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The Absurdity of Qatar’s Rant

Al-Araby al-Jadeed, London, July 28

Iraq continues to witness unrest for the third week in a row, as hundreds of citizens continue to flood the streets in protest of the bleak living conditions in the country. This is one of the most justifiable waves of protests I’ve ever seen. Ordinary Iraqi men and women are taking to the streets in excruciating heat and demanding an end to their government’s neglect. They want running water, electricity, and sewer lines. They want to be able to survive in one of the world’s toughest regions to live. They want the foreign oil companies that have come to their land and stolen their natural resources to invest at least a small portion of their huge revenues back into the Iraqi economy. These demands should seemingly resonate with every rational human being. But they have been met with utter disapproval by the Qatari authorities. In the past few days, Qatari officials have repeatedly appeared in the Arab media and described the protests as ones “fueled by foreign powers” in an effort to “destabilize Iraq.” They’ve encouraged protesters to stay home and resist calls to join the demonstrations. These Qatari officials were alluding, of course, to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia—suggesting that Riyadh is behind the turmoil unfolding in Iraq today. Other than being utterly outlandish, these accusations are extremely hypocritical. It is Qatar, after all, that stood behind the revolutions that swept almost every country in the Middle East, from Tunisia, to Egypt and Yemen. Doha graciously provided funding to any organization or movement that sought to undermine one of its neighbors’ regimes. Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who serves as Qatar’s national mufti, frequently bragged about Doha’s role in fueling protests throughout the Arab world. Qatar’s satellite television channel, Al-Jazeera, provided airtime to rebel and opposition groups in almost every country, in an effort to wreak havoc and confuse the public. Now, all of the sudden, Doha is “concerned.” It is suddenly interested in peace and stability. It is opposed to public unrest and fears “foreign” attempts to intervene in a country’s domestic affairs. How despicable. This is nothing but an appeal to Iran, in an effort to win over support from Tehran. Qatar is finally getting a taste of its own medicine. It’s about time! –Amal Hizzani

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