Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani: His tiny country has long punched above its weight.
(photo credit:ASMAA WAGUIH / REUTERS)
At the far end of the desert is a small, corrupt and evil place called Qatar. One day, the desert will cover over its grotesque ostentation.
Passing travelers will be reminded of the ruins of ancient temples in the jungle, silent monuments to vanished kingdoms. In Qatar it will be the desert – the true monarch – that reclaims its throne.
The country will eventually go down in history as the product of a short episode in the annals of civilization when the world relied on gas and oil, enabling a few idlers and incompetents to become wealthy and nefarious reprobates. Once this episode is over, the sand will return and bury the rotten kingdom, and the peninsula’s small population will go back to doing what they do best – pearl diving and cavorting with camels.
The extravagant opulence and Arabian Nights lifestyle might have given rise to a certain Oriental charm: golden palaces in the heart of the desert, flying carpets and genies trapped in oil barrels. But that wasn’t enough for the local tyrant, so he went in search of new games to amuse himself with, and started raining money down on terrorist organizations in the region, like Hamas and its cousins.
For their part, they’re just doing what they do best – terror.
The emir of Qatar is quite pleased. His hands are clean. Qatar did not spill any blood, but merely provided the funding for the missiles, rockets and tunnels, and for the hefty salaries of those who used them. But without that money, the terrorist monsters could not have raised their ugly heads. And so the emir’s hands did spill the blood, and there is no reason he shouldn’t have to pay for it. He is apt to learn that the price of funding terror is much higher than he thought – it might cost him his head.
It won’t necessarily be Israel that makes the Qatari dictator pay. It could be the Arab countries who have become fed up with the fact that a tiny nation, under the wings of the West, is interfering in the internal affairs of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria. From the point of view of the Arabs, how legitimate can it be for just over 250,000 people to control one of the largest gas and oil reserves in the world? Don’t the other three hundred million members of the Arab League deserve a share? Qatar takes pride in the Al Jazeera media network, and uses it to lobby for democracy and transparency – in other Arab states. But when will we hear any criticism of its own dictatorship? When will we hear anything about its dissolute royal family, about the son who deposed his father? When will the TV station air an in-depth exposé of the infamous manner in which Qatar was chosen to host the 2022 World Cup, or of the more than a thousand workers, virtually slaves, who have already died constructing the infrastructure for the games? Al Jazeera will never broadcast such items because there is no real freedom of expression in Qatar, merely a caricature of a free press.
Where did the twisted idea of letting Qatar mediate a truce ever come from? Was this privilege included in the price of the rockets? What benefit could it possibly have to offer except for enhancing the status of Qatar itself? The Qataris support Western universities and museums, but even hiding behind distinguished cultural institutions can’t change the fact that they are still unenlightened fanatics who repress women and deny human rights. They are what they are.
Translated from the Hebrew by Sara Kitai (skitai@ kardis.co.il).
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