Both oil-rich countries are rogue states. They’re family dictatorships, state-sponsors of terrorism, guilty of high crimes against peace, defiant of rule of law principles.
Riyadh and its rogue allies (the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt) want Doha transformed into a subservient vassal state, its resources exploited, its wealth stolen, perhaps regime change demanded next.
A sweeping 13-point ultimatum reads like post-WW I Versailles terms – unacceptable to any nation wishing to retain its sovereignty. Here’s the dirty baker’s dozen:
1. Curb diplomatic ties with Iran. Close its diplomatic missions. Expel members of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp. Agree to commerce and trade allowed by the JCPOA nuclear deal alone.
Both countries share a common natural gas field, its production and possible pipeline plans not likely to be abandoned.
2. Sever ties with terrorist organizations, not ones Qatar, Riyadh and its rogue allies support, just the Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah.
Neither is a terrorist organization. Hezbollah is a legitimately elected part of Lebanon’s government.
3. Shut down Al-Jazeera, the Qatari owned, funded and operated propaganda service.
4. Shut down other news outlets Qatar funds, directly and indirectly, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed and Middle East Eye.
5. Expel Turkish forces from the country. End internal joint military cooperation.
6. Cease funding and supporting all groups and individuals designated by Riyadh and its rogue allies as terrorists.
7. Hand over alleged “terrorist figures” and other individuals wanted by Riyadh and its allies. Freeze their assets and provide information on their location, movements and finances.
8. Stop granting citizenship to individuals wanted by the Saudis and its allies. Stop alleged interference in their internal affairs. Revoke citizenship for individuals demanded by these countries.
9. Cease contractual relations with designated political opponents of the Saudi dictatorship and its rogue allies. Hand over all documents explaining contacts and relations with these groups and individuals.
10. Pay reparations to Riyadh and its allies for alleged loss of life and financial losses, the sum to be determined.
11. Consent to monthly audits for a year, quarterly for a second year, for the next decade Qatar to be monitored annually for compliance.
12. Ally with other Gulf States and other Arab nations politically, economically, militarily and socially – in line with a 2014 agreement with Riyadh.
13. Agree to all of the above in 10 days or the demands become invalid – no further elaboration on what’s next if Qatar refuses.
It’s unimaginable any country would accept these demands willingly. They amount to unacceptable unconditional surrender.
How Washington intends dealing with this situation remains to be seen. On Wednesday, Rex Tillerson said demands on Qatar should be “reasonable and actionable,” adding:
“We support” Kuwait acting as mediator, “and look forward to this matter moving toward a resolution.”
Qatari foreign minister Sheikh Abdulrahman al-Thani earlier rejected interference in his country’s internal affairs.
Doha’s ambassador to Washington Meshal bin Hamad al-Thani stressed “Qatar has the right to chart its own course, without the interference of other nations, and that is what we can and will do. The door to the negotiating table will stay open.”
Riyadh and its rogue allies slammed it shut with their unacceptable demands. What comes next may further destabilize the region.
A Final Comment
In response to the 13-point ultimatum, Qatari communications office director Sheikh Saif al-Thani said the following:
“This list of demands confirms what Qatar has said from the beginning. The illegal blockade has nothing to do with combating terrorism. It is about limiting Qatar’s sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy.”
Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said it’s studying the demands before “prepar(ing) an appropriate response.”
It’s likely to be go to hell in diplomatic language.