Qatar’s Embassy to Canada Statement on the Occasion of Eight Months since Qatar’s Siege was imposed by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, U.A.E. and Egypt

Qatar’s Embassy to Canada Statement on the Occasion of

Eight Months since Qatar’s Siege

was imposed by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, U.A.E. and Egypt

 

Two Recent Significant Developments in GCC Crisis:

 

Inaugural of the United States-Qatar Strategic Dialogue

Qatar and the United States held their inaugural Strategic Dialogue in Washington D.C. on January 30th, 2018, which highlighted the strength of their bilateral relationship and underscored the strength of their ties and established a shared vision for the future of their strategic partnership.  The following are some excerpts from the US-Qatar Joint Statement at the conclusion of the Strategic Dialogue:

  • Qatar and the United States discussed the Gulf crisis and expressed the need for an immediate resolution which respects Qatar’s sovereignty. 
  • The two governments expressed concern about the harmful security, economic and human impacts of the crisis.  Concern was also expressed over peace and stability in the Gulf and adherence to international law. 
  • The United States acknowledged Qatar's generous humanitarian role bilaterally and multilaterally through the work of various UN agencies, in supporting forcibly displaced populations, and in assisting refugees including millions of vulnerable young children and women. 
  • Qatar and the United States emphasized the vital contribution their defense partnership provides for the security and stability of the region.  This cooperation is key to successfully combatting terrorism, countering violent extremism, and deterring external aggression. 
  • U.S. officials lauded Qatar’s contributions in supporting the sizeable U.S. military presence in Qatar under the U.S. Central Command.
  • The United States expressed its readiness to work jointly with Qatar to deter and confront an external threat to Qatar’s territorial integrity that is inconsistent with the UN Charter.
  • The United States welcomed Qatar’s offer to expand critical facilities at U.S. bases in the country.  Qatari funding of capital expenditures and sustainment offers the possibility of an enduring presence, as with U.S. facilities in Europe and the Pacific.  The two governments acknowledged the strong and lasting bilateral security partnership, and look forward to further discussions on the possibility of permanent basing.
  • Both sides intend to strengthen their security and counterterrorism partnership to eradicate terrorism and violent extremism.   They reviewed the positive progress made under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding on Counterterrorism signed on July 11, 2017, including with respect to information sharing, countering the financing of terrorism, aviation security, and capacity building. 
  • The United States thanked Qatar for its action to counter terrorism and violent extremism in all forms, including by being one of the few countries to move forward on a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding with the United States.
  • Qatar and the United States signed various Memoranda of Understanding and Letters of Intent in the fields of bilateral trade, investment, and technology.  They welcomed the United States’ Commercial Law Development Program’s partnership with the Ministry of Finance, and officials signed a Letter of Intent on cybersecurity cooperation and a Letter of Intent on smart technologies collaboration. The two governments expressed their mutual desire to further strengthen their bilateral relations in the energy sector, signing a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance cooperation between Qatar and the United States. 

 

First-time UN documentation of Siege Countries Human Rights Violation

  • The Technical Mission of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), issued in December 2017, a report detailing the siege countries human rights violations against the media, freedom to expression, movement, communications, families, economic and property rights, health and education, after concluding a visit to Qatar between Nov. 17 and 24, with a mandate to investigate the humanitarian repercussions of Qatar’s siege on Qatari citizens, residents and Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) citizens living in Qatar.
  • The report affirmed that the measures adopted by the siege countries are arbitrary and unilateral and explicitly violate international law, the principles of international relations and human rights conventions.
  • The report refuted the siege countries’ claims that their measures differentiate between Qatar’s Government and its citizens and residents.
  • The report concluded the ongoing debate on whether it is a diplomatic blockade or a siege, as it stated the actions taken against the State of Qatar exceeded the limits of a diplomatic blockade and it describes the economic measures as an "economic war".
  • The report stressed the negative and dangerous impact of unilateral measures on individuals and the psychological impact on the population, which was exacerbated by campaigns of incitement, media defamation and hate campaigns against Qatar, its leadership and its people.
  • The report stated that there is no evidence of any legal decisions motivating the various measures taken, and due to the lack of any legal recourse for most individuals concerned, these measures can be considered as arbitrary.
  • The report affirmed positively that the government of Qatar has not taken any reprisals against the citizens of the countries of blockade operating in Qatar, and did not deal or reciprocate on the violations.
  • The report stated that the siege countries refused to allow the UN technical missions to visit their countries.The following were among the UN report’s final findings and observations:
    • The team found that the unilateral measures, consisting of severe restrictions of movement, termination and disruption of trade, financial and investment flows, as well as suspension of social and cultural exchanges imposed on the State of Qatar, had immediately translated into actions applying to nationals and residents of Qatar, including citizens of KSA, UAE and Bahrain.
    • Many of these measures have a potentially durable effect on the enjoyment of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of those affected. As there is no evidence of any legal decisions motivating these various measures, and due to the lack of any legal recourse for most individuals concerned, these measures can be considered as arbitrary. These actions were exacerbated by various and widespread forms of media defamation and campaigns hated against Qatar, its leadership and people.
    • The majority of the measures were broad and non-targeted, making no distinction between the Government of Qatar and its population. In that sense, they constitute core elements of the definition of unilateral coercive measures as proposed by the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee: “the use of economic, trade or other measures taken by a State, group of States or international organizations acting autonomously to compel a change of policy of another State or to pressure individuals, groups or entities in targeted States to influence a course of action without the authorization of the Security Council”. Moreover, measures targeting individuals on the basis of their Qatari nationality or their links with Qatar can be qualified as non-disproportionate and discriminatory.
    • The considerable economic impact of the crisis takes over the dimension of an economic warfare, with significant financial losses for the State, companies and individuals, and the confidence of investors being eroded.
    • The shock of the decision and the immediate and serious effect of unilateral coercive measures on many individuals have had a major psychological impact on the overall population. This has been exacerbated by a hostile media campaign that flared up from early June and is ongoing.
    • The majority of cases (of those affected by the siege) remain unresolved and are likely to durably affect the victims, particularly those having experienced family separation, loss of employment or who have been barred from access to their assets.

       

      Background of the GCC Crisis

      On June 5, 2017, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt closed their air, sea and land borders and cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar. Their measures led to an unprecedented regional crisis and included among other things:

      1. Closure of Qatar’s only land border with Saudi Arabia, effectively blocking all food, medicine and other supplies exported by land to Qatar.
      2. Closure of air space and maritime territories to Qatari flights and shipments, and suspending air and sea links with Qatar within 24 hours.
      3. Banning Saudi, Bahraini and UAE citizens from travelling to Qatar, ordering those in Qatar to leave within 14 days and ordering Qataris to leave the three countries.
      4. Enacting laws that punish any on-line support for Qatar by their citizens with fines and prison sentences that range between 3-15 years.
      5. Banning the operation and broadcasting of Qatari media (such as Qatar TV, Al-Jazeera and Bein Sport) and blocking any access to their websites.
      6. Exercising helpless attempts to incite regime change in Qatar, through direct calls from some of the siege countries’ government officials, propaganda campaigns and by funding failed related events, while simultaneously bringing back the Dark Ages of tribes in our region through creating pressure on tribes linked to other tribes in Qatar, as well as using religious discourse as the most dangerous means against a neighboring people and country.
      7. Blackmailing and exercising whatever kind of leverage on countries especially in Africa and Southeast Asia to join their campaign against Qatar.
      8. Since the beginning of the crisis Qatar detected some possibilities for military activity, whether its invasion or intervention or maybe by different means. On 22 January 2018, the New York Times quoted two American officials saying “that Saudi and Emirati leaders mulled possible military action against Qatar. The precise details were unclear, but the talk was deemed serious enough for US Secretary of State to personally warn the Saudi and Emirati leaders against precipitous action. President Trump later repeated that advice in a call to Saudi leaders”.

         

        Hacking of QNA Website

  • The above measures were preceded by a fierce media campaign by the four countries that started with the hacking of Qatar’s News Agency (QNA) website on May 24, by attributing fabricated statements to His Highness the Emir of Qatar.
  • Qatar immediately communicated that QNA was hacked and launched an investigation into the hacking with the assistance of the FBI and UK's National Crime Agency (NCA), thus allowing due process and avoiding rushing into judgements or accusations.
  • This joint investigation resulted in confirming the hacking of QNA by the U.A.E. in a clear violation of international law and GCC bilateral and collective agreements.
  • The fact that UAE orchestrated the hacking in order to post incendiary false quotes aimed at sparking regional upheaval, was confirmed again by senior U.S. intelligence officials on 16 and 18 July 2017, as quoted by the Washington Post and NBC News, adding that newly analyzed information gathered by U.S. intelligence agencies confirmed that senior members of the UAE government discussed on 23 May 2017, this plan and its implementation. Furthermore, on 22 January 2018, the New York Times quoted a United States official citing briefings from intelligence officials saying “The smoking gun leads to Abu Dhabi, the seat of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. There is no ambiguity. The Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, had prior knowledge of the ruse and had signaled his approval”.
  • Media revelations also touched upon former fact distortion campaigns carried out by the UAE around the world, including here in Canada, through direct communications and substantial funds sent from UAE’s Ambassador in Washington to a former Canadian Al Jazeera’s journalist who has been utilized since then as reported on July 1, by the New York Times. NBC News also stated on 19 January 2018 that SCL Social Limited (the parent company of Cambridge Analytica) filed documents with the U.S. Justice Department's Foreign Agents Registration Unit disclosing $333,000 in payments by the UAE for a 2017 social media campaign aimed at linking Qataris to terrorism.

    Real Aims behind Qatar’s Seige

  • The real aims behind Qatar’s siege are not related to the siege countries’ claims of combatting terrorism, but changing the governing system in the State of Qatar, imposing their guardianship to undermine Qatar’s sovereignty, depleting its financial resources to subject the Government and People of Qatar to the siege countries’ wishes and policies.
  • Qatar's national, regional and international bias towards human rights, public opinion and the right of peoples to self-determination is one of the most important reasons for attempts to impose guardianship on Qatar, and to influence its foreign policy independence and its media.
  • The siege countries’ insistence on closing Al Jazeera News Network, which is an ethical news outlet that proved its worth over 20 years, at a time when only the voice of governments were heard, clearly reflects the siege countries aim of targeting the freedom of speech and expression in the region, which led to wide scale condemnation from the international community, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters without Borders, UN High Commissioner of Human Rights and the Committee to Protect Journalists.
  • Hindering Qatar’s strong and fast pace development was another aim of the siege countries, as Qatar has the highest per capita GDP in the world, ranks first in the Arab world and 33rd in the world in the field of human development, first in the world in most efficient government according to the world economic forum, first regionally in countering administrative corruption and the adoption of judicial procedures to protect the rule of law, first in the world in terms of confidence in political decision making and second in the level of efficiency of the legislative system. Qatar is also home to the highest proportion of employed women in the Gulf region and women outnumber men in university education. Qatar’s development was also witnessed through freedom of worship with its construction of the largest church in the Gulf region, and with its hosting for the first time in the Middle East and North Africa region of the BBC's "Doha Debates" where no government, official body or broadcaster has any control over what is said at the sessions or who is invited, which created a forum for dialogue that challenged the status quo, again, something unprecedented in the region.
  • US-based investigative news website The Intercept revealed on 9 November 2017, that it found a plan for the UAE to manipulate Qatar's economy and strip the country of the 2022 football World Cup in the email account of the UAE ambassador to the United States. Qatar was already alerted to this issue in July and decided to re-examine it following the media reports, by launching an investigation through its various entities, including the central bank, to work on confirming and identifying these reports.

 

Humanitarian Implications of Qatar’s Siege

  • Around 26,000 violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were recorded as a result of violations of the siege imposed by the four countries against the State of Qatar, as approximately 11,387 Saudi, UAE and Bahraini citizens living in Qatar, and 1927 Qatari citizens living in the three countries were affected by these harsh measures that amounted to collective punishment, and more than 12,000 cases were recorded of husbands, wives, and children who were separated as a result of these measures.
  • HE the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, voiced his alarm over the impact of these measures on human rights, describing them as too wide in scope and implementation and seriously impede the lives of thousands of women, children and men only because they belong to one of the nationalities of the countries involved in the conflict.
  • Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and several other prominent international NGO’s also voiced their alarm over the humanitarian impact of the siege.
  • The introduction of special legislation in the siege countries that would punish anyone who sympathizes with Qatar or tweets his support to Qatar with a fine and imprisonment between 3-15 years, led to the arrest of many citizens in the three Gulf states, as even wearing a Barcelona fan jersey was prohibited due to the inscription “Qatar Airways”. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also expressed concern over the threat to imprison and fine anyone who sympathizes with Qatar or opposes his government’s actions, describing these measures as a clear violation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
  • No Qatari resident was able to perform Hajj last year and even Qataris who were trying to follow up on their formal businesses were forced to sign a document stating that they were pilgrims and they shouldn’t leave before the end of Hajj season, as Qataris in general were unable to perform Hajj or Umrah this year due to the refusal of the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umra to communicate with Qatar’s Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs to ensure the safety of Qatari pilgrims and facilitate their pilgrimage, especially when considering the hate speech directed against Qataris in Saudi media and the threats of prison and fines against anyone who sympathises with Qatar.
  • The siege countries’ measures against Qatari students represented a clear violation to the right of education, as discrimination was crystal clear against Qataris, which led Qatar to submit a complaint to UNESCO and international accreditation institutions regarding these violations. As an example UAE universities refused to even provide Qatari deported students with documents that prove their study record, while the opposite is the case in Qatar were citizens of the three Gulf Siege countries continue to study in Qatar freely and without any restriction.

     

    Qatar’s Reaction towards the Siege Countries’ Unjust Measures

  • Qatar pursued a policy of self-restraint, moderate response, and dealt with the Gulf crisis professionally and efficiently and with deliberate political and diplomatic steps that have won the respect and support of the international community which rejected the violations of the siege countries against the State of Qatar, its citizens and residents.
  • Qatar expressed its regret towards the information that stated that the siege countries had an intention to target Qatar militarily in strict violation of the principles of the Gulf Cooperation Council that was established on the principle of collective security and collective action towards any external aggression.
  • Qatar did not take any similar or retaliation measures against the four countries, which would cause harm to their citizens and residents, as it continues to provide UAE with its daily needs of natural gas, besides continuing to meet Qatar’s worldwide LNG commitments.
  • Qatar highlighted that the closure of Qatar's only land port, as well as the closure of the airspace and sea routes, cannot be described as a boycott, rather, it is a declared siege.
  • Qatar resorted to the United Nations, International Court of Justice and international and regional organizations to explain the impact of the siege, as well as presenting complaints to a number of international organizations such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU).
  • Qatar requested the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) dispute consultations with the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia concerning the measures adopted by the three countries in direct violation of the provisions and rules of WTO. Qatar then submitted a legal complaint against the UAE to WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) after its several attempts to resolve the conflict within the WTO failed, whether it was through its request for formal consultations, which the siege countries rejected, or through the good offices of WTO Director General to urge the concerned countries to start consultations.
  • Qatar delivered letters to both the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the United Nations Security Council regarding two breaches by two UAE military aircraft of Qatari airspace, as the first breach occurred on December 21, 2017 by a fighter jet belonging to the UAE, while the second took place on January 3, 2018 by a UAE military airlift.
  • Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee has called on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to send a technical committee to Qatar and the siege countries to investigate the violations and meet the separated families and students expelled from their universities, and Qatari citizens who lost their properties in the siege countries. Qatar also called on the UN Special Rapporteur on Unilateral Coercive Punishment, the Special Rapporteur on Education and the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief in the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate the violations committed against Qatari citizens, residents in Qatar and citizens of the siege countries.
  • Qatar called on the international community to lay down clear-cut international legislations and institutions to organize digital security and the unruliness in cybercrime and electronic piracy and punish the perpetrators of such transcontinental crimes.
  • Qatar established a Compensations Claims Committee directly linked to Qatar’s Ministry of Justice to follow up on the sustained damages, as the Qatari Government is documenting all violations against the social and economic rights of Qatari citizens and their entities resulting from the siege.

     

     

    Breakthrough in ICAO

  • The siege countries’ undertook unprecedented measures in 70 years of aviation history, by preventing Qatari registered aircrafts from utilizing the international airspace over high seas adjacent to their territories or overflying on their territorial airspace, and imposing restrictions on other countries aircrafts flying to/from Qatar via their airspace, in strict violation of Chicago Convention and international air services transit agreements.
  • In the absence of Iranian authorities’ permission to allow Qatari planes to use its airspace, it wouldn’t have been possible for Qatari planes to continue flying and delivering necessary humanitarian supplies when the siege was imposed.
  • After two months, the siege countries were forced to relinquish their positions and open contingency and alternative routes for Qatari flights, in response to Qatar’s evidence backed complaint submitted to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal, as the siege countries abandoned their positions one day before the convening of ICAO’s Governing Council, in confession of their infringement on international laws and in order to avoid condemnation from the international community for non-observance of international aviation law.
  • On August 20 2017, Qatar lodged a new protest with ICAO against the siege countries after they used their satellite TV channels to intimidate passengers flying Qatar Airways, by broadcasting a report accompanied by a 3-D presentation on August 9 by Al Arabiya TV, a Saudi channel based in Dubai, which claimed the right of the siege countries to shoot down any Qatar Airways passenger aircraft that flew over their airspace.
  • Qatar submitted later on two other complains to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), regarding the siege countries violation of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, and the International Air Services Transit Agreement (IASTA).

     

    Baseless Allegations against Qatar

  • On June 8, the four countries placed 59 individuals and 12 organisations on a "terror list" which even included names of deceased persons! as well as Qatari charities with UN consultative status, other countries entities and individuals with no ties to Qatar as well as journalists, which reveals the list’s real political motive and its aim of censoring free speech.
  • Qatar refused to make similar accusations despite the fact that persons and entities of the countries accusing Qatar of supporting terrorism were top of the list in that regard, and financial institutions and citizens from those countries were involved in financing terrorist organizations and terrorist attacks against Western countries. International reports on terrorism show that Qatar is barely mentioned compared to the four countries.
  • On June 20, the US State Department bluntly questioned the motives of Saudi Arabia and UAE, saying it was mystified the two countries had not released their grievances over Qatar, adding that the more time goes by, the more doubt is raised about the actions taken by Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The US State Department Spokesperson was quoted saying “At this point, we are left with one simple question: Were the actions really about their concerns regarding Qatar's alleged support for terrorism or were they about the long-simmering grievances between and among the GCC countries".
  • The problem Qatar faces in addressing the allegations directed against it, is the lack of an accurately-determined accusation by the countries in question, which accused Qatar of supporting and financing political foes, without presenting any cases built on logic. An example would be the recording televised by Bahraini television of a 2011 phone call between the Special Advisor to the Emir of Qatar, and a representative of Bahrain Al Wefaq society, which in fact was part of the then Qatari mediation following the Bahraini demonstrations, with the consent and blessing of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, noting that this mediation was suspended after the militarily intervention to break the sit-ins.
  • Another example was Qatar’s refusal to hand over the wife of a UAE dissident, as two months before the Gulf crisis, some UAE media attacks started against Qatar, and at once Qatar contacted the UAE to know the reason behind such attacks and if there are any problems to resolve. The UAE reply was that Qatar should hand over the wife of a UAE dissident who left Abu Dhabi officially with his wife in 2012 or 2013 when there was arrest campaigns against dissidents, and reached Doha and then left to the United Kingdom while his wife remained in Qatar because of her family ties, bearing in mind that this matter was resolved in 2015, when the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi sent envoys to HH the Emir of Qatar and requested the handover of this woman. HH the Emir's response was clear that this woman was not required in a criminal offense and that this was contrary to international law and the Qatari constitution, in which Article 58 prohibits the extradition of any refugees for political reasons, besides it is in Qataris morals and traditions as Arabs that they cannot hand over a refugee. Qatar assumed then the UAE's understanding of this step. HH the Emir told the UAE that he will not allow anyone to use Doha as a platform to attack the UAE or any Gulf country. Qatar fulfilled this promise before the matter was reopened in light of the media attacks in 2017, when the UAE  asked Qatar again to hand over the woman in return for ending the media attacks. In April 2017, Qatar’s Minister of Foreign Affairs reiterated to Abu Dhabi that Qatar will not hand over this woman who has not violated any of the conditions of living in Qatar with her family. The UAE responded that as long as the woman was not handed over, the coordination between the State of Qatar and the UAE would be completely stopped. The State of Qatar than took the second step of visiting Saudi Arabia and informing them of these developments and a meeting was held between HH the Emir and then Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, where Saudi Arabia was asked not be part of the dispute and to be neutral. The response of Saudi Crown Prince was that the Kingdom will not be part of this dispute, and as long as the dispute is based on the extradition of a woman, it is not in the Gulf morals to hand over a woman. Prince Mohammed bin Nayef added that “our relations with the State of Qatar are at their best and we are in constant coordination” and Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that “Qatar always stood with us in many situations and we have no disagreement with Qatar... the UAE may have reservations on some Qatar policies, we will try to contain them and act as mediator” and HH the Emir welcomed this and told them “if the Kingdom wants to contribute to solving this issue, we are happy and we welcome that," noting that the GCC ministerial meeting was held and then the Gulf summit and the Gulf-U.S. summit and this matter wasn’t raised.
  • Qatar also shed the light on Egypt’s attempts to take advantage of its membership in the UN Security Council and as Chair of its counter-terrorism Committee, to advance its own political goals, by making baseless claims and accusations against Qatar based on media and information provided by illegitimate militias which Egypt supports in the region, thus failing to act with integrity and objectivity as a member of the Security Council that occupies a seat intended to represent Arab countries’ common positions. Such regrettable actions combined with Egypt’s support to the parties that are working to undermine unity, stability and consensus-based political solutions set out in UN Security Council resolutions, helped create an environment conducive to the spread of terrorism and extremism in the region.
  • The siege countries’ insistence on throwing allegations without any evidence reflects inconsistency in their behavior and unwillingness to resolve this crisis, while continuing their bullying and disrespectful campaign. The international community has not been provided any evidence against Qatar except snippets of newspapers issued by the siege countries themselves.

    Siege Countries’ Demands

  • H.H. the Emir of the State of Qatar, stated on July 21: “They have tried to undermine two principles that humanity has made sacrifices for. First, the principle of sovereignty and the independent will of States. Secondly, freedom of expression and the right to information. Freedom of expression is meaningless if the citizen does not have the right to access information. Qatar has quashed the monopoly on information through the media revolution it started, and it is no longer possible to go back. This revolution has become an achievement for all the Arab peoples”.
  • For almost three weeks, after June 5th, Qatar was asking for specific demands from the siege countries, and only under international and especially American pressure did those countries present on June 23rd a list of 13 "demands", which Qatar had to meet by July 3rd and included: (1) curtail free expression, (2) hand over individuals at risk of torture and arbitration, (3) reduce its defense capabilities, (4) go against international law, (5) outsource its foreign policy to Riyadh and Abu Dhabi and (6) literally sign an open cheque to the blockading countries to pay unlimited amounts of money, described as compensation.
  • The 13 demands were promptly characterized by world leaders as “very difficult” “harsh”, not being “realistic”, “actionable” or “reasonable”, as well as of being “very provocative” and “against international law”.
  • HH the Emir of Kuwait was handed Qatar’s reply on July 3, 2017, to this list of collective demands, as Qatar was keen on being constructive and had no reservations against discussing any grievances the siege countries have, provided there was a clear basis for those grievances and they do not violate the sovereignty and impose any guardianship on Qatar.
  • The siege countries 13 demands, later became six principles after a meeting they held in Cairo. However, the siege countries brought the 13 demands again to the forefront and at that point it was not understood whether they want the 13 demands or the six principles. The international community became fully aware that the siege countries based their claims on nothing but political ambitions.

     

    Refuting Siege Countries’ False Allegations of Qatar’s Support of Terrorisim

  • On 15 January 2018, HE the US President thanked HH the Emir of Qatar for Qatari action to counter terrorism and extremism in all forms, including being one of the few countries to move forward on a bilateral memorandum of understanding. The leaders discussed areas in which the United States and Qatar can partner to bring more stability to the region, counter Iranian influence, and defeat terrorism.
  • The fabrications regarding supporting and financing terrorism leveled against the State of Qatar have failed to convince the international community, especially the major powers and active countries in this field. Paradoxically, Qatar’s originally good relations with these countries are now better than they were before the crisis. 
  • The United Nations didn’t recognize the siege countries “terror list” stating that it is only bound by sanctions lists put together by UN organs such as the Security Council.
  • The siege countries failed to deliver any evidence to support its claims of Qatar’s support or financing of terrorism. In addressing this key allegation of the blockading countries, little remains to substantiate the actions and steps taken by them. What remains is the difference in views on regional issues, which should have been resolved within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) framework.
  • Qatar and the United States signed on July 10, 2017, a memorandum of understanding on combating terrorism financing. In the signing ceremony, HE the US Secretary of State praised the wise leadership of HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar for being the first to respond to the Riyadh summit on combating terrorism financing, and stressed on all the region's states to combat extremism and violence and to not have a safe haven for terrorism and terrorists.
  • HE the US Secretary of State, praised on his visit to Doha on October 22, 2017, the  progress made towards implementing the counterterrorism MOU signed in July, stating that “significant progress has been made in a number of important efforts to – in our counterterrorism joint efforts, including sharing of terrorist lists, terrorist financing. We participated in a number of counterterrorism technical sessions and training, and significant steps have been taken to enhance the aviation security. We have additional work to do, but we are quite pleased with the progress and the relationship that has been strengthened between the two countries, Qatar and the United States, to counter terrorism.
  • Qatar's Attorney General signed on 20 January 2018, a memorandum of understanding with the US Attorney General. The MoU aims at strengthening co-operation between the Qatari Public Prosecution and the US Department of Justice in capacity-building, as well as co-operation in the fight against terrorism and its financing and combating cyber crime.
  • HE the United Kingdom Secretary of Defence praised on September 17, the State of Qatar’s support for the international campaign against terrorism and against “ISIS”, pointing out that, three years after the start of the campaign, achievements could not have been possible without Qatar’s support.
  • HE Germany's Foreign Minister announced in July an agreement to realise coordination between Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND) and the State of Qatar to clear up siege countries’ accusations that Qatar supports terrorism.
  • Qatar’s National Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Committee announced a new partnership in August 2017, with the Financial Integrity Network (FIN) based in Washington DC, to advise on enhancing Doha’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-terrorist Financing System to further meet the heightened and evolving global standards and expectations for financial integrity.
  • Qatar demonstrated to the international community its willingness to address any concerns resulting from the smear campaign, and confirmed that it is also keen on fulfilling all its obligations and pursing its efforts of combating terrorism on the national, regional and international levels.
  • Qatar clarified that the siege countries intervention in Qatar’s internal affairs by putting pressure on its citizens through foodstuffs, medicine and ripping off consanguineous relations to force them to change their political affiliation to destabilize a sovereign country, is an act of terrorism.
  • Qatar also reiterated its strong position against terrorism and to the ideologies that call and justify it, and condemns all its forms, regardless of its causes and motivations.

     

    Qatar's efforts in combatting terrorism and violent extremism

  • Qatar hosts the central command base of the Global Coalition against ISIS and all other terrorist groups as well as the largest US base in the Middle East that has more than 11,000 US soldiers. Thus, Qatar’s siege undermined the battle against ISIS, as 90% of the food and medicine supply came through the land border with Saudi Arabia and part of those supplies went to this military base. Besides, Qatari airplanes that provided logistical support to the Coalition were not allowed to fly over the siege countries and Qatari officers participating in the coalition activity and the Fifth Fleet were expelled from Bahrain.
  • Qatar enacted counter terrorism laws, established a national committee on terror financing and countering terrorism, and it never allows persons who support terrorism to stay in or pass through its territories, as well as Qatar’s banks never provide any platform for the infiltration of funds to terrorists.
  • Successful mediations carried out by Qatar in several crises in the region were solid evidence of its effective contribution to the security, stability in the region and the world.
  • Qatar is a founding member and funder of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) that is meant to protect communities from violent extremism.
  • Qatar also combats terrorism and violent extremism through its support of educational projects, enhancing dialogue and religious tolerance, propagating peace and providing work opportunities for the youth.
  • Qatar provides more than 300,000 jobs in North Africa, to fight the despair that surrounds young people, and provides education for 7 million children in 42 countries, hence replacing the weapon with a pen and teaching children not to fall into joining extremist organizations, noting that most of the children in refugee camps receive their education from institutions that Qatar supports.
  • Qatar’s major charity organizations that were falsely accused of funding terrorism, implement projects in more than 70 countries, in partnerships with the UN and prominent NGOs, where they apply the best established financial transparency standards, and use of internationally renowned audit firms to monitor and report their activities to the public. In addition to registering all financial assistances and grants with the Financial Tracking system (FTS) that is managed and operated by the UN. Thus, their efforts helped put an end to poverty and deprivation, and thereby combating terrorism and extremism.
  • Qatar’s willingness to assist the global community in addressing other crises in the region was not hindered by this crisis, as Qatar hosted last June the 10th meeting of the major donors group for Syria, noting that since the beginning of the crisis, Qatari aid to the Syrian people has reached more than $2.4 billion. Pledges and assistance in support of this cause have reached $1.6 billion in the past year alone through direct government support or through civil society organizations, humanitarian associations and institutions. Qatar also continued to contribute to the growing humanitarian needs around the world, as Qatar donated in the last 5 years $4.5billion in aid to more than 100 countries, and Qatar now ranks third on the list of major donors in 2017 to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

     

    Qatar’s Open Door Policy

  • Qatar has mediated in nearly 10 regional and international portfolios in less than 8 years (2008 - 2016), exerting strenuous diplomatic and political efforts at the regional and international levels in mediating between factions, entities and countries, with the request of the concerned parties, and without interfering in the internal affairs of others, with a view to achieve convergence of views and find sustainable solutions for conflicts and differences, which resulted in several peaceful settlements in both the Middle East and Africa.
  • Qatar doesn’t endorse any political movement but simply provides a platform for negotiations aimed at achieving peaceful resolutions that would otherwise be absent in the region, and Qatar recognizes a group as terrorist once  designated by the UN Security Council or if there is proof it has committed violence.
  • Qatar’s success in playing this role of mediator or negotiator has always been with the support of the international community and in close coordination with Qatar’s allies, noting that former CIA Director and retired General David Petraeus stated in July 2017 that Qatar’s hosting of delegations from Hamas and the Taliban was upon the request of the United States.
  • Qatar never supported Hamas, but has always supported the people of Gaza and the reconstruction efforts there. This Qatari support has always been very transparent and visible to everyone including the Israeli Government, as they know where the money goes and are aware that it contributes to peace and stability of Gaza and that it prevented any potential war in Gaza. The Qatari assistance to Gaza was a mean of peace and stability as witnessed in Gaza’s stability since 2014. Hamas political representation in Doha was very useful to all parties, as Qatar facilitated different engagements whether to end the wars in Gaza in 2008, 2009 and 2014, or to facilitate national reconciliation between Palestinians, which is the first step required for any peace deal between Palestinians and Israelis. These efforts were supported by the international community and in coordination with the United States, as Qatar only supports the people in Gaza and the unity of the Palestinian people. Accordingly, Qatar was the first country to welcome last month’s signing of a reconciliation agreement in Egypt between Fatah and Hamas movements of Palestine. Taking into consideration that the siege countries claimed since the onset of the Gulf Crisis that one of their reasons behinds imposing a siege on Qatar was its alleged support for Hamas, despite the fact that the siege countries never considered Hamas a terrorist organization or disconnected their relationship with it. Nevertheless, Hamas suddenly appeared in Egypt in October and was being praised by all the siege countries.
  • Qatar hosted the Taliban office in Doha, upon a request from the US Government and as part of Qatar’s open door policy to facilitate talks, to mediate and to bring peace, as Qatar was facilitating talks between the Americans, the Taliban and the Government of Afghanistan.
  • Regarding Al Nusra Front in which the State of Qatar helped to release a US journalist held in custody, Qatar stressed that dealing with Al Nusra Front does not mean by any means Qatar’s support for its ideas, as Qatar only played a mediator role in facilitating dialogue and has no direct communication with it.
  • The Muslim Brotherhood group is not designated by Qatar as a terrorist organization, yet Qatar does not support this group, as it does not exist in Doha. The Muslim Brotherhood is represented in several parliaments in the region including in Bahrain, one of the siege countries, which clearly reflects a double standard when one of the siege countries’ demands is for Qatar to classify the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group.
  • The fact that Qatar doesn’t support the Muslim Brotherhood group is clear in Qatar’s policies towards both Egypt and Tunisia, where Qatar supported any individual that assumed the presidency regardless of their political affiliation. For example in Egypt, nearly 70 percent of the assistance program provided by Qatar was during the era of former Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf during the period of the Military Council, while of the remaining 30 percent, a portion was during the time of the Muslim Brotherhood and a portion during the time of the current Egyptian President El-Sisi, noting that Qatari deposits in Egypt were not withdrawn, even though Qatar has the right to withdraw it, which clearly indicates Qatar doesn’t support a specific period of government there.

     

     

     

     

    Siege’s Drastic Failure

  • The measures taken by the siege countries were aimed at creating a political shock, affecting Qatar's stability and forcing it to accept tutelage and cede its independence. As that failed they moved on to a second plan that is still being applied, which could be summed up as an attempt to harm Qatar’s economy. But they have erred in their evaluation of the will of the Qatari people and the State, as well as in their estimates of Qatar’s economy, as the siege brought out the best talents and spirit of challenge inherent in the Qatari people, and contributed to crystallizing its national identity, and enhanced cohesion between the people and the leadership in Qatar.
  • Qatar succeeded with God’s blessing in containing the economic ramifications of the siege and restoring normal conditions to the daily life of Qataris and the residents of Qatar, among them more than 9000 Canadians, as swift measures were undertaken by the Qatari Government to ensure that needs and services continue to be provided in record time, by utilizing Qatar’s Hamad Port that inaugurated alternative maritime service lines towards Turkey, China, Taiwan, Oman, Pakistan, Singapore, Kuwait and Australia, besides the roles of Hamad International Airport and Qatar Airways’ fleet in swiftly resuming the flow of shipments with the assistance of Qatar’s friends, allies and neighbour countries.
  • Qatar was able to counter and foil attempts to harm the Qatari Riyal, thus maintaining the financial and exchange rate stability and free remittances. Qatar maintained its credit rating among the top 20 or 25 globally, backed by Qatar’s strong banks, large reserves and diversified economy, as new projects were announced to increase Qatar’s LNG production by 30% and to build a 530,000 square meter food processing and storage facility to hold enough food to meet two years’ worth of demand for three million people around the world.
  • Qatar was able to commit to its oil and gas deliveries to its customers without any tardiness or default, as well as signing new agreements and announcing plans to increase LNG production by 30% by raising Qatar’s production from 77 million tonnes of natural gas to 100 million tonnes a year by 2024, which would strengthen its position as the largest LNG producer in the world.
  • Per capita income in Qatar, according to purchasing power is still among the highest in the world, according to international institutions' reports such as the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, and although the hydrocarbon share in GDP has fallen by about 1%, Qatar's growth rate has improved, as the share in GDP from other sources has risen by about 5.6%.
  • Efforts to achieve Qatar's national vision 2030, steadily proceeded, and in continuation of efforts to support small and medium industries, an industrial zone was developed with state-of the-art basic services and facilities, in addition to the construction of industrial facilities which are ready for the private sector. Work is also underway to implement economic development projects that would help in fortifying Qatar’s economy; these include establishing areas for storage, developing logistics areas and introducing a number of food security projects. Qatar also constructed new desalination plants and mega storage reservoirs for potable water, the largest of its kind in the world. Its first stage will be commissioned in the first half of next year.
  • These achievements were realized despite the siege countries’ relentless efforts to disrupt and obstruct them by various means, which started with the siege itself, and included pressure on other countries in addition to even spreading rumors and fabrications, and acting against Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup.

     

     

     

     

    International and Regional Efforts to Find a Political Solution

  • The State of Qatar expressed its support and deep appreciation for the mediation efforts exerted by HH the Emir of the State of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and confirmed Qatar’s readiness for dialogue to solve the crisis based on the respect of its sovereignty and the principles of international law, and in which proof would be submitted to back any claim or demand from Qatar, and ensuring it would be away from dictates, and in the form of compromises resulting in mutual collective obligations.
  • HE the U.S. Secretary of State visited Qatar and then Saudi Arabia and met with the siege countries, and then returned to Doha with a proposal of principles and a roadmap and asked for a response to this proposal within five days, and also mentioned that the Saudi crown prince told him that they do not mind a dialogue, but the State of Qatar should issue a statement in a specific format that it is ready to negotiate. Qatar agreed and the US Secretary of State provided the wording of the proposal and it was an acceptable format. Qatar issued it in a statement after the departure of the U.S. Secretary of State. Saudi Arabia was supposed to issue a similar statement to welcome this. The Qatari statement was issued and no Saudi welcoming statement followed but rather a negative one in response to the Qatari statement. Subsequently, Qatar ignored this stage and responded to the roadmap and the list of principles after the five days mentioned by the U.S. Secretary of State and nearly 90 percent of them were acceptable whether the roadmap or the principles because they were rational and do not affect the sovereignty of any state and are binding for all, and so was the roadmap. After that, Qatar asked about the measures that should follow. The American response was that the siege countries did not respond and therefore the matter stalled at that time.
  • HE the President of the United States coordinated a telephone conversation between HH the Emir of the State of Qatar and HRH. Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 8 September 2017, upon coordination with HE the US President, in which they stressed the need to resolve this crisis by sitting down to the dialogue table to ensure the unity and stability of the GCC countries. HH the Emir of Qatar welcomed the proposal of his HRH the Saudi Crown Prince during the call to assign two envoys to resolve controversial issues in a way that does not affect the sovereignty of States. Yet, in less than half an hour after the call, Saudi Arabia changed its position and announced that it will suspend any dialogue or communication with Qatar, which clearly does not reflect a good intention to engage in dialogue and bring an end to the crisis.
  • On September 19, 2017, H.E. the US Secretary of State faulted the siege countries for failing to end the Gulf Crisis, stating that there seems to be a real unwillingness on the part of some of the quartet parties to want to engage with Qatar, while Qatar has been very clear in its readiness to engage. HE the US Secretary of State exerted tireless efforts to resolve the crisis and dispatched Assistant Secretary Tim Linderking and retired General Anthony Zinni to assist in resolving it. HE the US Secretary of State called earlier on the siege countries to take positive action and lift the blockade on the State of Qatar.
  • HE the President of the United States has been committed to end the Gulf crisis and suggested to HH the Emir of Qatar during their meeting in October 2017 in New York, to host a meeting at Camp David for this purpose. HH the Emir welcomed this proposal as Qatar was asking for dialogue all along, yet the siege countries have not respond yet to this proposal.
  • Since the onset of the crisis, Germany warned of the repercussions of the Gulf crisis, and called for the respect of Qatar’s sovereignty, while commending Qatar’s self-restraint in the face of the imposed siege.  Germany also called for the lifting of the siege, described the siege countries demands as very provocative and supported Kuwait’s mediation efforts, in parallel with its diplomatic efforts to resolve the differences through communications and meetings between HE the German Chancellor and HH the Emir of Qatar as well as several meetings and communications between HE the German Foreign Minister and HE the Qatari Foreign Minister, as well as with the foreign ministers of the siege countries. HE the German Chancellor stated in October that though Germany is not part of this crisis, but it would like to contribute to a solution based on German values and it sees the need that all parties sit at the dialogue table, and reiterated the Germany will continue its contacts through diplomatic channels to seek a solution to the crisis.
  • HE the President of the French Republic urged in October the lifting of the embargo that is affecting the people of Qatar as quickly as possible and expressed his concern over the tensions that threaten regional stability, undermining the political resolution of crises and the collective fight against terrorism. HE the French President supported since the beginning of the crisis mediation efforts and dispatched HE the French Foreign Minister to the Gulf region as well as appointing a special envoy to the Arab Gulf region to resolve the Gulf crisis.
  • The United Kingdom also supported Kuwait’s mediation efforts to resolve the crisis, while warning of the negative impact of prolonging the crisis on the entire Middle East region. HE the UK Prime Minister contacted HH the Emir of Qatar and leaders of the siege countries and dispatched HE the UK Foreign Secretary to the region to assist in resolving the crisis. Last July, HE the UK Foreign Secretary, welcomed, HH the Emir of Qatar’s commitment to combat terrorism in all its manifestations including terrorist financing, and called on the siege countries to respond by taking steps toward lifting the embargo to allow substantive discussions on remaining differences to begin.
  • HH the Emir of the State of Qatar participated in the Gulf Cooperation Council Summit held in 4 December 2017 in Kuwait, as Qatar believes in the importance of continuity of the GCC out of Qatar’s keenness on activating its role as well as its commitment to joint GCC action.
  • It seems that the countries, which imposed the siege on Qatar, have been embroiled in it. They have become captives of their own media rhetoric, as attempts made to give them a way out through mediations and dialogue as well as Qatar’s declared readiness for settlements did not succeed. It also seems that, this has become the siege countries approach, as they became hasty in taking steps in other countries as well, without having any exit strategy from the situation they tend to implicate themselves in. Qatar is following with deep concern the deterioration of the political situation at the regional level, and is calling for de-escalation to spare the peoples of the region the perils of tension and emergence of axes. It is not plausible that the countries and societies be regarded as mere spheres of influence or spaces to settle old scores between regional countries. There is a geopolitical reality that forces us to resolve our differences through dialogue. Qatar has been calling for that in line with its approach of resolving disputes by peaceful means. In the case of the Gulf and the region this is not only an option, but an urgent necessity that requires establishing relevant mechanisms to address it.
  • HH the Emir of the State of Qatar, highlighted the importance of resolving the Gulf crisis during official visits to Turkey, France, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, where His Highness stated in a press conference with H.E. the President of Indonesia thatQatar is ready to conduct a dialogue to solve the problem as we already know that no one will win” adding “We are all brothers and suffering because of this crisis”. HH the Emir reiterated Qatar’s commitment to sit down with the siege countries to resolve the crisis during an interview on CBS News 60 Minutes, saying "If they going to walk one meter toward me, I'm willing to walk 10,000 miles towards them".