Middle EastSaudi Arabia

Daily: Saudi Media War against Qatar Indicates Regional Arab States’ Regression

 

A leading Arab daily referred to the media war launched by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi against Doha after Qatar’s state-run news agency qouted the emir as criticizing the US, Saudi Arabia, and its client states for their attempt to stir up tensions with “Islamic power” Iran, saying that it shows their backsliding from the modern world.

“The Saudi and UAE’s media attack against Qatar indicates the regional Arab states’ regression, while these countries have switched off from their tribal society 50 to 100 years ago to a political society,” Qatari newspaper al-Watan wrote on Tuesday.

The daily regretted that interactions among the Arab regional countries have changed from political interactions into tribal interactions based on espionage operations.

Last Thursday, an article appeared on Qatar’s state-run news agency, quoting the emir as criticizing the United States, Saudi Arabia, and its client states for their attempt to stir up tensions with “Islamic power” Iran.

A post also appeared on the agency’s Twitter page, quoting the Qatari foreign minister as saying that his country was withdrawing its ambassadors from Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE amid tensions.

The Qatari government soon said that the state agency had been hacked and that the remarks attributed to the emir and the foreign minister had never been made.

The official denial, which was offered several more times, too, nevertheless failed to stop a widening rift from emerging between the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf. Saudi media viciously attacked Qatar, accusing it of having “betrayed” the other Arab countries particularly at a time when they had attempted to stage a show of “unity” against Iran in a much-publicized and extravagant series of events in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also blocked Qatari websites and broadcasters.

Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani later said the country was being targeted in a “hostile media campaign, which we will confront.” He was referring to the media blackout.

Kuwait, however, did not join the blackout. Kuwaiti Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Jarallah called the ban “regrettable” and expressed Kuwait’s readiness to converge its views with those of Qatar.

Some analysts say Riyadh fears that the Arab Persian Gulf countries it has long sought to coopt may be gravitating toward Iran, which Saudi Arabia perceives as a regional adversary.

Tehran has said time and again that it does not seek tensions with any of its neighbors, including Saudi Arabia.

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