As expected, Qatar has refused the demands set out in a 13 point Saudi drafted ultimatum designed to essentially bully Qatar into the resumption of normal albeit politically dependant relations with the states which have boycotted Qatar.
Among the most absurd items on the list including a clause demanding reparations from Doha to the opposing parties, a demand to take all Qatari media including Al Jazeera permanently off air, a clause forcing Qatar to kick Turkish troops out of the country and a clause demanding Doha downgrade relations with Tehran.
None of these demands were realistic. They read like an attempt at colonialism more reminiscent of something from the Peloponnesian War than from the 21st century.
Sheikh Saif Al Thani of the government communications office in Doha has said the following of the ultimatum,
“This list of demands confirms what Qatar has said from the beginning – the illegal blockade has nothing to do with combating terrorism, it is about limiting Qatar’s sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy”.
He continued saying that the demands were both “unreasonable” and “unrealistic” and even the most cursory inspection of the document would reveal this to be objectively true.
A country has no right to tell another country with whom and how to conduct foreign relations. A country cannot tell another country whose troops it can or cannot invite onto its sovereign territory and likewise a country cannot tell another country to shut down its domestically produced media outlets, whatever one’s opinions on those outlets are.
It must be reiterated that Qatar has been widely exposed, including by Wikileaks as having ties to dangerous Salafist terrorist groups including al-Qaeda and ISIS. That being said, Qatar is if anything, the junior partner in the sponsorship of terrorism vis-a-vis Saudi Arabia.
Qatar whose government will soon issue a full official response to the ultimatum said that in principle Doha is willing and able to be cut off from its neighbours and Egypt for the long term.
The United States and Russia both continue to insist that the dispute should be eventually solved amicably within the Gulf Cooperation Council but thus far the diplomatic efforts of Kuwait and to a lesser degree Oman have not been able to force Saudi and the UAE from their intractable position.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.