As more than 100 days have passed since it has been put under blockade by some Gulf-Arab countries, Qatar has won the support of the world community and achieved high moral ground by effectively handling the crisis, participants at a panel discussion highlighted on Sunday.
The event, titled ‘Crisis in the GCC: Causes, Consequences, and Prospects’ was organised by the Centre for International and Regional Studies (CIRS), a research institute at Georgetown University in Qatar.
The panellists included Dr Abdullah Baabood, director, Gulf Studies Programme at Qatar University; Dr Shafeeq Ghabra, professor of political science at Kuwait University and Dr Gerd Nonneman, professor of international relations and Gulf studies at Georgetown University in Qatar. The session was moderated by CIRS director Dr Mehran Kamrava.
“Effective economic measures are in place, the banking sector is going stronger and stronger and new trade routes have been established to overcome the situation. In addition, more channels of sport diplomacy as well as cultural diplomacy have been set up and all these have been carried out with calculative moves winning appreciation and praise from the international community,” said Dr Nonneman.
"The measures are also helping Qatar to become more self-sufficient in various areas. This will, in the long-run, help the country become stronger and self-reliant," Dr Nonneman stated.
A section of the audience at the event
Dr Baabood noted that many of the siege countries do not want to change from the present situation or bring in modernism or political Islam in their countries. “The whole idea of the GCC is about security co-operation. The present crisis goes against the whole purpose of the GCC as any such matter should be discussed and approved by the GCC members. This situation goes against the fundamentals and spirit of the GCC."
“How can you trust GCC if the whole community is silent on such an issue? It does not have a working mechanism at present. The GCC representative in Brussels is Qatari and how can he act on several such issues? Sometimes, I feel that the blockade was created as a deflection to distract the attention from the domestic political issues in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. However, it is also a big blow to the future interactions among the GCC countries, making GCC very weak,” he added.
According to Dr Ghabra, the Turkish act of sending military force to Qatar was a balancing act as Qatar was caught unaware of a major crisis one fine morning. “The crisis is the end of the beginning. New allies and new power centres are emerging. It creates new balances and new political alignments. The train has left the station and now the situation is going to be different,” said Dr Ghabra.
He also rubbished the argument that Qatar supports terrorism. “Muslim Brotherhood is known all over the region and they are part of the Moroccan government. Hamas has not carried out any kind of violence in any part of the world. What they are doing in Palestine is defending their own country and the people,” he added.
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