This is a brief timeline about Qatar published by Qatar Census official website. It is very helpful to understand the history of this small peninsula since the 4th century until today. It talks about the early inhabitants of that land and the possible origins of is name, Qatar. It also talks about the Ottomans control, the British mandate, and the independence later on. It ends with talking about the discovery of oil that dramatically changed the country toward the better.
The western expeditions suggested that the early habitation of Qatar happened in the 4th century BC. The seafaring Canaanites are believed to be the original inhabitants of Qatar as suggested by Herodotus, the Greek historian, in the 5th century BC. Lead by Alexander the Great, the Greeks came to the Gulf and operated many of its ports to their financial benefits. The name Qatar has many origins and stories behind it, “Catharrei” for example, was a name given by Pliny the Elder, a Roman writer, to the people of that area. Also, “qatara” was a name used by Ptolemy, the famous Greek geographer to refer to the same area later on. During the Islamic era of the 7th century AD, Qatar peninsula was under the rule of king, al-Munzir Ibn Sawi al Tamimi; and the Islamic civilization flourished in the area since then. Especially in the 8th century AH under the Abbasid state, Qatar’s economy saw notable growth and prosperity. Later on during the 10 century AH, an alliance took place between the Qataris and the Turks in aim to expel the Portuguese from the region. The Turks later on took control of the entire Arabian Gulf region including Qatar. However, local Arab tribes were holding most of the real ruling process as the Ottoman sovereignty was minimal. In the contemporary era, starting with the 18th century, Al-Thani family took over Qatar, and they Sheikhs of the family were ruling the country one after the other. By the end of the First World War, the Turkish rule in Qatar ended as well. However, the foreign influence in the country did not Stopped there because the government signed a protection treaty with Britain in 1916, who started the exploration for oil later on. When oil was discovered, it opened new horizons to the country, brought it closer to modernization, and boomed the economy as whole. In late 1971, independence was granted to Qatar, and Al-Thani family continued to rule the country generation after another.
I liked the information provided about the history of Qatar and who inherited it. Since ever, people where moving to places where they could find wealth and profits. Knowing this fact allows me to understand one significant cause of some contemporary wars and conflicts. Without a fair trade off, people will not leave their countries or hazard their lives. Just like in many other Arab countries, especially the Gulf states, the ruling is hereditary, few families took over the governance one generation after another. Such thing reminds me of our discussions about democracy the lack of preparedness and the inability of some nations to adopt it. However, this equation might change in the near future, especially when the people come to realize the consequences of submitting to governments that support terrorism or encourage violence, as the case with Qatar.
This article from the Independence was written and published yesterday, June ninth 2017, by Robert Fisk about the current crisis between Qatar and some neighboring Gulf states. It suggests some possible causes of the crises like Qatar’s continues support of terrorism. It also explains what makes other countries like Egypt and the Maldives interfere and declarer the hostility towards Qatar as well.
The article is suggesting that the current crisis in Qatar is caused by two main reasons, the permanent subordinate of Arab states to the west, and the fading Sunni Muslim’s unity. The author is mocking how most Gulf states are turning their faces against Qatar, their neighboring country that have had many strategic alliance and mutual benefits with them instead of uniting to encounter Iran, the Shia country, as was always expected.Apparently Bin Laden and most of the contemporary terrorist especially those who conducted 9/11 attacks were Saudis not Qataris. However, Qatar’s al-Jazeera channel was constantly offering hours of free airtime for Bin Laden and to al-Qaeda/Jabhat al-Nusrah later on. The rage on Qatar is not limited to the Gulf countries, since other countries like the Maldives have also broken relations with Qatar. A step that could not be understood but by the money language, The Maldives is expecting a Saudi five-year loan facility of $300m and many other investment and benefits. However, a large number of ISIS fighters were also exported from the Maldives previously. So is the case with Egypt that offered its support to the Saudi deterrent campaign against Qatar, Egypt wont do so with no financial rewards however. An important fact to mention is that a massive US military air base exists in Qatar. Which is believed to be a guard shield for Qatar against any possible invasion of the neighboring countries, as Sheikh Hamad, the previous emir thinks. Although Saudi, Bahrain, and the U.A.E all declared their anger of Qatar, Kuwait and Oman are still acting as peace makers in the Gulf. The ties of the Qatari regime to Iran and Syria is the main cause that made its neighbors mad.
It is fascinating to see how things could change over one night. I have no doubt that Qatar was and still subsidizing terrorists at least through its TV channels that constantly were trying to spark the flame of sectarianism. Qatar seems to care only about its strategic benefits without considering any morals or other considerations. This is not the first time that the Saudi government expresses its anger from the Qatari government conduct, as their was tension in 2014 as well but it was settled at that time. However, I wonder what caused the anger to reappear again only shortly after the visit of president Trump to the 2017 Arab-Islamic summit in Riyadh. If Trump gave the green light to the Arabs to turn their faces against Qatar, how could Qatar use the existence of the U.S base on its land as a mean of protection and be confident about it? This is a question that could or could not be answered in the coming days. However, I hope peace could overcomes anger that no one knows what its consequences are going to be. I admire the effort of the Kuwaiti emir who previously experienced the Iraqi invasion of his country, so he looks like an expert of the undesired consequence of war.