What Is Left Of The Siege Of Qatar?
Al-Jazeera, Qatar, February 20
Thirteen demands were imposed on Qatar by its neighbors as a precondition to restoring relations to their normal state. Qatar was given 10 days to implement these demands lest it wanted to find itself outside the Gulf’s embrace. A breakdown of these conditions revealed political conditions, such as reducing the level of diplomatic representation with Iran; economic conditions, such as prohibiting business operations with Iran; and military conditions, such as prohibiting the establishment of Turkish military bases in the territory of Qatar. Therefore, Doha quickly found itself between a rock and a hard place, forced to make a tough decision. Observers of Qatari politics believed that Doha will quickly surrender. Today, more than a year and a half after this crisis, which is enough time to uncover the circumstances of these political events, we find that Qatar has managed to get out of this sticky situation without making any concessions and made good achievements while being geographically surrounded by three neighboring states who declared war with it. The foreign relations that Qatar has been asked to cut or limit are still there, and the volume of trade exchange required of Qatar to be immediately abolished is growing. The deputy head of the Iranian ports, Hadi Haq Shinas, said that Qatar could benefit from the Iranian port of Bushehr for the export and import of goods, and that part of the agricultural production is transferred from the port of Bushehr to the Qatari port of Hamad to make up for the growing demand in imports. With regard to the establishment of the Turkish military base in Qatar, the first Turkish troops arrived in Qatar last year and established the first Turkish military presence in the Middle East, amid great resentment by the Gulf countries. It has been estimated that the number of Turkish military personnel in Qatar now stands at about 3,000 soldiers, and may reach up to 5,000 according to the agreement between the two states. When it comes to media conditions regarding the closure of Al-Jazeera, the station is still operating, its correspondents are in the field, and none of its offices have been closed outside the siege countries. Common political sense suggests that when a country is under siege, its political activity is shrinking regionally. However, Qatar experienced the opposite: Its relations and trade are flourishing. The Emir of Qatar has repeatedly made clear his willingness to negotiate an end to this blockade. Thanks to Qatar’s resilience, there are currently signs indicating an upcoming end to this dispute. –Abd al-Salam Fathi Fayez