March 5, 2014 (TSR) – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have recalled their ambassadors from Doha in protest at Qatar‘s interference in their internal affairs, they have announced in a joint statement.
The three Persian Gulf Arab states made the decision following what newspapers described as a “stormy” late Tuesday meeting of foreign ministers from the six-nation Persian Gulf Cooperation Council in Riyadh, AFP reported on Wednesday.
The PGCC countries “have exerted massive efforts to contact Qatar on all levels to agree on a unified policy… to ensure non-interference, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of any member state,” the statement said.
The nations have also asked Qatar, a backer of the Muslim Brotherhood movement that is banned in most Persian Gulf states, “not to support any party aiming to threaten security and stability of any [P]GCC member,” it added, citing media campaigns against them in particular.
The statement stressed that despite the commitment of Qatar’s emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to these principles during a mini-summit held in Riyadh in November with Kuwait‘s emir and the Saudi monarch, his country has failed to comply.
It’s the clearest sign yet of the rift between other Persian Gulf Arab nations and Qatar, which has been a staunch supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere.
Qatar has also denounced last year’s ouster of Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi, who hails from the Brotherhood. Saudi Arabia and the UAE oppose the Brotherhood.
UAE angered by Qaradawi ‘insults’
Fares al-Nuaimi, Qatar’s ambassador to the UAE, was summoned to the foreign ministry in Abu Dhabi and handed “an official letter of protest” over “insults” by Muslim scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
In a sermon delivered at a mosque in the Qatari capital, Doha, and broadcast by state television, Qaradawi condemned the UAE as a country which was against Islamic rule, UAE media reported.
His comments came just days after the UAE jailed a group of 30 Emiratis and Egyptians to terms ranging from three months to five years for forming a Muslim Brotherhood cell, AFP news agency reported.
“We have waited for our neighbor to express a clear rejection of this insolence and to offer sufficient clarifications and assurances for this misrepresentation and incitement against the UAE,” WAM quoted UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash as saying.
“But unfortunately, and despite the self restraint and calm approach, we found no desire or response for such a thing from the brothers in Qatar,” he added.
Subsequently, Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiyah distanced from Qaradawi’s remarks.
“The foreign policy of Qatar is expressed and conveyed only through the official channels of the state,” Attiyah said, according to the state run Qatar News Agency.
“The security of the United Arab Emirates is part of our security” he added.
A Qaradawi aide told Reuters news agency that the religious leader had expressed his own views and that he would not stop, adding that “Qatar allows him to say what he wants as an individual and that no one had called him over the remarks”.
Meanwhile, Mahmood al-Jaidah, a Qatari doctor, remains in prison in the UAE after being detained there since last February.
Al-Jaidah has been charged with ties to the banned al-Islah group that UAE believes has links to Muslim Brotherhood.
Egypt wants Qatar to Extradite Muslim Brotherhood members
Qatar hosts dozens of fugitive Muslim Brotherhood members and critics of the current military-backed interim government.
Egypt’s foreign ministry last month summoned Qatar’s charge d’affaires in Cairo to demand the handover of fugitives in exile in Doha.
Egypt wanted Qatar to extradite critics of Cairo’s army-backed government, including the Egyptian-born cleric who supports the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood.
Qaradawi faces charges alongside ousted president Mohammad Morsi in connection with a mass jail break during the 2011 uprising that ousted former ruler Hosni Mubarak.
Once close Qatari-Egyptian ties have soured since Cairo’s army last July ousted Morsi, who was strongly backed by Doha, following mass protests against his one-year rule.
Egypt then launched a crackdown against Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group and labeled it a terrorist group. Some members of the Brotherhood and other opponents of the Morsi government fled to Qatar.
The foreign ministry summoned Qatar’s ambassador last month after Doha criticized Cairo’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.
Egypt accuses Qatar and its Doha-based Al-Jazeera television channel of backing the Muslim Brotherhood.
It’s a well known fact that the former Emir bankrolled the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Jazeera became MB mouthpiece, in addition to spreading disinformation and fake news since 2011 that sparked the Arabspring, Libya destabilisation and the killing of Muammar Gaddafi.
Deep division between Riyadh and Doha spells US Petrodollars demise
The Saudis have threatened to isolate Qatar by closing their border and airspace if the Doha-based government doesn’t stop supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Arab, a London-based newspaper known to have close ties to Saudi decision makers, has reported.
A Saudi official is said to have delivered an urgent message last month from the Saudi government to the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani that included a “threat” that Riyadh is reviewing its relations with Doha.
The oil-producing countries in the Middle East loyal to the United States are key to the support of the US dollar as the reserve currency of choice. Members of the PGCC agree to transact all their oil sales in US dollars, which works to maintain the US dollar as the dominant world currency. The unwritten agreement is that the US provides military protection and the oil producers continue to help maintain the US dollar as the standard for all oil transactions. This December, in a sign of growing frustration, Saudi Arabia has expressed displeasure with US diplomatic and military decisions in the region.
The rift between Saudi Arabia and Qatar is another sign of a growing fissure in the petrodollar alliance.
In this instance, Qatar is being charged with breaching the PGCC’s guidelines for the policies and positions in supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, particularly towards Egypt. The Al-Arab newspaper points out Saudi Arabia believes that the Emir of Qatar did not abide by the agreement he signed in a summit in Riyadh in the presence of the Emir of Kuwait two months ago, to stop the use of the Qatari soil in actions that harm the Kingdom.
The report noted this Saudi threat coincides with a similar Egyptian threat that was expressed by the Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, who said, “We reject the Qatari stance, in form and content, and there should not be any intervention in internal Egyptian affairs.”
If the Saudis were to shut their land border with Qatar, it would mean controlling Qatar entirely, because the Persian Gulf state does not have territorial access to the world except through the Saudi port, preventing it from using Saudi airspace and withdrawing the licenses of Qatar Airways to operate flights between Saudi Arabian cities.
Source: The Santos Republic, Agencies