As days and months pass with Qatar being treated as a pariah by the Arab Quartet consisting of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, in the thick of mutual recriminations, more and more hard evidence is tumbling out. That evidence shows how Doha tried to put down Bahrain and bring about a regime change favouring Iran. This was with the assistance of anti-Bahraini elements within the Kingdom even before the 2011 troubles had begun.
It now turns out that Qatar was actually the instigator of the 2011 troubles! And what came very handy was social media. On 28 August, Bahrain TV aired information that was evidence enough that Doha used every social media platform to incite violence and create mayhem in Bahrain as early as January 2011, a month before the Iran-backed outfits came out into the open, thus laying the foundation for the ensuing troubles. Qatar’s Al Jazeera TV channel was pressed into service for the purpose in tandem with a range of Doha-based Twitter accounts.
One such Twitter account was called Saheb Al Akhbar [Source of News], set up in Qatar expressly with the purpose of effecting regime change in Bahrain, according to Bahrain TV though it functioned anonymously. Indeed it was the first outlet to call for a day and place to start demonstrations in Bahrain, which eventually started on 14 February 2011. The account described itself as belonging to a youth group functioning under the banner of February 14 Coalition Movement, an outfit banned in Bahrain.
According to a Bahrain TV statement, “The ultimate aim of the account was to overthrow the government of Bahrain. Qatar supported the unrest in Bahrain through social media campaigns that supported the acts of violence, and it also provided logistics and financial support. Bahrain security services also registered the presence of Qatari government agencies on social networking sites and forums that instigated violence. There was increased traffic from Qatar’s Royal Court, Royal Guard and Interior Ministry to these sites.”
At the same time Ali Salman, head of the subsequently banned political group Al Wefaq, and Qatar’s former prime minister Shaikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani also colluded and discussed the strategy to bring down the Bahrain government.
According to Bahrain Information Minister Ali Al Rumaihi, Al Jazeera TV has never been an advocate of Gulf unity or integration. In other words its participation in the Gulf Cooperation Council since 1981 has been just a sham and it has consistently and deliberately worked to undermine the group on the strength of its money power and by continuing to keep its relations with Iran warm. The only difference is that the mask has fallen since the Arab Quartet’s boycott of Qatar.
While Bahrain is working to take Qatar to the International Court of Justice once again, this time to make it pay for its treachery of igniting the 2011 troubles, the deplorable aspect of this development is the greed and vanity that drives Qatar’s rulers, movers and shakers.
Look at it from any perspective and it makes sense that Qatar should remain part of the Gulf Cooperation Council [comprising Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait]. Their landscape, lores, climate, language, oil wealth, religion, history, system of government, defence needs and capabilities, population profile and much else is common and uniform.
If Qatar still wants to escape the group and craves to go and sit in the lap of Iran with which it has nothing whatsoever in common then one must sit back and reflect what propels Qatar to favour such a move. Is it really moving towards Iran or has Iran ensnared it in a coil from which it is unable to escape even if it wants to?