Kuwait summit survived, Doha did not
What is between these countries is more than a dispute, it is a clear animosity. Just one day before Kuwait’s summit, Qatar showed this animosity through its support of the Houthis in their war against the Yemenis and Saudis. On Monday, Qatar supported the Houthis when they killed former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh because he decided to join the coalition with Saudi Arabia. It was one of the strangest chapters in the history of the GCC since its inception in 1981.
Out of respect for Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the three countries did not boycott the GCC summit in Kuwait, despite the tendency in the past few weeks to not want to sit with Qatar, which violated the conventions of the GCC and dishonored the commitments it signed in Riyadh with the mediation and witness of the Kuwaiti emir himself.
The symbolic attendance of the three countries was a clear message that the summit is the only common political activity between the boycotting countries and the state of Qatar, and it may not recur. The summit survived the boycott guillotine, which involved almost all forms of ties between Qatar and the three countries, and the GCC was saved from collapse in its worst test to date.
The continuation of Qatar in the GCC, and the gathering of the four foes in the summit, which was the shortest in the history of GCC summits, may send the wrong messages. Some may think that the area of dispute has shrunk, which is not true; while others may think that the demands can be overridden, which is not true either.
The Qatari government, which is promoting through its media that convening the summit with the presence of Doha was a success for Qatar, reinforces the view of the Anti-Terror Quartet countries that Qatar has not changed, and will not change, and there is no justification for reconciliation with it, and consequently these countries have the right to continue their boycott of this state.
Since the start of the crisis, Qatar has not shown any change in its aggressive activities against the four countries — Egypt and the three Gulf countries. In fact, it is very active in Yemen — financing, appointing, and offering media coverage for Houthis who are responsible for bombing and killing Saudis in their own country.
The symbolic attendance by three member states was a message that the GCC meeting is the only common political activity between the boycotting countries and Qatar.
It is vital that we understand the true picture: Qatar is a partner in war and aggression in Yemen, which makes its survival in the GCC against the very foundations on which it was established. Its treacherous conduct has increased, and it has continued its support of the enemies of Saudi Arabia and the three other countries.
The activities of Qatar in Yemen against the coalition will extend the dispute, and may make it even worse. And if the leadership of Doha thinks it can tactically use the war in Yemen, through using the enemies of Saudi Arabia to pressurize the Kingdom, it is making an even bigger mistake, because it is provoking its foes to respond in a more forceful way than just boycott, which is the only method they have used so far.
Killing Ali Abdullah Saleh is an escalation that will not discourage the coalition countries from continuing the war and purging Yemen of the Houthi militias, the agents of Iran and Qatar. The coalition countries believe that the alliance with the Houthis is similar to the alliance with other terrorist organizations, such as Daesh and Al-Qaeda, which justifies the pursuit of the sponsoring countries.
On Tuesday, the Summit of Kuwait passed quickly, and Sheikh Jaber managed to save the GCC from collapse, but the 50-minute summit almost failed to convene due to the provocative propaganda of Doha that preceded the summit by a week.
• Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is a veteran columnist. He is the former general manager of Al Arabiya news channel, and former editor in chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, where this article is also published. Twitter: @aalrashed
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