It is time to present all the evidence against Qatar
The first public mention of the new principles regarding Qatar adopted by the Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) came when UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem Al-Hashimy held a press conference discussing developments in the Gulf crisis.
The conference took place at the headquarters of the UAE mission in New York earlier this month in the presence of representatives of the other countries involved in the diplomatic dispute.
Speaking at the press conference, Saudi Arabia’s UN Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi said Arab countries insisted that any future mediation should be based on the six principles agreed upon at a meeting of foreign ministers in Cairo on July 5. This was the first public reference to these principles. Some consider this update as a weakening in the position of the ATQ, while Qatar considers the position a victory.
Yet a close reading of these six principles, and their comparison with the 13 earlier demands made by the ATQ, show no significant differences in content between the two. The language of the six principles is less acute, but my view is that they are a more diplomatic translation of the original 13 demands. Qatar’s commitment to the principles — if they commit — will lead to the same result. The main objective is to prevent Qatar from supporting terrorism and to stop it interfering in other states’ affairs, something clearly expressed in the six principles.
It was necessary for the ATQ to be flexible, while adhering to the essence of its main objective in raising the concerns. This position coincided with another move, when Egypt’s representative in the Security Council (of which the country is a year-long member) accused the Qatari government of pursuing a “pro-terrorism” policy that violates UN Security Council resolutions. The representative, Ehab Mohamed Mostafa Fawzy, said “it is shameful that the 15-member council does not hold Qatar accountable” for its policy of supporting terrorism policy.
Fawzy added: “This disgraceful situation can not continue … Council decisions must be effective and stop any violation or breach.”
There is an urgent need to document Doha’s series of violations of international law and its support for terrorist groups.
A number of Egyptian diplomats believe that the best framework for tackling the Qatari case internationally is the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC), an international mechanism of the Security Council established after 9/11. The CTC calls upon states to implement measures to prevent the harboring or support of terrorists, to encourage the exchange of information between countries about individuals and terrorist groups, and to cooperate with other governments to investigate, seize, arrest, exchange and prosecute those involved in terrorism.
It is clear from the review of these points that Qatar is in flagrant violation of the resolutions of the Security Council. Anti-terrorism states must reveal this to the international community, demand punishment and take legal action to initiate a major compensation case. There is an urgent need to issue a document that details the series of violations of international law by Qatar and its support for terrorist groups. Doha’s foreign policy harms the interests of its Arab neighbors and even global security, and its inability to resolve these issues has made it responsible for this latest crisis.
Qatar’s support for dubious groups was evident in Libya in 2011, when Doha supported the most radical groups against Muammar Qaddafi and even supplied them with sophisticated anti-tank weapons in violation of the UN arms embargo at the time. To this day, Qatar continues to support groups associated with extremists in Libya. Qatar’s support for extremist groups in Syria is also very clear; the US Treasury reported last February that terrorist financiers continue to operate publicly in Qatar.
Doha also has a seemingly blind support for movements linked to the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the region. As soon as opposition groups turned against the Muslim Brotherhood in the early stages of the so-called Arab Spring, Qatar took a completely different course from its neighbors, and began to support the group openly. Qatar has been supporting the Brotherhood for many years, during which time the dangers of the Brotherhood have become clear to many. It is time to reveal the facts with documents and evidence for the whole world to see.
• Abdellatif El-Menawy is a critically acclaimed multimedia journalist, writer and columnist who has covered war zones and conflicts worldwide. He can be reached on Twitter @ALMenawy