There are growing calls from the Arab Human Rights Federation for the Federation of International Football Associations (Fifa) to revisit its decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. Indeed, the respected rights’ group says that the Gulf state’s ties to terrorist groups and individuals and its financing of their causes, make its hosting of the celebration of world football incompatible to the ideals of the global sporting body. In addition, there are also growing voices of discord and disgruntlement within Qatar itself over the leadership’s treatment of several tribal groups.
These voices of discord against the government in Doha echo sentiments from the anti-terror quartet of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt who have acted together to demand Qatar cease and desist from its aiding and abetting of those who support, fund and give voice to extremist elements, seditious groups and terrorist organisations.
The quartet has isolated Qatar diplomatically, shut their respective sovereign air and maritime spaces to aircraft and vessels registered in Qatar, and have asked the government in Doha to firmly and positively respond to 13 demands to ensure it meets its previously stated obligations to the leadership of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the international community.
Since early June, Qatar has failed to adequately or properly respond to the demands and as a result, it is self-inflicting long-term economic and fiscal damage on its economy, draining its liquidity, downgrading its standing in the international bond and money markets and shutting down access for its citizens to financial institutions, while also enduring food and other commodity shortages.
Simply put, if Qatar wants this episode to end, and if it values its place among its GCC neighbours and Arab brothers, it simply has to commit to live up to previously given undertakings to the GCC — and do so in a verifiable and consistent manner. Late last week, the Emir of Qatar, Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, took his case to the floor of the United Nations General Assembly, calling the situation unjust and referring to it as an economic “blockade”.
The words used by Shaikh Tamim are disingenuous as Qatar is free to trade with anyone it pleases — but the quartet isn’t interested in doing business with it just now. What Shaikh Tamin didn’t tell the UN is that the situation is of his nation’s making. And Qatar certainly can’t have it both ways.