Do the countries boycotting Doha mean to make Qatari people starve? Is the goal to encourage the Qatari people coup against its Emir? Or is it a bargaining chip against the Emir himself? Does the blockade work against Qatar? Or has the siege not changed anything about the nature of life there? A people with the size of the Qatari population can live on two cargo planes, and may not be affected by blockades!
The message sent by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain was only to the Emir and did not aim to punish the people. It was possible to hold an emergency Arab summit to discuss the Qatari situation. The Arab League could have frozen the membership of Qatar. But I haven’t read a single remark or seen a single hint yet on the crisis from the Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Abul-Gheit!
So, where is the Arab League from what is happening in Qatar? I am not talking about sanctions, of course. But I am talking about mediation and efforts to resolve the conflict and settle the crisis. There is no permanent enmity. There will certainly be a solution, which I would not like to come from abroad. I wish that these efforts would come from the Arab League. The silence means that the solution will be the departure of Emir Tamim himself!
The information received from the other side does not deny the existence of a real crisis. Qatar believes that its problem are with neighboring countries and not with Egypt. Qatar does not mention Egypt’s name at all. Does solving Qatar’s problem with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain solve the crisis with Egypt? Are the mediators truly interested in solving the Gulf problem, regardless of Egypt’s situation? How will we act if the crisis becomes “individual”?!
Let’s not forget here the use of each (boycotting) country’s foreign nationals as a bargaining chip. I was worried about the use of this card from the very beginning. In the hustle, some have been expelled and deported from the Gulf countries and Egypt. The surprise was that Qatar did not reciprocate and did not expel the nationals of the boycotting countries. Qatar said it did not take any action against nationals of the countries that cut the relations with it. I was surprised by the position of Qatar, as I imagined that this would be the first bargaining chip it would use!
Unfortunately, we will get out “wounded” from this crisis. All sides are wounded. No one is defeated, no one is victorious. More importantly, we know the end of the scenario. Israeli newspapers minimized the effects of the siege, and made light of what would happen to the Emir. The alternative is expensive, but exists in states like Iran, Turkey among others. The Qatari people will not be starved by the siege, but they will come out of this situation sad and torn!
Playing on the foreign nationals as a bargaining chip may have worked in Iran,or Iraq, and it worked for countries with large population; but to the brotherly Qatari people, it is nothing more than a «hotel residence», as Sheikh Zayed – may God have mercy on him – has said. They will not starve. They can stay in hotels that serve them, at the expense of the Emir himself, instead of scattering money here and there to recruit agents!
Finally, I do not know exactly how this crisis will end. There are many puzzles and a great deal of confusion in the case. This is to be expected, because no one will reveal his cards. But certainly Tamim does not play alone. There are other parties «behind the curtain», who think for him and think with him; and I believe that this what prevented him from using the Gulf countries’ and Egypt’s nationals as a bargaining chip so far!