It’s been two months since the brotherly Arab nations of the UAE، Saudi Arabia، Bahrain and Egypt began isolating Qatar in an effort to ensure that the government in Doha no longer harbours or extends financial and media support to those who spread extremist causes and terrorism. Over these past weeks، the quartet have asked Qatar to respond to 13 requests to ensure it lives up to its previously stated commitments and obligations to the international community to join against those who espouse terror and spread instability and sedition across the region. To this end، the four have exercised their sovereign rights and closed airspace and maritime corridors to aircraft and vessels from Qatar.
The government in Doha، however، has failed to respond to the 13 steps that would have seen it return to the Arab fold، and has instead embarked upon a carefully calculated، deliberately manipulative and wilfully misleading campaign to try and engage anyone in the international community who will give it any truck and ignore its dangerous policies and ploys. Indeed، it has cozied up to pariah nations such as Iran and Israel and exposed itself as a harbourer of extremists and peddler of propaganda.
The latest antic from Qatar is to offer expatriates with unique skills long-term residency and include the category into the full benefits offered to Qatari citizens، including government jobs. The timing of this measure is certainly significant، showing that the boycott of the Gulf state by the anti-terror quartet is working and it is a clear indication that Qatar is feeling the heat.
What is worrying about this measure is that it is little more than an attempt by the government in Doha to deliberately mislead those who would be easily convinced that the leopard can indeed change its spots. This is a programme that will be used to curtail critics who point to the unsavoury characters and criminal miscreants who spread extremism and terror — who are sheltered by Qatar — and give them residency and legitimacy.
And it is not as if this hasn’t happened in the past.
While the United States sought Khalid Shaikh Mohammad for years، he was employed in a plum government job in Qatar، and tipped off in time to escape، only to mastermind the 911 attacks and other atrocities.
If Qatar can’t stand the heat brought to bear by the quartet، it needs to kick extremists and terrorists out of its kitchen، instead of cooking up half-baked deceptions.