September 4, 2018 By The Editor
Qatar pointed out that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have “attacked Qatar in the news with lies.”
The Qatar Taliban ties as an excuse for the isolating attack.
Qatar carved out a niche as a regional arbiter of conflicts years ago. But, following the Arab Spring revolts of 2011, it embraced an interventionist foreign policy that has favored Islamists, a move that has irked Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.
Qatar’s links with jihadist groups have drawn American ire, but the US has also benefited from them. For example, Qatar persuaded the Taliban to release the American soldier Bowe Bergdahl in May 2014; three months later, it helped secure the freedom of Peter Theo Curtis, an American journalist held by al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, the al-Nusra Front. Qatar believes its links with groups like Hamas, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda have softened these group’s positions, making them more amenable to negotiations.
Of course, Qatar’s biggest Gulf neighbors see things differently.
The Saudi kingdom made the announcement via its state-run Saudi Press Agency, saying it was taking action for what it called the protection of national security.
The news agency released a statement in which it underlined the Qatar Taliban ties and accused it of “harbouring a multitude of terrorist and sectarian groups that aim to create instability in the region”.
Yemen’s internationally recognised government also cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of working with its enemies in the Iran-aligned Houthi movement, state news agency Saba reported.
The message was clear: get in line with regional policies, or pay the price.
Unfortunately, the UAE and GCC governments are not immune from mistakes and reprehensible positions around terrorists.
It seems in fact that UAE wanted to host themselves the Taliban embassy they put at centre of this Gulf dispute about the so called Qatar Taliban ties.
The Taliban opened its “political office” in Doha in 2013, as part of US-led attempts to negotiate a peace deal between the militant group and the Afghan government.
Until then, the Afghan government and its Western allies had struggled to contact the Taliban, who had no known address. The Taliban had refused for years to meet with the Afghan government, whom it referred to as a US puppet administration.
Several countries were considered as sites for the embassy including Turkey, Qatar, UAE or Saudi Arabia. Qatar was chosen as the Taliban considered the country to be neutral. The US also consented to the choice.
In a recent interview with Al Jazeera, the Qatari Foreign Minister’s Special Envoy on Counter-Terrorism, Mutlaq al-Qahtani, said that the country hosted the Taliban embassy at the request of the US government and that it was part of Qatar’s “open-door policy to facilitate talks, to mediate and bring peace”.
The UAE has used the embassy to attack against those Qatar Taliba ties and for hosting ‘terrorists,’ but leaked emails show they wanted the role for themselves.
“I don’t think it is a coincidence that inside Doha you have the Hamas leadership, you have a Taliban embassy, you have the Muslim Brotherhood leadership,” the UAE’s ambassador to the US, Yousef al-Otaiba, said in an interview last week, as the UAE continued its long-standing criticism that Qatar is supporting terrorists.
The presence of the Taliban embassy in Qatar has been one piece of evidence the coalition have used to justify the claim that Qatar is supporting terrorists.
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Source: Al Jazeera
Qatar Living Cover image – Doha News