June 23, 2017 by Adam Garrie
Saudi Arabia has passed an ultimatum to neutral Gulf Cooperation Council member state Kuwait to be handed to the Qatari regime in an attempt to end the current crisis wherein Saudi Arabia has led a total boycott of Qatar along with the UAE, Egypt Bahrain, Libya’s House of Representatives, Yemen’s Hadi government and the Republic of Maldives.
Far from ending the crisis, this ultimatum will only prolong the disputes as the demands issued by Saudi are that of a victor to a vanquished foe in a war. In some cases the demands are even harsher than certain terms of peace after a military conflict. Put another way, it is unabashed colonialism.
Here is the full list of demands
The payment of reparations/compensation to Saudi, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE due to the “victims and loses” which have resulted from Qatar’s policies. The final sum is not specified.
Clearly the Saudis have not studied the history of Europe after the First World War where war reparations and a guilt clause forced on Germany played some part in fomenting the rise of fascism in Germany.
If anything, Saudi’s policies have created more “victims and loses” than those of Qatar. Again this is the pot calling the kettle black and using the widely discredited aggressive demand for reparations as part of a cynical ultimatum.
2. Don’t Have Good Relations With Iran
Qatar’s apparently warming relationship with Iran is one of the proximate causes of the Saudi led boycott of Doha. Many suspect that given the fact that Qatar’s ambition to build a gas pipeline to Turkey running through Syria is now dead in the water, that Qatar which shares the same natural gas field with Iran, may be working to supply gas to Turkey via Iran.
Saudi which has accused Qatar of meddling in other countries (a true allegation) is now meddling in Qatar’s internal affairs, telling Doha that it cannot develop good relations with Iran.
This is not only ridiculous but it goes against the principles of state sovereignty as defined by international law.
3. Kick Turkey Out
In yet another violation of the principles of international sovereignty, Saudi has demanded that Qatar kick out recently arrived Turkish troops. Saudi also demands that Qatar cease cooperating with Turkey militarily.
This is Qatar and Turkey’s right to cooperate if they want to. No foreign state has the right to dictate otherwise.
4. Shut Down Al Jazeera
Saudi has already taken state-run Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera off air in Saudi and kicked out their staff from the country, but now Riyadh wants the broadcaster to go off air entirely–worldwide.
This is colonialism, nothing more.
Saudi demands that Qatar renounce and cut ties with terrorist groups including ISIS, Al-Qaeda/al-Nusra (both of which Saudi funds) as well as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah.
Hezbollah is not considered a terrorist group by most of the world, including in Lebanon where Hezbollah is based. Hezbollah is a political party with democratic representation in the Lebanese Parliament.
4. Stop Funding Terrorism
A cynical repeat of the previous demand
5. Hand Over Terrorists
Saudi demands that Qatar hands over terrorists harboured by Doah.
6. Interference In Other Nations
Saudi demands that Qatar does not interfere in the affairs of other countries.
Saudi’s entire list is one giant interference with the affairs of other nations (not just Qatar but also Iran and Turkey).
This one is truly laughable.
7. Have Peaceful Relations With Gulf Neighbours
This one really boils down to “do what I say or I’ll kill you”. A very poor Hollywood action-comedy springs to mind.
8. Other Media
In addition to shutting down Al Jazeera, Qatar must shut down all other media outlets it funds and/or owns.
Qatar must allow Saudi to audit Qatar’s action on these demands once every month for a year, every three months for the second year and once a year for ten years after that.
What planet is Saudi living on?
10. Opposition Leaders
Saudi demands that Qatar hand over all records indicating their support for opposition figures in foreign countries.
Do not give citizenship to individuals wanted for crimes by Saudi, UAE, Bahrain or Egypt
12. Individual Terrorists
Saudi demands that Qatar cease funding individual terrorists above and beyond the groups previously proscribed by Saudi.
13. Do All of This In 10 Days
Saudi demands that Qatar does all of the above in 10 days. No specific threat is issued in the event of non-compliance.
The aggregate effect of these demands is that Saudi wants Qatar to become its puppet state while grossly humiliating Qatar in the process.
This will simply not happen and Riyadh is utterly deluded to think otherwise.
The demands are not a list that comes from a responsible nation but instead one which is acting in a power-mad childish and aggressive manner.
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.