On Tuesday 23rd of May 2017, a story broke by the Qatari News Agency stating that Sheikh Tamim Al Thani, the country’s emir, had addressed a military graduation ceremony that day in which he criticised the aggressive rhetoric aimed at Iran by the Gulf and US during President Donald Trump’s trip to Riyadh.
Not only this but the story stated that he said relations with Israel are “good,” and that Hamas (which is considered a terrorist organisation by the US) is the official representative of Palestinians. Adding “No one has the right to charge us with terrorism just because they blacklisted the Muslim Brotherhood as terrorists or rejected the resistance movements by Hamas or (Lebanon’s) Hezbollah,” Calling on Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain to “revise their stances regarding Qatar.” The next day, the same Qatari news agency claimed it was hacked. After an unsuccessful attempt to retract the story, the Saudi, Emirati and Egyptian counterparts as Sky News Arabia (owned by Emirates) and Al Arabia TV (owned by the Saudis) networks started a media campaign against Qatar. Re-airing the same speech on text bar of Qatar’s governmental TV Al Jazeera websites along with some other Qatari websites were blocked in Saudi Arabia, Emirates and Egypt and Al Jazeera TV network had its share of the ban too.
The governments of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Emirates didn’t buy the hacking story because recent actions of Qatar support the retracted statements of the emir. In 2007, Ali and Schneier arranged the first summit of rabbis and imams in New York. And later, when New York’s Jewish Mayor, Mike Bloomberg, wanted to reach out to the city’s Muslims, he came to Ali’s Friday sermon and prayed behind the imam, following the rituals of the Muslim prayer. Furthermore, Bill Clinton, wrote the foreword to Shamsi Ali and Rabbi Schneier new memoir “Sons of Abraham.” Ilya Feoktistov (a Research Director of an organisation that investigates and scrutinises radical Islamic groups) says in his article titled “THE BUFFALO INTERFAITH BLUFF”: “The rest of American society tends to look to Jews on the topic of extremist bigotry and intolerance as the proverbial canary in the coal mine. By embracing radical Islamists in an official interfaith relationship, Jewish leaders give them a ticket into American institutions.” Which is exactly what happened, the Obama administration adopted a pro Brotherhood policy for the Middle East. Names like Dalia Mogahed became official advisors to Obama and his administration supported the Brotherhood in Egypt on conditions of interfaith dialogue, which is a security guarantee for Israel. A second condition was to dissolve terrorism by granting radicals an access to power. At least this is what the Brotherhood promised Obama.
As Obama’s administration decided to reduce American military presence in the Middle East, it was looking for an ally to secure the region; Qatar and Turkey stepped in, presenting their Islamic project. As John Hannah says in Foreign Policy: “Arguably no outside power bears greater responsibility for helping turn the 2011 Arab Spring into an Islamist Winter than Qatar. It bankrolled the disastrous Muslim Brotherhood government of President Mohamed Morsi in Egypt. And after Morsi’s overthrow in 2013, Qatar went out of its way to delegitimize and destabilize Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s secular successive regime, putting Al Jazeera and other Qatari-backed broadcasting platforms at the service of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, while initially welcoming many of its exiled leaders to Doha.” Now with Trump’s administration the wind has changed. Qatar and Turkey are faced with an American administration that no longer supports radical Islamists. On another front the Egyptian people took to the streets on the 30th of June. 2013, overthrowing the theocratic government of the Brotherhood and replacing it with a new elected secular government. The Brotherhood was declared as a terrorist group in Saudi Arabia, Emirates and Egypt like their affiliates Hamas were declared by America. So, what cost will Qatar pay for its stubbornness in fighting for a lost project? This remains to be seen after these recent statements’ aftermath.