Image Credit: WAM/Gulf News archives

The recent GCC-US summit and Islamic states-US summit in Riyadh have scripted a new chapter in international relations that is of immense strategic importance, regardless of whatever was said about national and regional interests.

It was disheartening to see some Arab writers painting the Riyadh summits in bad light even before it produced tangible outcomes.

The countries in the region have long showed patience over the past eight years, during the term of former US president Barack Obama.

During Obama’s term and a little earlier, Tehran exploited the political vacuum that prevailed in some parts of the region, most notably in Arab countries, with Iraq’s chaos first before the domino effect took over.

Iran’s interference in the domestic affairs of some countries in the Gulf came as expected, but its expansionist plans defies logic.

Iran’s dealings with its Arab neighbours were not merely to exploit the political vacuum, but it was as a foe “threatening the security” of those countries.

Tehran’s hostile approach continues unchecked, turning a deaf ear to the repeated Arab calls for dialogue. The latest of such endeavours came through Kuwait’s hands earlier this year.

The most important outcome of the Riyadh summits were not the deals and investments in oil, industries, modern technology and infrastructure and other domains, but it was the clear shift in the American stance towards Iran over several important issues in the Arab world and the region at large.

The summits succeeded in changing the false image that Tehran provided to the former US administration and replacing it with a true picture of the region and its peoples.

Iran portrayed a wrong intellectual and ideological picture of the Arab region — describing itself as a democratic and modern country believing in modern values and living within a culturally- and intellectually-backward Arab region

Out of touch

So, most commentators who wrote about the summits were not truthful in their analyses. They focused on aspects that have nothing to do with the region’s supreme interests and were out of touch with the realities of events that were discussed at the summits.

Those writers failed to highlight the meetings’ key role in forging an international collaboration and effective strategies to eliminate terrorism, which strikes almost daily the world over causing havoc.

Against this backdrop, it is baffling to discover Qatar’s controversial stance that is contrary to the interests of GCC countries and the Arab countries and the Middle East.

The move of GCC countries and Egypt to cut ties with Doha was not surprising, and the crisis is quickly snowballing into an international issue.

Qatar had played a role in Syria, Libya, Egypt and Yemen, but it also has cordial relations with Iran and Israel which flies in the face of the GCC stance.

Qatar’s roles have come under scrutiny especially since the so-called Arab Spring has turned into Arab hell after it caused destruction in many places in the Arab world.

The question that springs to mind is why does Qatar play a role that is bigger than its political and geographical size?

Qatar’s clout is represented in the immense wealth generated mainly from oil and gas. It does not have any other resources, and has a limited population of 300,000.

Much of Qatar’s efforts to punch above it weight was done in the last 20 years through media, which is chiefly Al Jazeera.

Why does Qatar refuse to toe the GCC line?

If Doha had planned to buck the trend, why did it attend the Riyadh summits and signed agreements.

Why would Qatar not honour the agreements it signed? There is no logical explanation for its actions.

Mohammad Hassan Al Harbi is a renowned columnist and author whose writings cover various fields ranging from media studies to education.