August 19, 2013 Special Dispatch No. 5411

Al-Arabiya General Manager Slams Qatar For Its Pro-Mursi Position

August 19, 2013
Egypt, Qatar, The Gulf | Special Dispatch No. 5411

In an August 18 article titled "Why Is The Gulf Divided Over Egypt?," 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, the general manager of Al-Arabiya TV and a columnist for the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, attacks Qatar for supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which, he says, is pushing this country towards chaos and conflict. He points out that, in taking this position, Qatar has come out against all the other Gulf states – namely Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait – who realize that the Muslim Brotherhood poses a danger to Egypt and to the region at large.

Al-Rashed adds that, for the past 20 years (except during a brief period following the advent of the Arab Spring), Qatar has consistently taken a position contrary to that of the other Gulf states, for instance when it provided a media platform for Al-Qaeda, supported Hizbullah and Syria despite their involvement in assassinating Lebanese leaders, and supported the regime of Muammar Al-Qaddafi despite its involvement in assassinations and in violence against Saudi Arabia. These policies, he says, have always backfired. He predicts that Qatar will eventually have to change its position and deal with the existing Egyptian regime.

The following are excerpts from an English translation of the article that was posted on Al-Arabiya.[1] The Arabic article was published the same day in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat.[2]

'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed (image:

"Ever since Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi was ousted, the Gulf has been embroiled in a storm of controversy that is not much less than what Egypt is witnessing. This has particularly happened in Gulf countries that are considered sympathizers with the [Muslim] Brotherhood... Since there is tension on all levels in the region, it's only natural that its repercussions will reach the Gulf Arab states.

"Gulf governments are again standing where they stood several years ago. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain are on one side and the Qatari government is on another. Their stances have been made clear through government and media statements. This is happening following a short period of Gulf consensus over almost everything since the Arab Spring began two and a half years ago. Countries like Saudi [Arabia], the UAE and Kuwait are aware of the gravity of chaos in a country like Egypt and think that standing against the status quo may drag Egypt towards disorder. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, as it has clearly shown during the past few weeks, is willing to walk a path towards confrontations and chaos instead of accepting calls for dialogue and reconciliation. These Gulf countries think that pushing Egypt towards chaos means a threat of turning the country into another collapsed state, like Libya and Syria. Egypt’s failure means a threat to the entire Middle East and the region will not stabilize for many decades.

"As for Qatar, it’s really difficult for us to understand its political logic over a country not linked to it on the levels of regimes, ideology and economy. And Egyptians in Qatar [are] only a minority. Its support of the move forcing [of] the army and other political Egyptian parties to adopt the Brotherhood demands is not only impossible but it also has dangerous repercussions. Supporting the Brotherhood at this current phase [only] increases [its] stubborn [insistence] to hold on to [its] stances, leading to an extremely dangerous situation.

"So why is Qatar doing it? We really don’t understand why! Historically and over a period of around 20 years, Qatar has always adopted stances that oppose the positions of its Gulf brothers, and all of Qatar’s opposing policies have ended up unsuccessful. Qatar granted a media [platform to] Al-Qaeda-linked organizations in the 90s and the years that followed, even after this organization targeted Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and the rest of the world. Qatar supported Hizbullah and Iran, although the former participated in assassinating Lebanese figures and occupied the Sunni west Beirut [on May 7, 2008]. It supported the Syrian regime in Lebanon even when Hizbullah murdered March 14 Coalition figures[3] and assassinated former premier Rafiq Hariri. It [endorsed] the Assad regime’s rehabilitation of its relations with the West, particularly with France. It also supported the regime of Muammar [Al-]Qaddafi even after he got involved in assassinations and supported [those who] fight against Saudi [Arabia]. The [shift in] Qatar’s policy, [from] standing with Iran, Hizbullah, Assad and Qaddafi [to] standing against them after the Arab Spring, was quite [quick].

"I am confident that Qatar will later alter its policy towards Egypt and that it will be forced to deal with the exisiting Egyptian regime, because Egypt is an influential country that no Arab state can ignore or be hostile to. The situation is now more dangerous than before, because during Hosni Mubarak’s reign, the [Egyptian] regime felt less threatened and was less effective. But the current regime is now both angry and worried."
[1], August 18, 2013. The original English has been lightly edited for clarity.

[2] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), August 18, 2013.

[3] The Arabic version of the article says that the Assad regime murdered them.

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