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July 17, 2017

Supporting Violence: UK versus Libya and now Four Arab States versus Qatar

Dr. Mohamed Elmasry

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When the IRA imported sectarian violence from Northern Ireland into London, England to advance its political agenda, it was supported by Libya.

Then, UK and much of the international community treated Libya as a pariah aggressor, taking measures to stop its support of the IRA through sanctions, military strikes, and forcing the Libyan government to pay compensation to the victims of its illegal actions.

Let us move forward to the here-and-now.

Qatar – the world’s richest per-capita country – against all international law and norms has for years used its petrodollar wealth to support Arab-world groups that use violence to advance their political agendas of regime change.

Qatar’s toll of victims in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Yemen has now passed the one-million mark.

Additionally, some 10 million refugees and untold billions in economic and infrastructural damage have resulted from the terrorist acts it has supported in those countries.

Unlike the situation of Libya’s interference through the IRA, however, the 21st-century international community – especially the US – has turned a blind eye to Qatar’s crimes.

One reason given why Qatar has not been exposed as a threat to world peace and stability is that its government-sanctioned violence has not been directed against Israel.

Qatar has also routinely used its state-owned Al Jazeera Arabic broadcast organization (whose journalistic content, philosophy and style are very different to the English network of the same name) to propagate fatwa after fatwa from self-styled Islamist leaders.

Among other misinformed pronouncements, they decree that the killing of civilians (including women, children, the ill and the elderly), as well as members of the armed forces, is justified under Sharia Law; they even promise entry to paradise for those who commit these heinous crimes.

For decades, Qatar has financially supported and sheltered scores of these groups, as well as providing political sanction, asylum to their leaders, intelligence data, favorable media coverage and other protections, even though all were or are on Interpol’s global watch list.

On June 5 of this year, four Arab states – Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt – finally decided in unison that enough is enough.

They cut all diplomatic and commercial ties with Qatar and publicly presented 13 demands that the Qatari government must fulfill in order to have its economic and diplomatic status restored.

It may be news to many, but these demands are not actually new at all.

In 2013 and 2014, a similar group of Gulf countries attempted an intervention, confronting Qatar over its blatant support of violent terrorist and insurrectionist groups in other Arab countries.

Qatar agreed and signed its compliance to conditions its neighbors presented. It then continued its former ways as if nothing had happened.

Just days ago, on July 11, 2017 CNN revealed the full text of both agreements on which Qatar had defiantly reneged:

“Qatar made a series of secret agreements with its Gulf neighbors in 2013 and 2014 barring support for opposition and hostile groups in those nations, as well as in Egypt and Yemen.

The existence of the agreements has been known, but both the content and the documents themselves were kept secret due to the sensitivity of the issues involved and the fact that they were agreed in private by heads of state.

The Gulf countries have accused Qatar of not complying with the two agreements, which helps explain what sparked the worst diplomatic crisis in the Middle East in decades.”

In an egregious example of flawed logic, Qatar is now claiming that the 13 demands of the 2017 ultimatum would “compromise its sovereignty,” while the 2013 and 2014 agreements that its government signed apparently did not.

The first such document, the handwritten Riyadh Agreement, dated November 23, 2013 was signed by the King of Saudi Arabia, the Emir of Qatar and the Emir of Kuwait. This agreement specifically mentioned withdrawing support from the Muslim Brotherhood.

The second agreement, dated November 16, 2014 and labelled “top secret,” added signatures from the King of Bahrain, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Prime Minister of the UAE.

After the CNN story broke, the four Arab states involved in the latest confrontation issued a joint statement saying the earlier two failed documents “confirm beyond any doubt Qatar's failure to meet its commitments and its full violation of its pledges.”

The statement continues: “The four states emphasize that the 13 demands submitted to the Qatari government were to fulfill their previous pledges and commitments and that the demands were originally stated in the Riyadh Agreement, its mechanism and the Supplementary Agreement and are fully in line with the spirit of what was agreed upon.”

With details now out in the open and the refusal of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt to back down and be ignored for a third time, the international community (including the US and Canada) needs to meet its collective responsibility of upholding international law. Now is the moment to take a firm stand against Qatar.

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