more they want to break free. When tradition and beliefs are threatened, ideas and thoughts are the most dangerous weapons.

Qatari organizations like Qatar Airways are banned from the four nations

Qatar wants to be the new leader within the Gulf. It wants to break Saudi Arabia’s influence over the GCC and its been trying for quite some time. Saudi always had control after it was established because it had two of Islam’s greatest holy sites. This literally made them the Islamic Caliphate of the world. With most of its neighbours being major Islamic nations and kingdoms, it was made a proxy regional leader. The people who were established Saudi Arabia, the Al Saud’s, were dominantly devout Muslims having based most of their laws on the teachings of the Quran which every nation soon followed. And it’s not as if their downright obnoxious or obscene. It’s because they respect themselves and their land. Their ancestors and their customs. To protect that while still moving towards globalization isn’t bad. It’s just good and lawful righteousness. However, this form of international governance and subjugation due to religious beliefs was backwards. When the world was moving towards international cooperation and growth, where cultures started to interact with each other, having to base your form of governance on someone else’s ideas and beliefs just because you’ll fought with each other is just weak of yourself. Qatar was tired of playing sheep. So, it did what it wanted to do. It set up Al Jazeera to have unbiased opinions and speak about issues its neighbours wouldn’t raise. It sought to be peacemaker between two international parties. It acted as middle ground for negotiations. And that’s where trouble started. When you seek to appeal to the world, you forget about your friends. When you grow big, the big get threatened. And it’s not because they despise your guts. It’s because you’re getting reckless.

With all its peace-making and diplomatic relations with many international organizations, Qatar still hasn’t understood one thing. When you seek to conquer the world, you end up making decisions which you would rue later. The last straw to the entire saga between Qatar and its neighbours took place earlier this year when Qatar had agreed to a ransom deal ranging between US $500 million to US $1 billion. The deal was brokered to secure the release of Qatari hostages and members of the royal family who were kidnapped in Iraq last year while hunting. Shiite militias closely allied with Iran and members of the al-Qaeda-affiliated group Tahrir al-Sham were reportedly behind the kidnap.

Now, we all know that that’s some huge money going to the wrong place. And for what, a royal family member who really can’t take care of himself? The life of a public funds consumer or the fate of the region? This move had enraged its neighbours and some of its allies. How do you just opt to fund some groups because some government employees’ son’s life is at risk? What happened to being the middleman and negotiator? Yes, all lives are important. This doesn’t involve you literally funding a mini nation. A move that many had disagreed upon. A move that Qatar maybe regretting.

The Emir Of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, second from left, receiving the hostages in Doha in April 2017

A labourer at his living space in Qatar.

But forget the egos of Kings and Conquerors. The big greens or black gold. What about those who live there? The ones who work and give in blood, sweat and tears. The ones who struggle day in, day out to go back to their cramped living spaces. The ones who left home to make one. With all these trade restrictions and the closing of borders, Qatar has a major issue with respect to basic essentials. Most of its FMCG products come from Saudi farms and Emirati ports. The people of Qatar have had to struggle with rising prices and reduced resources. The hardest hit isn’t the economy but the labourers and expatriates of Qatar. The ones who have to struggle to get home. The ones who must starve due to some royal members mistakes.

Now, there is some form of negotiations taking place but none which both parties can completely agree on. Everyone’s favourite aunty leads the negotiation process, with Oman being Qatar’s new best friend (Oman is everyone’s best friend). It’s not as if the embargo has shunted Qatar. It’s still punching above its weight having signed an arms deal with Italy worth 6 billion US Dollars. It’s still showing that it's ready to fight for its right. For its individuality. For its identity. But at what cost? To lose its allies and to be remembered as a traitor? Or to be viewed as the nation that stood up and questioned the system?

#externalwriter #arcanthony #qatar

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