United States President Donald Trump’s warning to Qatar to stop funding terrorism is a proof of what Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Arab countries have been saying: for years, Doha supported terror and extremism “at a very high level”.
The American position, naturally supported by intelligence reports and banking records, conclusively proves that the collective decision by the Gulf states and Egypt to isolate Qatar was neither a hasty judgement nor an unjustified action — instead, they followed only after prolonged attempts to reform Qatar’s behaviour were exhausted. Every member of the Gulf Coordination Council (GCC) carries a certain responsibility to ensure the safety and security of all other members of the bloc — when the very premises of that covenant are consistently and deliberately violated to jeopardise the future of the bloc, it is obvious that concerned members will take proactive action for the sake of the bloc’s unity and peaceful coexistence.
In Qatar’s case, the issue also carries wider repercussions for the international community.
The substantiation from Trump in this regard is self-explanatory. “We had a decision to make: Do we take the easy road or do we finally take a hard but necessary action? We have to stop the funding of terrorism. I decided, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ... The time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding and its extremist ideology in terms of funding,” the US president said.
It is obvious that no nation can tolerate the proliferation of violence or allow extremist ideology to spread on its shores. As mentioned by Trump, the summit of more than 50 Arab and Muslim leaders in May was a historic opportunity where key players in the region agreed to stop supporting terrorism, whether it be financial, military or moral. The situation in Qatar is therefore also a continuation of the same obligations upheld at that summit — and taking decisive action to solve the problem was the only choice left before the Gulf and Arab states and the rest of the international community. The doctrine that teaches people to instigate neighbours, fill their minds with intolerance and harbour hatred, must stop now.
The expectations from Qatar are therefore quite simple and clear: To unequivocally stop funding terrorism and patronising its backers, to disavow any extremist element or group that aims to create instability and anarchy in the Arab world and beyond, to dismantle any apparatus linked to extremist activities operating from its territory and to publicly align its foreign policy objectives with the rest of the Gulf states to safeguard the peace and stability of the region. The time for Qatar to act is now.