In an abrupt reversal, the head of the Gulf Cooperation Council has denied voicing words of support for Qatar in its latest war of words with Egypt.
Instead, in his latest statement GCC secretary-general Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani has firmly thrown the Gulf bloc’s support behind Egypt.
Early Thursday, Qatar announced it was recalling its ambassador to Cairo “for consultations” over remarks made by Egypt’s delegate to the Arab League, Tariq Adel.
Qatar had expressed reservations about a joint Arab League communique that welcomed Egypt’s retaliatory air strikes in Libya after ISIL fighters in the North African country executed 21 Egyptian Christians.
Qatar’s position is that there should be consultations between Arab League members before one country launches unilateral military action that could result in civilian casualties in another member state, Saad bin Ali Al Mohannadi, director of Qatar’s Arab affairs department, said in a statement yesterday.
Those sentiments prompted an angry outburst by Adel, who accused Qatar of “constantly taking stances opposing Egypt” and embracing a “supportive stance of terrorism.”
The GCC appeared to quickly back Qatar in what would have been a sharp pivot for an organization whose most powerful members had sought to isolate Doha and pressured it to mend fences with Cairo only a few months earlier.
Initially, GCC secretary-general Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani weighed in to denounce the remarks as “false and baseless.”
He added that such accusations “ignored the sincere efforts of the State of Qatar along with other GCC and Arab countries to combat terrorism and extremism at all levels.”
Late on Thursday, however, Al Zayani denied ever making those remarks. In a statement that made no mention of Qatar, Al Zayani said:
“The GCC countries also support all military actions taken by Egypt against terrorist groups in Libya, following the barbaric act carried out by the Daesh terrorist group.”
‘Freedom to act’
The fluid GCC position notwithstanding, this week’s events show that Qatar has a greater ability to forge an independent policy towards Egypt than in recent months, said David Roberts, a lecturer at King’s College London and author of the upcoming book Qatar: Securing the Global Ambitions of a City State.
Roberts added that there are signs suggesting that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who took power following King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud’s death last month, is not as preoccupied with Egyptian relations as his predecessor.
This, combined with the resolution of last year’s GCC dispute and progress toward freeing the Al Jazeera journalists imprisoned in Cairo, gives Qatar much more freedom to act as it wishes, Roberts said.
“It’s quite cost-free to Qatar to withdraw their ambassador,” he said.
Nearly a year ago, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE withdrew their ambassadors from Doha for several months.
The move was widely interpreted as a show of disapproval for Qatar’s foreign policy, specifically its support for the Muslim Brotherhood – an organization Saudi Arabia and the UAE both view as a threat to their own authority.
That dispute officially came to end in November with the signing of a new accord. In the following weeks, Saudi Arabia’s late leader, King Abdullah, pushed Qatar and Egypt to reconcile their differences.
Roberts added that Egypt has been engaged in the Libyan conflict for months and that it is unlikely the government suddenly discovered a trove of high-value targets. He called the aerial bombings launched as retaliation for ISIL’s executions “a bit of a farce.”
“Egypt had to do something … (but) Qatar said they shouldn’t just bomb things willy-nilly.”
Qatar’s concerns appear to be supported by footage aired by Al Jazeera that purports to show civilian casualties in Libya.
Roberts said that while the flare-up in tensions between Qatar and Egypt set reconciliation efforts between the two countries back, it likely doesn’t shift a significant policy shift.
“Egyptians have never trusted Qatar in recent years … and from Qatar’s perspective, what do they care about relations with Egypt?” he said.
“They only thing they get is a bill to send aid to Egypt.”
The conflict has more to do with economics than political ideology and religion.
Can you please provide sources? Can’t find anything online so far, even Arabic news sources did not report this. I mean, I should think that Egyptian media outlets would have grabbed the story so far…
Was surprised to hear the same. Inshallah it works out …
GCC, with the Maghreb Arab Union, are probably the two most useless regional bodies in the world.
MAU, true. GCC, no.
Both of them failed to make the dream of the union (a powerful, efficient one) a concrete project because of backward strategies and management. But I concede that the Maghreb Union is much worse than the GCC. It is actually only a name for now with no real prerogatives.
I guess no one like’s being called out on killing civilians, makes it harder to win the next election…oh wait
well I don’t care .. unless someone cares about my Noc my rent .. and so on
Well this matters to Qataris, Egyptians and Arabs in general (at least those who follow political developments in the region). Your NOC, rent and other stuff is none of their business. And by the way, if you are not happy you are more than welcome to take the first plane back home.
And when we all go home……?
He didn’t think THAT comment through.
All y’all won’t go home. If you do, someone else will fill your shoes. You don’t get this kind of money back home and you know that. By “you” I mean the collective you of your countrymen.
Just this week it was reported that firms are having great difficulty attracting highly skilled workers leading to many infrastructure projects being delayed. And what are you suggesting anyway…that getting a good salary entitles an employer/system to treat you like brown stuff?
The Earth will still be rotating…
any time :)))
For everyone of you going home, there are 10 people ready to do the job. But the fact is you wont go home. Just keep malong npise sitting here with your empty threats. Just take the flight and leave.
i feel pity for people like you ..you think because you support them in Doha news you all get life time visa ? wait for your turn to be kicked out of this country
No. When I am not happy anymore I take my bags and fly to another place.
Have you heard of the phrase ‘you sound like a broken record’ ?
u are right bro Egyptian to much problem this moment qatar.. they shut be kick out this country
Come on Yacine! Can you please edit your comment to take out the go home part? Deleting the rest of the ‘go home’ thread – so cliched and off-topic.
Done, though it is a bit unfair.
It is unfair to open up a discussion about whether people who don’t like it here should leave on an article that’s about Egypt and Qatar relations.
What is unfair is the seemingly erratic and biased way in which you deliver your moderation services. Have you ever had a neutral outside party audit your deletion history? I think that it might show some interesting patterns. How much time do you spend self-reflecting on what gets called out and what doesn’t?
she did the right thing
Maybe she did, maybe she didn’t.Your opinion on the topic is of no account, nor is mine – the power is all in her hands, which is why she needs be seen as being more professional.
It would help her credibility a lot if she referred to the specific article of the term of services when she deletes. When she doesn’t do that, it adds to her growing reputation for bias.
There is no ‘term of services,’ there’s a comment policy that we’ve formulated to keep the online discussions on track. Moderation is not an exact science, so the decision to delete/keep comments is always going to be open for interpretation.
Comment policy then, regardless, I agree with the idea that it isn’t an exact science, but the interpretation varies so much. It seems to depend on the topic and the alignment of the stars that particular day. For example, what is a ‘troll’. What constitutes troll behavior? This is nowhere discussed in the policy. Clarity and transparency can only be good things, but unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to happen as much as it should.
I point out politely and clearly that comment policy seems to be erratic and based far too much on personal perception and you consider that troll behavior? There have been no personal attacks on you, just critique and comment of moderation performance – that is perfectly fair. Response so far seem to be overly thin-skinned and not even be willing to engage in conversation on performance.
Deleting for being a troll.
Yes Yacine, write whatever you want but not a different view than us. After all this is a free press and we are open to all opinions.
Deleted for being a troll.
GCC seems to be moving to nowhere. I predict an emerging rift between the “shadow troublemaker” – UAE, and regional heavyweight – KSA. Needless to say that KSA’s new leadership needs to reassert itself and counter the growing ambitions of the “shadow troublemaker”. I don’t think that the regional block will survive another rift.
The ultimate winners will be the US and European (for GCC) as well as Russian and Chinese (for Egypt) military contractors. The list of “winners” offers an interesting hint to what may happen next…
Why is UAE the shadow troublemaker?
Wait, I thought that most agreed that Qatar was the shadow troublemaker?
Probably because of this https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/09/25/uae-qatar-camstoll-group/
The ‘ultimate winner’ in all of this is Iran. Now we just have to hope we’re not associated with these clowns in the GCC if Iran decides to capitalize on the instability in the GCC and Emirati/Saudi doltishness.
The Qataris should be playing the long game here. If the U.S.-Iran deal goes through, the need for a U.S. airbase in Qatar drops. No U.S. airbase and suddenly Qatar must contend with the Arab world without that shield. Better to build bridges with big states like Egypt than to try to win morality points by appearing to be holier-than-thou.
Yes, Iran will definitely stick to the deal because they pinky swore…
It is naive to assume that that US military installations in the region will disappear with Iranian issue.
In my view, key to “relations” with Egypt are in Abu Dhabi. This, in turn, means that “building bridges” will not be easy. Egypt is not foreseen to afford an independent foreign policy anytime soon.
Certainly the al-Nayhans have the upper hand in Cairo, but the disagreement is over the issue of political Islam at its heart. Most GCC states want to wipe out political Islam; Qatar is the lone holdout. But the al-Thanis ought to realize nothing but good relations with their bigger neighbors will give them the long-term security they want. Islamists are a terrible ally; they often bite the hand that feeds them. The Americans aren’t much better; they ditch nations they have no use for as soon as a new president comes along. Better to just conform to the tide of the GCC.
I agree that the rulers in UAE and KSA consider any type of political dissent to be of great danger. I also agree that neither terrorists nor Americans can/should be banked upon in the long run.
However, UAE must also learn how to live with a neighbor with opposite opinion. Crushing Qatar to follow the mainstream (a.k.a. UAE/KSA) is not a good idea.
But should then Qatar keep supporting political Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood and certain militias in Syria? It seems the only way forward for the region is to secularize politics. Religious parties haven’t had much success. If Qatar is genuinely interested in reform, supporting the (extremely weak) Arab secularists is probably the best bet.
The answer is simple, let people decide whom they prefer – be it Christian Dem Party in Germany, zionist in Israel or Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Unfortunately, certain GCC members perceived Egyptian democracy as a threat…
So, let’s not get bogged into who prays who, and let’s simply respect people’s choice. That way is the best for GCC and the rest of Arab world. Well, then again, it is only my opinion.
GCC support, or lack of it, will not deter Qatar’s foreign policies. The rest of the GCC and Egypt are all backward countries in comparison; ticking time bombs of unrest. I think I would take Turkey and USA as allies over Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
When you speak about Qatar foreign policy you actually should say US foreign policy or does anyone seriously believe that Qatar conducts an independent foreign policy?
Couldn’t the same be said of any small country in the world? Would you rather Qatar be soaking up more Saudi influence? I personally don’t want to see the criminalization of female drivers.
No definitely not Saudi! But how about independent but that surely is an illusion if you think about how rich Qatar is. But you are right, small countries will hardly eve be able to avoid being under the radar of the powerful nations. If just it would be a good influence for making the world a better place and making humanity profit from the wealth of a few nations then I think powerful nations should have an influence. But again…. Illusions
Qatar has the right to withdraw its Ambassador and Egypt has its own right to retaliate for such a vicious act.Unfortunately ISIL has women/children and innocent residents in the areas it has overtaken and that may be the only thing now that is holding all the powers it has irritated from just surrounding the areas and systematically destroying what lies inside that area(s).
its not gonna make a difference, as long as the Arabs are divided and Israel is doing what it wants with the Palestinians, destroying Palestinian homes, building illegal settlements.