In the 13th Al Jazeera Forum held in Doha on April 27th-28yth under the theme “The Gulf: From Crisis to Decline of Strategic Influence“, researchers, journalists, and media specialists confirmed that the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in his country’s consulate in Istanbul has further complicated the regional scene. They also praised what they described as a “critical” role played by Al Jazeera in highlighting this unprecedented crime.
This came in the third session held on the forum’s first day under the title: “The Assassination of Khashoggi: Adding to Regional Complexities”. The participants pointed out to the regional repercussions of the crime on the Yemeni conflict, by posing questions about the intentions of Saudi Arabia, which leads an Arab alliance claiming to fight the Houthis to restore Yemeni legitimacy, in a war that lasted four years without results or any prospects for its end.
Turkish journalist Ferhat Ünlü, one of the authors of “Diplomatic Atrocity: The Dark Secrets of the Khashoggi Murder”, praised Al Jazeera for its great role in the Arab world and for shedding light on Khashoggi’s case. He said that the “Diplomatic Atrocity” book in based on the description of sound recordings of the assassination team, and focuses on a series of developments that occurred after the crime, along with a number of intelligence information, pictures, and recordings that coincided with the crime. The book casts light on the details and backgrounds of the crime and reveals them to the world.
Ünlü pointed out that Khashoggi’s criticism of Saudi policies is one of the reasons for his assassination, which is unprecedented in the history of Saudi diplomacy. He maintained that murdering him after entering the consulate and smuggling his body through a diplomatic car is an unprecedented crime, indicating that the assassination team tried to race time. This crime is not just a murder, but a complex diplomatic, intelligence, and geopolitical incident, and hidden aspects of the case remain secret, including the concealment of Khashoggi’s body.
This crime has gravely affected the Saudi-Turkish relations as well as relations with the United States, especially as Khashoggi’s murder is a thorny issue that continues to bear considerable repercussions on the world scene. He pointed out that the authors of the book deliberately chose a title that combines between the contradictory terms “diplomacy” and “atrocity”, because violence is incompatible with diplomacy, and this crime merged between the two.
He noted that the Turkish leadership has managed the crisis calmly and with restraint, and was extra cautious about avoiding any leak of information, adding that the visit of some Saudi diplomats and leading figures to Turkey after the crime is not a coincidence, and that Turkish intelligence reports overshadowed the scene.
He further said that he continues to search for information and answers concerning this issue, in pursuit of concrete evidence regardless of the controversy surrounding it. He said. “This crime revealed a state that undermined all moral, human, religious and even diplomatic values, and they were aiming to extract some confessions from Khashoggi. Questions are still being raised about this crime”.
He stressed the need for the Saudi authorities to announce the location of the body or remains of Khashoggi for burial in accordance with the rules of Islamic Sharia law, adding that the whole world wants to know where his body disappeared.
Yemeni researcher Ali Al-Dahab stressed the role of free media in shedding light on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, pointing out that this was preceded by other intercontinental crimes, including the murder of Yemeni President Ibrahim Mohamed Al-Hamdi.
He stated that “The case of Khashoggi’s murder opened eyes to the conflict in Yemen, its feasibility after four years of war and its implications for economic and social security. Adding “This crime added extra proof in revealing the true face of Saudi Arabia, because its face is already exposed by crimes against the people of Yemen for decades”. He pointed out to several attempts by Saudi Arabia to occupy Yemen.
He said that Saudi Arabia’s 2030 vision would not be successful, because investments are cowardly and fear entering conflict zones or being associated with rights abuses. The world was also looking at the failure of the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and his failure in the first intelligence operation that was stillborn.
He pointed out that Saudi Arabia is looking for a base in the Red Sea region through expansion in the Yemeni territory. The region is awash with military bases, and hostility has arisen between the Arab poles because of these bases. He noted that the violation of freedoms predated the death of Khashoggi, and that this crime made the Yemenis speculate about the fate of their country after four years of war, referring to the military operations led by Saudi Arabia on the pretext of fighting the Houthis and restoring legitimacy. He said, “We started to suspect that bad intentions were hatched against Yemen after this war which lasted for four years without reaching any results.”
Al-Dahab confirmed that Saudi Arabia has historical ambitions in the Yemeni territories, and the UAE has geopolitical ambitions based on the concept of economic security, 69% of which depends on the blue economy, which means the exploitation of ports and transport industry. This explains the UAE penetration in the Horn of Africa, as its financial capabilities enables it to expand despite its limited geography.
He said that the term “great sister”, dubbed by the former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh on Saudi Arabia, was a result of chronic headache inflicted on Yemen by Saudi Arabia, a country that insists on treating Yemen as a dependent State under its control, same as Lebanon and other countries in the region.
Simon Spanswick, Chief Executive of Association for International Broadcasting (UK), said, “The assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is one of the most horrific assassination crimes that have caught the attention of the media around the world, perhaps because of the horrible manner in which it was committed. He added, “Media around the world have done a great job of uncovering the mystery of the crime”. He explaining that the Association for International Broadcasting works side by side with several media partners and institutions, including Al Jazeera, to raise awareness among media recipients about the urgent need for joint action to achieve and protect freedom of the press and help journalists carry out their mission and provide their services unhindered.
The second session entitled “The Reality of the Gulf System and the Erosion of Saudi Influence” dealt with the reality of the Gulf system, which was unable to bridge the rift between the GCC countries, after the siege of Qatar, and failed, to bridge views to resolve the crisis diplomatically, and coordinate positions to confront common security threats. The participants in this session, titled “The Reality of the Gulf system and the erosion of Saudi influence”, noted that the GCC lost all its achievements and that the major powers are the beneficiaries of the situation of division in the Arab region.
This session is part of the 13th Al Jazeera Forum, held in Doha, Qatar, on 27 and 28 April 2019, under the title “The Gulf: From Crisis to Decline of Strategic Influence”.
Former Kuwaiti MP Nasser Al-Duwailah confirmed that the mediation of the Emir of Kuwait is still in place, and that Kuwait is doing its utmost to reunite the Gulf countries after this crisis. “It seems that the issue is much deeper than we think, because the crisis would have occurred, whatever it was, it happened with Qatar and will also happen with Kuwait and Oman” He added.
Al-Duwailah pointed out that the problem of the region lies in the fact that it has a representative power in Saudi Arabia, and this regime has a philosophy of governance that is tempered by rational rulers and escalates with the expansionist rulers. The more the ruler is expansionist the more the historical vitality of the Saudi state emerges, and then the new governor begins to practice that philosophy in governance and in dealing with neighboring countries.
In order to understand the deeper and broader situation of the region, Al Duwailah explained that there is a need to find out the origins of the modern Saudi State and the accompanying events contributed to the formation of the mentality of the modern Saudi State composition, which was built on the alliance between Mohammed bin Abdul Wahab and Al-Saud. Under this agreement, Al-Sheikh takes over religious matters while leaving matters of government and politics to the Al Saud family.
Al Duwailah emphasized that the philosophy of Saudi governance was not based on the recognition of certain boundaries; the expansionist view prevailed over the philosophy of governance. Therefore, Saudi Arabia’s borders had changed and continued to change to date, and thus the philosophy of governance from the beginning was based on an expansionist philosophy and viewed the border through a fluid view.
Al-Duwailah said, “This same philosophy was behind the Saudi regime’s attack on Kuwait under the pretext of the border and then the blockade of Qatar and the escalation with Oman.” He added, “The idea of respecting the borders did not exist in the mind of the rulers of the first Saudi State and this philosophy is still prevailing. We are dealing with an expansionist State that does not recognize the Principe of borders. Therefore, understanding the current situation caused by the crisis requires a review of historical contexts that have shown that the issue is fundamentally linked to history and to the philosophy of governance, the issue has nothing to do with Aljazeera and its coverage, it is an expansionist power that will express itself whenever possible”.
Al Duwailah pointed out “The review of historical contexts has made it possible to understand today’s reality, and enabled us to see more clearly the new situation of the GCC, and we note that the second Saudi State was founded on the same previous philosophy. Therefore, it does not believe in a culture of respect for others, but want to impose its policies on other Gulf States, and I believe that we can not get out of this situation unless Saudi Arabia changed the way it deals with its neighbors in the GCC system.”
Despite all of this, Al Duwailah believes that the Gulf crisis and its effects can be resolved peacefully only in one case, namely, the existence of a Saudi regime that believes in the Gulf system and the viability of this system and believes in its crucial role in the present and future of the Gulf.
Qatari political analyst Abdul Aziz al-Ishaq said that although “there are those who say in Qatar that we have gone beyond the crisis economically, but I think we have not crossed it socially,” the Gulf is still present. He added that one of the most serious consequences of this crisis is the lack of trust, “Unfortunately, this situation resulting from the lack of trust leads us to a constant enmity, as long as governments inflame this hostility, which makes it more complicated, so that the Qatari becomes the enemy of all that is Emirati and vice versa. The large amount of hatred and hostility that the people of the region have known during this crisis has brought us to a distant point, so if a person now writes a tweet about reconciliation, you will find most Qataris against the tweet; this is what the policy of hate and hostility has achieved during the crisis.
Al-ISHAQ explained that the role of the GCC is based mainly on the fact that Saudi Arabia is the one who leads the Council and is the one who decides everything on its behalf, and this made it the dominant power and the decision maker of the GCC. The GCC countries have rejected Iran’s membership because these countries do not accept the existence of a human and military power competing with Saudi Arabia in the region.
Al-ISHAQ pointed out that talking about the achievements of the Gulf Cooperation Council is a kind of exaggeration; the most remarkable achievements of the Council was to allow the movement of individuals between the GCC countries using their ID cards”, adding that the Council lost all its achievements. On the Saudi role, AL-ISHAQ said, “The Saudi role began to erode since the border crisis with Kuwait and then the crisis with Oman and the crisis with Qatar in the 1990s, but these crises were not announced to the public”.
On the possibility of the return of the Saudi role to the former, Al-Ishaq stressed that the Saudi role cannot return as it was because of the many crises created by Saudi Arabia and plunged the countries of the region, namely the border crisis with Oman and Kuwait and the crisis of siege of Qatar. Therefore, Saudi Arabia’s role has been eroded due to Saudi policies over the past years. Al-Ishaq added that Qatar’s steadfastness in the face of the blockade was a safety valve and a guarantee for the stability of Kuwait and Oman. If Qatar succumbed then Kuwait and Oman will succumb too, while Bahrain is originally subject to the Saudi blackmail. The Bahraini decision depends on Saudi Arabia, which covers the costs of all the Bahraini economic crises.
Al-Ishaq wondered: Under the chaos and distrust that the region witnesses, who would ensure that what happened to Qatar, will not recur with another country. Pointing out that Muhammad bin Salman will govern because there are no obstacles to this, “We must think about how we can live in this new reality and amid these accelerating changes. As for the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Gulf Cooperation Council will not regain its status, and if it is restored it will be under international pressure, but it will remain, in all cases, a purely formal institution.
The researcher Mohanna Al-Hubail affirmed that the region is in a state of uncertainty, especially with regard to Saudi Arabia’s system of government. He also added, “I do not think that pushing towards the overthrow of the Gulf Cooperation Council is the solution to what this region is facing”. He said that it is very important to review the political history of the region, which refers us to the question: Have the Gulf States moved to the idea of the Nation State? Al-Hubail pointed to the role of Western research centers in the crisis and considered that the majority of these centers are subject to the Gulf money, which directs them in contradictory directions.
Al-Hubail said, “The region is now forming in two main axes, and the profile of this formation has begun to manifest itself; there is a moderating axis involving Kuwait, Qatar and Oman, and an escalating axis involving Bahrain, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. In his response to the popular hostility caused by the crisis, al-Hubail said, “We are not in a state of mass hostility despite the ugliness and filth of what some have done in the UAE… We must push for social and popular solidarity to solve the crisis”.
On the prospect of a solution to the Gulf crisis, al-Hubail added that the deficit is what will lead to the solution, and Riyadh’s failure to benefit from the tribal and social feuds directed against Qatar caused a backlash on Saudi Arabia. Thus, the recall of history played a negative role on Saudi Arabia, and Qatar benefited from it in this crisis. This contributed to Qatar’s steadfastness and popular standing alongside their leadership.
“Why is the big country ashamed of negotiating with the small country?” he wondered. ‘We believe that this strategic project is a personal project of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.” Al Hubail noted that Saudi’s inability to force Qatar to submit to its policies has led to the collapse of Saudi Arabia’s image in the world,” we must be aware that the losses of the Gulf crisis are very huge and we must push for social reform and towards a popular and civic participation in it”. He concluded.
“The Arab Spring has disrupted the new equations in the region, despite the difference in naming it, is it an Arab Spring, a revolution, or an awakening?” said Professor of sociology and director of the Institute of Social Sciences at the Lebanese University, Talal Al Atrissi. “The rise of the Arab Spring Revolutions has created a new reality in the region.” He added.
Al Atrissi pointed out that “This situation has been reflected in the Gulf system, and each party is looking for a foothold in the context of the new changes. This position has opened the appetite of some countries to play a role that they did not play before, especially Saudi Arabia; “For the first time, Saudi Arabia has been engaged in a direct war, while its role was limited to financing Agreements between the parties to the conflict. Saudi Arabia was trying to show that this is the true face of the kingdom. Today, the situation has changed, and Saudi Arabia is no longer working for this and it is not even interested in maintaining that true face. “
Speaking about the experience of ruling the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Al Atrissi explained that Saudi Arabia and the UAE were betting on the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood, so the Muslim Brotherhood’s experience was thwarted and the relationship with Iran and Hamas was severed. He added, “In the current tense situation in the Gulf, America is increasingly blackmailing and interfering more in these countries, and every country in the Gulf Cooperation Council is seeking to appease America so that it does not affect its stakes in the region,” and thus the U.S. arms deals increased.
Al Atrissi posed the following question: “What has the people of the region benefited from this situation: has the economic well-being increased? Are they satisfied with the social and sectarian status? To answer: “I don’t think so, what will these countries get in return for the demonization of Hamas? There is something strange in Saudi strategic vision, said Atrissi, “A country that wants an effective regional role must reconcile with its neighbors and build a level of trust with them”. “Certainly, the Americans are the only beneficiaries of this situation, and no doubt the Gulf leaders are not comfortable with this.” He added.
He also wondered: “Should we stay in a state of hostility with popular movements that have weight and strength? To answer: “There must be initiatives; there must be language other than threatening rhetoric, and unfortunately, the threat rhetoric is what Saudi Arabia is adopting today. Despite the Turkish-Iranian differences in Syria and other issues, there is cooperation and coordination, why does this not happen between the Gulf States and Iran so that the region avoids foreign interference?”
Khaled Rammah, a researcher at Sheba Center for Strategic Studies, Yemen said the situation in Yemen is dire and painful, pointing to Saudi Arabia’s failure to achieve its goals in Yemen. This has contributed to increasing the challenges of the security situation faced by the Gulf system, especially under the growing Iranian threat. Rammah noted that Saudi Arabia has adopted a new strategy of moving away from old allies and former allied movements towards new allies in formation. The aim of this strategy is to develop a new blueprint to confront Iran.
About the Gulf crisis, Rammah said, “the blockade of Qatar aimed at forcing Doha to agree to the deal of the century, as the blockading States were trying to force Qatar to contribute to it.” “The Gulf crisis has increased the disintegration of the region,” Rammah said, noting that the United States is the main beneficiary of the current situation and of this disintegration, and stressed that the United States is able to solve the issues of the region but does not want to do so because this situation serves its interests.
Rammah added, “There are clear U.S. policies aimed at dismantling the Gulf region in order to subjugate and blackmail its countries on the pretext that they are unable to secure themselves. This is a dangerous plan to drag the area toward him.”
The future of the Gulf crisis would depend on the strong and sincere political will of the Gulf leaders, he said, adding that the crisis could last for years because there are international players benefiting from the existing discord. Rammah pointed to the signs of the formation of two strategic poles in the region, namely: Israeli / Arab pole and an Iranian / Turkish pole.
On Saturday, 27 April 2019, Doha, Al Jazeera Centre for Studies organized a ceremony to sign the book, “The Experience of Good Governance in Qatar: Levers of Sustainable Development and Social Empowerment (1995–2013)”.The book edited by Al-Anoud Ahmed Al-Thani, is an intellectual contribution from a selected group of distinguished researchers and scholars. The ceremony was held on the sidelines of the 13th Al Jazeera forum under the theme: “The Gulf: From Crisis to Decline of Strategic Influence “and attended by researchers, experts and decision makers from a different country around the world.
The signing ceremony of the book “The experience of good governance in Qatar” was accompanied by a discussion among a group of researchers participating in the forum about its contents.
This book examines, through research and study, the internal and external policies pursued by the Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, during his reign, which lasted from 1995 to 2013, and monitors its impact on the political and social change in Qatar. The book contains an introduction, seven chapters and a conclusion.
In the introduction, the editor of the book, Anoud Ahmed Al Thani, reviewed the concept of good governance, the means to be used to bring the state and society to the concept of good governance, and also highlighted the importance of the book, its context, its curriculum and the chapters contained therein.
The first chapter, prepared by Dr. Larbi Siddiqui, professor of international relations, Qatar University, addressed the ways in which Qatar has adapted its policies and programs at the social and political levels to balance originality, which preserves societal values and modernity that enable Qatar to cope with the achievements of nowadays and benefit from progress in governance and management.
In the second chapter of the book, Dr. Omar Boubakri, professor of public Law at the Tunisian university, highlighted the sustainable development policy of the State of Qatar and its impact on the sustainability and development of resources for the current generation and future generations, adding that development requires transparency support And fight against corruption.
Dr. Hassan Al-Sayyed, professor of constitutional law at Qatar University’s Faculty of Law, presented in the third chapter of the book an analytical reading of the permanent Qatari constitution of 2004. Dr. Al Sayed discussed Qatar’s constitution in relation to the principles of good governance, based on the articles and spirit of the Constitution. This chapter attempted to answer the question of the compatibility of the permanent Constitution of the State of Qatar with the principles of good governance, by monitoring the evolution of the constitutional and legislative structure, comparing it to the permanent Constitution, the provisional statutes of 1970 and the provisional statutes amended in 1972. Dr. Al-Sayyed concluded that the permanent Constitution is a qualitative leap in comparison with the amended statute, both at the level of preparation and formulation, as well as in the level of involvement of the people in its adoption by referendum.
In the fourth chapter, Dr. Chaker Al-Houki, professor of public law at the Faculty of Economic and Political sciences in Tunisia, addressed the municipal elections in Qatar, which were organized periodically from 1999 onwards. Dr. Al-Houki described how these elections were not a step in consolidating democratic practice, as they were based on the active participation of citizens only, but also constituted an important step towards establishing good governance and modernizing society. This chapter highlighted also the ways and mechanisms for the consolidation of good governance, through democratic procedures, relating to the establishment of the right to vote and to stand for election, and the necessary guarantees of integrity and transparency, as well as through the establishment of a group of oversight bodies such as the electoral administration, the supervisory Committee and the National Committee For human rights.
In the fifth chapter, Dr. Majid Al Ansari, professor of political sociology at Qatar University, highlighted the course of social and political transformations achieved during the reign of the Father Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, in the context of the Qatar Development Project. Al-Ansari monitored the achievements of the various social, cultural, economic and political fields, particularly the accomplishments in the fields of education, the participation of women in community development and the development of civil society. Through these three areas, al-Ansari tried to touch on the influence of public policies during the reign of Emir Sheikh Hamad and its role in achieving human and sustainable development that ensures the building of a just social system that will increase human capacity, and also contribute to the consolidation of good governance and the building of a sound society.
Chapter 6 focuses on policies to empower women and foster sustainable development. Al-Anoud Ahmed Al-Thani, senior researcher and advisor at the Al Jazeera Centre for Studies, looks at the role of good governance in empowering Qatari women economically, socially and politically through the political momentum generated by Sheikh Hamad immediately upon assuming power in 1995. She describes the legislative, legal and institutional means and mechanisms the state brought to bear to empower women, enhance their social status, support their rights and advance their role in various sectors. Al-Thani links this to the Father Emir enlightened vision of the role of women in society and his support and encouragement of the efforts of Sheikha Moza bint Nasser Al-Misned in managing these issues and the institutions she supervised.
The seventh and final chapter turns to the economic policies and choices adopted by the state under the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, and their impact on development. It examines the organic relationship between these economic policies and good governance in the management of state resources and capacities to secure a dignified life for current generations and respond to their needs and the social needs of coming generations. In this chapter, Dr. Saif Al Suwaidi studied the legislation and institutional structure of economic policies, the location of the “Qatar National Vision 2030” In these policies, their areas of application and pathways and the strategic partnerships of the State of Qatar with the major economic institutions to realize the aspirations of its leadership and society.
In general, the book aims to stimulate scientific curiosity towards greater attention to the issue of good governance by highlighting the particularity of the Qatari experience. This experience offered a pioneering model in combining Qatar’s civilizational heritage with the foundations of good governance as recognized by international organizations and bodies such as the United Nations and the World Bank. This model has proven its effectiveness through the rules and mechanisms on which good governance practices were based, demonstrated by the developmental breakthrough Qatar achieved in all sectors and fields. This visionary experiment in the rationalization of governance and the sound management of society and national wealth calls for further study, in order to expose the sources of its inspiration and its strengths.
Experts and academics have agreed that the Gulf crisis will continue indefinitely because of the lack of strategic long-term treatment that determines the gains and losses from this crisis, where all parties seem to be losing. During first session, entitled ” Intra-Gulf Relations: The Blockade of Qatar, Two Years Later “, took part in the 13th Al-Jazeera Forum in Doha, Qatar. April 2019, the participants pointed out that the popular movement and recent developments in Sudan, Algeria and Libya, confirms the failure of the Gulf axis to undermine the aspirations of peoples towards freedom and dignity in the Arab Spring and the failure to find legitimacy for the systems supporting them.
Dr. Majid Al Ansari, professor of political sociology at Qatar University, stressed the importance of the Al Jazeera forum as an opportunity and a space where different ideas converge “in the light of the pressures we face in the Arab world at the political and social level.” He noted that there have been significant developments in the Gulf crisis, which brings it back to the primary focus of political analysts in the Arab world. Al Ansari warned of the danger of looking at the Gulf crisis and intra-Gulf relations as separate from its regional and international environment.
He also said, “The Gulf is part of the cycle in which the international community, which has moved from a multipolar to a unipolar world, and it is now returning to a new multi-polar world that is looming”.
Al-Ansari addressed the functional role of the Gulf and its emergence as a political unit because of the needs of Western powers in the bipolar world between the United States and the former Soviet Union and the need for the United States to a new policeman in the region to re-impose order in the post-Communist era. Al-Ansari praised the role played by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries in the war in Afghanistan and then the role that the region was supposed to play in the Iraq-Iran war, the invasion of Kuwait and the investment of Western powers in all of this to strengthen its presence in the region.
Al-Ansari pointed to what he described as a change in the image of the Gulf system–after the United States ‘ role in the international system has declined–to become an essential but not the only role. Thus, some U.S. allies have started competing far away from the U.S. direct decision and employing American influence in favor of their agenda.
Al-Ansari said that the United States has not been able in recent years to prove its ability in protecting its allies and interests directly. He added that there is a state of concern and caution among the media and intellectuals about the ongoing popular movement in the Arab region, stressing that it represents a second wave of the Arab revolutions; the current situation is only a natural consequence of the regimes’ failure to regain control of the Arab situation in general.
Al Ansari noted that the axis that wanted to eradicate the Arab Spring have succeeded in the near term but not in the long term and failed to find a state of legitimacy for the systems they support. He pointed to the differences between the waves of the Arab revolutions: The first one, the state of surprise experienced by the political systems in the Arab world, which led to the inability to take clear positions at the beginning. However, this situation of surprise is not present today, where we see a clear alignment and we know who supports the movement and who is against it and there is no ambiguity about what these forces wanted to do whether in the Gulf or elsewhere, towards any popular movement happening in the region.
He added that there is a change in the international system and its vision towards the Arab world due to the events of the first Arab Spring, which created confusion about what is happening in Sudan, Libya and Algeria. That confusion led to a division of positions between Europe and the United States.
Dr. Al Ansari focused on the importance of the strategic depth in the Gulf and not on the political situation. He said that Qatar’s position in support of the aspirations of the peoples and the position of other countries supporting the counter-revolutions today is based on alignment. The second wave of the Arab Spring in Sudan, Algeria, and Libya will lead to a return to the first square where the Gulf States will have to return to their intellectual and principled bases in order to deal with the Arab popular movement.
Dr. Mohamed Mokhtar Al-Shanqiti, Professor of political ethics at Hamad bin Khalifa University, said: Qatar has used the wise power to deal with the Gulf crisis. He pointed out that this concept is based on the Arab concept of wisdom, a concept that the state of Qatar is dealing with during the current crisis.
He spoke about the different concepts of power and how to apply them to Qatar, as well as to understand many of the developments in our world today. He explained that there are a number of definitions of the concept of power, such as soft power, tactful power and sharp power, as well as another concept that is sometimes used in the world of finance and business, which is the concept of wise power.
He pointed out that the concept of soft power is the invention of the strategic thinker, Joseph Nye, Dean of Harvard Kennedy School, which means the ability to use the power of persuasion rather than the power of coercion. He noted that Joseph Nye had made occasional references to Qatar in his book entitled “Soft Power,” compared it to Singapore and focused on Al Jazeera as a soft power.
Dr. Al-Shanqiti referred to other writers who spoke about the tactful power of Qatar, which is softer than soft power. He said, “The concept of sharp power means illegal attempts by some countries to influence other countries. Dr. Al- Shanqiti pointed out that this concept applies to the blockading countries that tried to penetrate the state of Qatar through the piracy of the Qatar News Agency”.
Dr. Sami Faraj, a specialist in crisis management and strategic planning from Kuwait, predicted that the Gulf crisis would continue indefinitely because it is being handled in purely political ways and has not been exposed to strategic aspects. He stressed that the role of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Kuwaiti diplomacy is to maintain the stability of the crisis and prevent the development of the crisis to military action. He added, “so far, things are under control”.
In addressing the dynamics of the current Gulf crisis, Faraj explained that it should be highlighted from a perspective: what is the constant and what is the variable? Is what is happening now constant? Stressing that the crisis remains a variable, the relationship between the rising powers in the Gulf avoids the trap of the necessity of conflict. He talked about the small countries in the GCC and the interest gained from entering into this alliance. He also mentioned the principle of profit and loss, questioning the motives for Qatar, Kuwait and Oman to join the GCC, whether because of their fear of Iran or the neighboring country within the GCC and the need to enter into a truce with Saudi Arabia or Cooperate with it in order to balance the relationship with Iran.
Faraj said: The Gulf crisis will continue because its treatment is purely political and not exposed to strategic aspects, explaining that Kuwait played a role in the crisis from a strategic standpoint and conceived the crisis in October 2017, “We said: The crisis will last two years due to strategic aspects and other multiple standards “.
He added, “We live in a situation that has evolved in the Cooperation Council with some countries feeling the euphoria of victory in the Arab Spring countries, although it is a poor victory. Therefore, they decided to form an alliance with an agenda that transcends the Gulf and the Arab world, including the formation of an Arab NATO that is not supported by an economy, structure or strategic planning, but a strategic flop.
He pointed out that there is an ecstasy among the intelligence agencies in these countries and they believe that they can intervene in large countries such as Egypt and Libya. He stressed the need to pay attention to the criteria of profit and loss. Then to assess the feasibility of maintaining this situation or whether the crisis needs to seek other solutions. Pointing to the political and military variable, he consider China as the biggest variable, giving its presence in the region and its role in changing the economic rules in the world.
Dr. Rory Miller, Professor of Government at Georgetown University in Qatar, said: “We didn’t have to surprise about the siege of Qatar, because there were signs that preceded this decision. And also because of the emergence of a new generation of young leaders in Saudi Arabia and other countries who tried to review their power and expand their influence in Qatar and other Middle East countries, through Different alliances and marginalizing opponents through resorting to violence and other tools “.
Dr. Miller wondered: How has Qatar managed to overcome the conflict? To answer: one of the first responses was lnked to the initiative of the State of Qatar to build bridges with the United States and Turkey. Then Qatar used its economic power intelligently, although it is not as rich as the blockading States, but it used its resources wisely and used the energy sector as an entity that avoids Marginalization and isolation.
“Qatar has strengthened its national identity and maneuvered to play a key role in the social cohesion that stands behind the leader,” Miller said. Qatar has also enhanced its long-term positioning, unlike short-term positioning, which is rarely done by smaller countries, and Qatar’s thinking was proactive and strategic through the conclusion of agreements at the end of the 1990s, and as the blockade began, those signed agreements showed their efficacy.
On the security side, Dr. Miller pointed to the emergency change in the regional security structure and the inability of the Gulf countries to respond to the threats. Hence, questions were asked about how these countries could reach agreements to meet the challenges that threatened the region.
He explained that although the Gulf countries have previously succeeded in preventing the militarization of conflicts for four decades, today’s politicians in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have not respect those achievements and have taken the initiative to launch failed military adventures.
Dr. Miller said, “In the past, the Gulf states have decided to strengthen their security agreement by relying on the deep bonds that bring their people together.” And he added, “Prior to the blockade, the leaders of the GCC were convinced that the region should be a peace spot, but today, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi do not care about the GCC system, and those countries have been unable to strengthen their defense systems in return, and there is a huge failure to provide an alternative to the Defense Cooperation Council system.
On the stakes of a US role in protecting the Gulf region, Dr. Miller cautioned that the United States has neither legitimacy nor the desire to play a role in enforcing security in the region. Hence, Washington is now demanding an end to the blockade, talking about an Arab NATO, and trying to find an alternative to the Gulf defense system.