Qatar Malaise Runs Deeper Than Nursing Extremists

The boycott of Qatar by three of the six Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] countries namely Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and by Egypt [followed by some half a dozen others] has entered the third week but Doha remains defiant.

Why it remains defiant is anybody’s guess because the cards are lying open on the table and it has not denied any of the accusations – that it has been nursing, funding, harbouring and entertaining extremist and terrorist groups and elements ranging from Muslim Brotherhood and Taiban to Hamas and Hezbollah and even fringe groups linked to the notorious Islamic State.

It has also been hobnobbing with Iran which has for years been inimical to the three aforementioned GCC countries and Kuwait. Since the boycott, it has come even closer to Iran. But post boycott, a new and nefarious aspect of this hobnobbing has come to the fore which shows that Qatar has indeed been hand in glove with Iran to overthrow the Bahrain government in the wake of the Arab Spring of 2011 and the troubles that started in its wake.

Qatar’s direct role in exacerbating the Bahrain crisis of February 2011 was exposed last week when Bahrain TV played the audio tapes of a recorded conversation. The tapes clearly showed that figures in the inner circle of the then Amir of Qatar [since replaced by his son] played a prominent role in inciting people against the Bahrain government and were directly in touch with Al Wefaq Society [since dissolved], which happened to be the largest political grouping in Bahrain with a clear agenda to overthrow the government at that point of time.

qatar foreign affairs.
Qatar foreign affairs. Photo: al Jazeera video screenshot.

Indeed a report in the Bahrain daily Al Ayam showed that Hamad Khalifa Al Attiyah, an advisor to the then Qatar Amir, initiated the move to undermine the Bahrain government by initiating contact with Al Wefaq, especially ex-MP Hassan Ali Sultan, now living in Lebanon under the protection of Hezbollah after his citizenship was revoked. Al Attiyah is learned to have conveyed to Al Wefaq and other anti-Bahrain factions the directives and instructions of Shaikh Hamad Bin Jasem Al Thani, the then Qatari Prime Minister.

In case the troubles took off on their expected lines, their idea was to fan the fires by using Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV to give them extensive coverage [which, to the extent possible, it still did with an anti-Bahrain bias]. When the pan-GCC Peninsula Shield forces were sent to Bahrain at this time, Qatar sent only two officers, both of them as spies with specific instructions to convey to it the movement of troops.

According to a report in Gulf News of Dubai Al Attiyah coordinated efforts between leaders from Al Wefaq and Al Jazeera TV to incite factions against Bahrain and asked for special arrangements to ensure contacts between the channels and people opposed to Bahrain. “According to the information, Qatar’s Amir had a great role in inciting leaders from Al Wefaq to turn down the dialogue, sow sedition and use the ‘unfairness to Shiites’ card against the state,” the paper said.

Qatar had obviously not forgotten the failure of its fraudulent attempt a decade earlier to claim the Hawar Islands belonging to Bahrain by producing forged and bogus ‘historical’ documents at the International Court of Justice in the Hague where the judgement went against it in March 2001.

It becomes clear from the Qatari activities that the plot was to hand over Bahrain to Iran since it is now common knowledge that the 2011 troubles in the Kingdom were engineered and propped up by Tehran and the troublemakers were taking instructions from their handlers there. In other words, a country which was part of the close-knit six-nation GCC was out to undermine one of its allies and brothers.

In view of these new and startling disclosures, even if the current impasse among the four GCC states were to be resolved in view of the attempts in that direction by Kuwait, the US and Turkey, one would like to ask the parties concerned as well as the world at large whether Bahrain should still have any reason to trust Qatar and what action, if at all, the international community would be willing to take in view of the unmasking of the plot.

Brij Sharma is an Indian journalist and editor based in Bahrain. Brij tells us the interesting stories we don’t usually hear from the middle east country.