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A political conversation on Qatar and Kuwait

My travels led me to meet an Arab individual at one of the terminals in Jeddah airport. He was traveling to the United States and I was travelling to Doha. We started to speak and he mentioned that he watched Al Jazeera both in Arabic and in English and that he saw me many times on television. He said that he noticed that I had been missing from Al Jazeera's screens for a while and that he had seen me on other foreign Arabic speaking channels. He also said that he followed my writing and said very kind things to me which I feel I do not need to repeat.

He asked me a question that baffled me: Where is Qatar today in the face of what is happening in the Arab world, in Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and Syria? Why did it disappear from the scene to be replaced by the UAE and other Gulf countries? We no longer hear about Qatar's role in Yemen other than its relief and aid role, not its political or military role.

I told him that I was not an employee of any of the state's executive institutions, but that as an observer and follower of what is happening in the Arab world today, I can offer him my opinion of what is happening. I told him that Qatar is present on all of the arenas he mentioned, and that there is unrivalled coordination and cooperation between the leadership in Saudi Arabia and the political leadership in Qatar, and that leadership of "Operation Decisive Storm" in Yemen was given to Saudi Arabia. This leadership deploys the forces and distributes the tasks amongst the Arab forces participating in the operation. I would like to remind everyone of "Operation Desert Storm" in 1991 in which 33 countries participated. The US headed the operation (General Schwarzkopf), even though British, French, German, Italian and Arab troops all participated in it. However, we only saw and heard from the American commanders. This does not diminish the work of the operation's forces nor does it diminish the role of the other forces involved in the battle.

As for the role of the Emirati forces, I believe that this occurred in accordance with the joint leadership's plan. The tasks were distributed amongst the various forces and the Emirati army planned a praiseworthy role in liberating Aden. In my opinion, if the Qatari military units participating in the Arab coalition forces were charged with any task, it would execute it in accordance with the play set by the general leadership of the military effort.

The humanitarian aid provided by Qatar is provided by charities and state associations, but the state's role is bigger and more important than only providing aid. However, we must not underestimate this role, as in all battles, one hand fights, one hand heals the wounds, and a third hand reconstructions. I would like to reiterate that a number of GCC states have mandated the Saudi leadership to manage the current crises in the Arab world by means of negotiations and coordination between the leaderships. They all agreed on the scenarios for managing the crises and I believe that this is need.

My friend commented on what I said by saying, "your words need to be reconsidered. The UAE is not on the same page with the GCC states regarding the Syrian, Iranian and Libyan issues. In Yemen, the UAE made its decisions independently from the coalition leadership, and this is what the Yemenis are saying." I said that the Saudi and Gulf air forces cooperated to liberate Aden and other governorates, and perhaps the leadership in Aden is shared between the concerned parties and that the political leadership in Abu Dhabi does not deny this.

He said that he was not convinced by what I said, but that he respects my opinion despite the fact that it does not match his regarding Qatar's absence from the scene.

He also asked me about my opinion about what has happened and is happening in Kuwait. I said that what happened on 26 June was a major crime committed in a place of worship against those praying to God, none of whom were armed. I do not care about who committed the crime, whether they were Sunni or Shia; I care about the fact that Kuwait suffered a heinous act of terrorism that should not only be condemned, but revenge should be taken against those committing the crime.

On 13 August, Kuwait also suffered an act no less criminal than the one before, but the planners, organisers and funders were foreign forces that cooperated with local forces. According to Kuwaiti media, Lebanon's Hezbollah and Iran were behind the crime. The more dangerous aspect is the fact that Kuwaiti sources stated that high-ranking Kuwaiti individuals were involved in the crime. However, I am deeply appalled by the position of the Kuwaiti political leadership which asked Lebanon's March 14 Alliance not to take action against the Lebanese parties involved in the heinous crime. The reason for this is that the Kuwaiti leadership did not want to raise the issue with Lebanon in order not to affect the Kuwaiti interests in Lebanon.

Are individual or collective interests more important and valuable than the state?! I had expected the Kuwaiti administration to ask its citizens to leave Lebanon and refrain from travelling there until investigations are conducted and the matter is dealt with.

The policy of appeasement adopted by Kuwait when dealing with a party or state accused of being involved in tampering with Kuwait's national security in order to avoid harming the Kuwaitis is a policy that encourages other parties to dare to commit acts in Kuwait and other GCC states and carry out individual acts of terrorism, even if outside of its borders. This aims to cause chaos and destruction in one state or another when a member of these criminal gangs is arrested.

The justification for the large arms cache found in Kuwait was illogical; it is the justification of the fearful. Such justifications say that the weapons found were not intended to be used against Kuwait, but against a neighbouring country. Another justification for these weapons is that they had been leftover from the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and that they had only been discovered now. However, sources have revealed that these weapons are very advanced and sophisticated.

The time came for my friend's plane to depart and we did not finish the conversation.

I would like to end by saying that the duty of the GCC states today is to clearly expose, without any justifications, the acts of terrorism being committed, who committed them, who organised them and who funded them, even if they were members of the ruling families.

Translated from Al-Araby Al-Jadeed on 24 August 2015.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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ArticleAsia & AmericasIraqKuwaitMiddle EastOpinionQatarSaudi ArabiaSyriaUAEUSYemen
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