Dubai: When the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on March 16, 2001 issued its unchallengeable judgement in the Maritime Delimitation and Territorial Questions between Qatar and Bahrain (Qatar vs Bahrain) case, most people saw in it the end of decades of disputes between the two neighbours over territories that included a town, islands, islets and a shoal to which both laid claim.

Since then the two countries set up a joint committee to promote cooperation in all fields.

Senior officials exchanged visits amid promises of expansive relations and a plan, announced in December 2008, to build a causeway that would link the two countries.

Ten years later, nothing has materialised.

When antigovernment protests hit the country in 2011, Qatar positioned itself as a mediator trying to resolve the protests and help the Bahraini government.

However, Bahraini authorities later said they collected evidence that Qatar was in fact communicating with protest leaders and encouraging them in their disruptive acts.

Hamad Al Amer, the former undersecretary for Regional and Gulf Cooperation Council Affairs at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, says there has been compelling evidence of Qatari meddling in Bahrain.

“It has sought in every way to undermine Bahrain’s security and is helping all those whose objectives converge with its aims. Thus, Iran was the country close to the Qatari policy in that regard. Every single one of Qatar’s stances is within that line,” he told Gulf News.

Bahrain was not the only one to complain about Iran’s interference in the region.

Saudi Arabia stated that Tehran was helping segments of the Saudi society to rebel against the state institutions and engage in rioting activities to undermine security and stability.

Kuwait reported the busting of espionage cells and the discovery of arms caches run by militants supporting the Iranian regime or its proxy in Lebanon, the Hezbollah militia.

The UAE also has regularly expressed its grievances towards Iran’s occupation of its islands of Abu Mousa and Greater and Lesser Tunbs and insisted on a solution, through diplomatic channels or the International Court of Justice, to the issue.

A blatant example of Qatar’s ill intentions is how the media, especially Al Jazeera, reports on the situation in Bahrain.

“The unprecedented media focus on Bahrain through exaggerated and concocted news and reports that incite trouble, sedition and division is unbelievable. The news and reports are regularly repeated and highlighted in order to build cases against Bahrain and provide cheap ways to target the kingdom and soil its reputation,” he said.

Bahrain said that more than 900 reports have been broadcast by Al Jazeera about the kingdom portraying it in a negative light.

Al Amer said that Bahrain has opted not to raise such issues publicly with Qatar “in order to give it a chance to review its stances and honour tribal and Gulf traditions.”

“Unfortunately, such a noble stance by Bahrain has not been reciprocated. But now after the situation reached a breaking point in June last year, Bahrain will no longer lapse into silence and will openly denounce acts targeting its stability and security.”

On June 5, 2017, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed their diplomatic, trade and travel relations with Qatar, for its support of extremists and of funding terrorism. The four countries issued a 13-point list and asked Qatar to respond to them in order to resume their relations. However, Qatar rejected the accusations and dismissed the list, resulting in a stalemate that has not been resolved despite mediation efforts by Kuwait.

A recent report published by the Bahrain Centre for Strategic and International and Energy Studies (Derasat) has shed light on Qatar’s negative role towards Bahrain.

In January, it organised a forum, “Qatar: The Anarchy Patron and Crises in the Middle East”, with the participation of an elite group of thinkers, intellectuals, academics and media figures from across the Arab world.

In May, it published a book on the dangerous standoff at the Shoal of Dibal (Fasht Dibal), off the coast of Bahrain.

It plans to hold on June 30 a new forum on the rule of Al Khalifa family and relations with Qatar.

The Fasht Dibal incident was particularly interesting as it was the first direct military aggression in the modern history of the relations between the two countries.

On April 26, 1986 afternoon, workers employed by Dutch contracting company Ballast Nedam in the Fasht were shocked to see soldiers coming from four helicopters rush towards them, nervously shouting orders and firing bullets in the air. The soldiers who came out of the Qatari choppers ordered the workers to queue up and remain silent.

At the same time, rapid-fire shots were directed at a company ship anchored near Dibal, hitting its hull, and when it tried to sail away, it was caught by a Qatari military boat and was taken back to Fasht.

Helicopters also chased another boat with machine-gun fire.

“We thought that the troops that had attacked us were Iranian forces, but we were shocked to discover they were Qataris. One officer came to us to tell they were taking us to Qatar although it had nothing against them. He said they would take us later to Bahrain,” one engineer said in the book issued by Derasat.

The Qataris seized several Bahraini officials and 29 Ballast Nedam construction workers hired by the Dutch contracting company. They were released one month later, following protests by the Netherlands and mediation by several GCC countries.

Qatari troops evacuated Fasht Dibal on June 15 following an agreement between Bahrain and Qatar.

Derasat said the book “highlights the reasons and timeline of the events and how they affected today’s reality.”

“The book aims to expose Qatar’s behaviour, which proves with each passing day that it is contrary to the norms. It shows how the measures and policies embraced by Qatar are likely to ignite strife and undermine the security and stability of regional countries that are guided by a deep belief in a common future.”

Knowing the history is crucial to understanding the current conflict, Derasat said.

The idea of summoning history is necessary to understand the general trend of present and future events, Derasat said.