Qatar-GCC crisis: ‘Loyalties can shift overnight’

On the six-month anniversary of the dispute, Al Jazeera asks Gulf citizens for their views.

A wave of patriotism has washed over Qatar since the crisis unfolded in June [Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images]

Six months into the Qatar-GCC crisis, which has opened an unprecedented rift among the Gulf countries, the opposing sides appear no closer to a resolution.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, along with Egypt, continue to enforce a blockade against neighbouring Qatar, which has refused to comply with a controversial list of demands.

The blockading countries accuse Doha of supporting “terrorism”, allegations that Qatar vehemently denies. The dispute has put this month’s Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in jeopardy, with Bahrain even calling for a freeze of Qatar’s membership.

On the half-year anniversary of the crisis, Al Jazeera asked Gulf residents about their views on the dispute and their hopes for a resolution.

Kuwaiti journalist Hussain Abdulrahman

[Courtesy of Hussain Abdulrahman]
[Courtesy of Hussain Abdulrahman]

I think that the blockade is not the traditional way we, as GCC countries, deal with matters. I think this is a major mistake from a human and moral perspective.

I am against the blockade, or any harm done to any Arab countries; Qatar is our brother and the GCC people are one. I do think that they will stop the blockade against Qatar, but the question is when?

We are dealing with time, and I think that Qatar is able to overcome this situation. This does not only impact Qatar alone, but all of the GCC countries, economically and socially. We want this to be settled the right way and hope that all the parties agree with one another.

Qatari university lecturer Sarah al-Derham

[Courtesy of Sarah al-Derham]
[Courtesy of Sarah al-Derham]

Historically speaking, the unjust blockade imposed on Qatar should not come as a surprise; what is surprising is the reaction and response of many influential figures – from political to social – who have previously shown loyalty and admiration towards the Qatari government and its leadership.

It is interesting to see how loyalties can shift overnight and how the Gulf community is more fragile than united. Should the blockade be lifted, Qatar’s relations with the blockading countries will steer from being trusting and optimistic towards a more cautious route.

In my opinion, the only aspect that may lead to reconciliation is the social aspect, as families and tribes from the Gulf countries are complexly intertwined with one another – and even that aspect may still be tension-fueled.

Omani school administrator Hassan al-Khathiri

[Wojtek Arciszewski/Al Jazeera]
[Wojtek Arciszewski/Al Jazeera]

This problem has been created by the Western countries, like America and Europe; from the backyard, they are preparing and wishing these things to happen in the Gulf. It’s created from nothing, this problem, and it suddenly appeared at the surface.

Myself and anybody who has a clear mind and clear heart wishes that every country in the world would live in peace, and that all the problems would disappear between the brothers in the Gulf.

There are some signals to show that mistakes happened, and they are on their way to correcting these mistakes, and we hope for a positive result [at the December GCC summit]. Western countries chose the wrong timing to start this crisis. This is not the time.

Qatari industrial engineer Mohammad al-Muftah

[Courtesy of Mohammad al-Muftah]
[Courtesy of Mohammad al-Muftah]

It was a shock to us Qataris that our neighbours – our “brothers” – took such a decision against Qatar and the people of Qatar. But our leader, Sheikh Tamim Al Thani, did not let it impact us or let us feel the effects internally.

If this had happened in any other country, they probably would have dealt with it differently. The Qatari people themselves also helped the situation by standing by him.

In my opinion, the blockade will not be lifted any time soon, but Qatar has proven to the world and to us that we do not need them; we are doing well independently. But we do hope that it will come to an end soon.

Omani businessman Salim Said Bahid al-Mashikhi

[Wojtek Arciszewski/Al Jazeera]
[Wojtek Arciszewski/Al Jazeera]

I wish that the relations between the Gulf countries would come back again because, in the end, we are all brothers. It’s six countries; it’s like six brothers, and I wish the fractures would be solved.

This is something normal that happens with relationships with human beings. Sometimes they have different opinions, they will disagree about something – but in the end, we wish as all Gulf citizens that all these six countries will come together again as brothers and solve these problems.

Reporting by Megan O’Toole, Zena Tahhan and Ahmad Sharbak

Source: Al Jazeera