Countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia cut ties with Qatar. The official reason was that this country supports terrorism. There are some who support Islamic terrorism more such as Saudi Arabia but no sanctions have been made against them. Of course, nothing was done against them because Qatar is a convenient scapegoat.
Egypt’s Actions Against Qatar
One of the ways Egypt is punishing Qatar is by blocking some of their news websites such as Al Jazeera and Huffington Post Arabic. Qatar did play a role in terrorism in Egypt by supporting the Muslim Brotherhood during the mandate of Mohammad Morsi. Historically, Saudi Arabia caused more
terrorism and crime in Egypt than Qatar. Saudi Arabia has financed the Muslim Brotherhood. Then, in the 1980s, Egyptians working in Saudi Arabia brought back to their home country Salafism, which increased its influence in the Brotherhood and throughout Egypt. If Saudi Arabia plays a bigger role in terrorism, then why isn’t Egypt imposing sanctions upon them?
Let’s not forget that Egypt and Saudi Arabia haven’t resolved their dispute over the islands of Tiran and Sanafir. Egypt also got some funding from the Saudis to build a new capital, a new and modern extension to Cairo. Escalating such a conflict would be risky.
But that’s not all. The United States and Saudi Arabia are allies. Donald Trump has been in touch with President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi of Egypt for a variety of issues: restoring United States-Egypt relations, the situation of Christians… Egypt would harm its relationship with the United States should its conflict with Saudi Arabia get worse.
What’s in It for Saudi Arabia?
Saudi Arabia also gains something by imposing sanctions on Qatar. In Saudi Arabia’s conflict with Houthis in Yemen, Qatar supports the Houthis, a politico-religious Shiite Muslim group. In the Middle East, Iran tends to support Shiite armed groups. Saudi Arabia has been enemies with Iranian Shiites
because Shiism is an illegitimate form of Islam according to Wahhabism. This belief has no religious basis: it was simply an excuse to give Saudi Arabia a reason to raid Iranian caravans in the 19th and 20th centuries. Weakening Houthi supporters reduces thus the presence of Iran, their enemy, in the Gulf region.
Saudi Arabia avoids sanctions by finding what the countries of the region have in common against its enemy. Granted, Qatar did play a role in Islamic terrorism but it is such a convenient scapegoat. These sanctions have more to do with punishing a Saudi enemy than curbing ISIS. Might makes right. Rather, wealth makes right.