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The winners and losers in the Qatar siege

Qatar joins emergency GCC security meeting in Saudi
Qatar joins emergency GCC security meeting in Saudi

It has been a thousand days since Qatar was besieged by its brothers and partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), i.e. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain. There is no fundamental or main reason that can be considered and no satisfactory solutions for all parties.

The reasons mentioned are "financing terrorism, harbouring the Muslim Brotherhood, interfering in the internal affairs of some Arab Gulf states, relations with Iran, and demanding the closure of the Al Jazeera satellite channel and its sisters." Our three brothers could not prove their claims to the Kuwaiti mediator.

Isn't the demand to close a satellite media station in a sovereign state considered interference in internal affairs? Isn't the demand to cut ties with any country also considered interference in internal affairs? With regards to the Muslim Brotherhood, there certainly aren't any political organisations in Qatar, neither Islamic nor secular nor liberal. Qatar is a small society and it is easy to detect any religious or secular political party. As for Qatar's relationship with Iran, it is a normal relationship and is not stronger than the UAE's relationship with Iran or any Gulf country.

Qatar official: Siege countries betrayed us

The question that presents itself is who are the winners and who are the losers in this estrangement imposed by Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Manama on the State of Qatar 1,000 days ago?

Perhaps I should start with the Qatari case. The State of Qatar has achieved material, moral and political profits in the field of material profits. Qatar has made a quantum leap in the field of development at all levels and has almost achieved self-sufficiency in producing seasonal produce and foods.

This means that it expanded in the field of agricultural production and reclaimed large land using modern scientific technology, whether in greenhouses or irrigation, dairy production and its derivatives, and has achieved a surplus in the local market. This prompted it to export its products, as proven in the Kuwaiti and Omani markets. It is worth noting that Qatar had previously relied on neighbouring countries, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, to meet its food needs.

In the field of production, it was able to take a giant leap. It has managed to produce cement, iron, aluminium, thermal insulation, some medical supplies, etc. I will not say that it has achieved absolute sufficiency in the aforementioned products, but it has made great progress in this regard. Some economic reports say that it achieved nearly 60 per cent of the country's production needs in a short period of time. The Qatari government has worked hard to put in massive infrastructure while it is under the quadruple siege (3+1) i.e. Egypt, in an almost miraculous period of time.

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As for morale, Qatari citizens today feel proud and delighted that their country has managed to overcome the ordeal imposed on it by the brothers, and they have moved without hesitation towards purchasing the national product and not others. They feel proud that their leadership has not been blackmailed by anyone.

In the political field, more than 40 heads of state or prime ministers from more than 40 countries visited Qatar during the "thousand-day siege". Some countries have backed down from their decision to besiege the State of Qatar and restored diplomatic relations with Doha after realising that the accusations presented by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi against Qatar were baseless. There is much to say about what Qatar is doing to stabilise international peace and security.

Last but not least, the Qatari diplomacy was able to achieve a great achievement in this field by signing the Doha Agreement on 28 February 2020, between the US and the Afghan Taliban movement. With this agreement, it ended one of the longest American wars against an armed political organisation. The American administration praised Qatar's efforts in this regard.

The US makes peace in the war it forced on the Taliban

The UN has chosen the Qatari capital, Doha, as the headquarters of its anti-terrorism office, and this is another international testimony that absolves Qatar of the charge of terrorism and its financing, which was promoted by the three pillars of the siege on Qatar, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, and their fourth partner, Egypt.

In the field of education, Qatar ranked first in the Arab world, according to the Economic Forum report in Davos. The UAE ranked tenth, Bahrain ranked thirty-third and Saudi Arabia ranked fifty-fourth out of 140 countries. Internationally, Singapore ranked first, Switzerland second, Finland third, and Qatar ranked fourth, according to the above source.

We can say with all certainty that Qatar has not lost anything as a result of the unjust blockade. Its international reputation is clean, it is innocent of all of the accusations directed against it, despite all efforts and money spent to discredit it internationally. Meanwhile, the leaders of some of the blockading countries are wanted internationally on many charges, including committing war crimes in Libya and Yemen. They are also being pursued by UN human rights organisations and Western parliaments for crimes against humanity.

The biggest losers are those who besiege Qatar, and Qatar has won over the international community and its democratic institutions.

This article first appeared in Arabic in Al-Sharq on 03 March 2020

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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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