Qatar still going strong despite siege


THE Arabs are facing a tumultuous moment. Despite the years of political differences, the tiny nation called Qatar was once untouched by all that.

Its 250,000 Qatari citizens, being the richest people in the world, seem to have lived such an insulated wonderful life.

With no tax to pay while having a good portion of things for free, they have kept to themselves and have let themselves be ruled by the same family for 150 years peacefully.

Today, the nation is not only rich, but powerful.

Sadly, since it managed to enrage its alliances and defy US President Donald Trump, the nation has been left with a multitude of problems to deal with.

Qatar was hit by its biggest diplomatic crisis in years after Saudi Arabia led the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain to cut ties with them on June 5, 2017.

Yesterday, however, an advertisement by the concerned business people of the Arab World appeared in the New York Times.

It called for a lift from the siege and for a peaceful resolution to be made among the Arab countries.

The article discussed how the Gulf nations have always lived in harmony with each other despite some pointed difference.

The ban by Saudi and the UAE has halted all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, while giving the boot to diplomats. All Qatari citizens were given 14 days to leave the Gulf states and return home.

There is a growing cause to worry as human rights organisations have said that this siege has toyed with thousands of lives.

It was reported on a CBS television programme that there are currently 6,474 families torn apart, where one spouse is a Qatari national. Families are being separated, with children taken out of school.

Adding to that, social media has had a growing amount of footage of supermarket shelves being emptied, prompting fears that there will be a shortage very soon.

Saudi Arabia has said it made the decision based on a few notions.

They accused Qatar of supporting terrorism namely Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and interfering in the internal affairs of the Arab states. Egypt also has closed its airspace to Qatar to protect its national security.

Trump green lighted the siege on Qatar after the Gulf nations demanded that Qatar close down its outspoken Al-Jazeera TV network, the only network outside of Israel that the Saudis and Egyptians hate.

Will Qatar’s siege affect the world or does it present a potential opportunity?

If the US and nations of the Arab world can induce Qatar to contain its support for organisations that “promote extremism and threaten regional order”, it could help stabilise the region, limit the reach of the Islamic State and isolate Iran.