Qataris and Saudis are one!


A video clip, widely watched and exchanged in the social media, showed a young Saudi handing out water bottles and dates to passing cars, just before Iftar in Ramadan. A driver teased him: But I am Qatari! The boy declared spontaneously and wholeheartedly: Qatari and Saudi are one!

Some Arab colleagues and friends ask me: Why did we have to confront Qatar this forcefully, even though it is a sister Arab nation?

I told them, original Qataris are related to Arab tribes in the Arabian Peninsula, including the ruling family which is part of Bani Tamim, in Najd. Some tribes, such as Al-Murrah, Ajman, Dawasir, Marikhat and Najdah, came from Saudi Arabia. Many families are Qatari-Saudi.

In addition to strong social ties, the official doctrine of both countries is Hanbali. Wahhabi school of thought is the religious reference in Riyadh and Doha. Geographically, Qatar is a natural extension of the Kingdom by land, sea and air.

The problem is not between us and the Qatari people. We are one. It is with those who kidnapped their national policies and institutions.

I have often engaged in discussions with representatives of Qatar, in political conferences and the international media. Most of them, I discovered, were not nationals. Recently, I pointed out to a BBC program host that all his callers from Qatar or in its defense were non-Qataris (except one). Their names and accents showed they came from Egypt, Sudan, Palestine, and Yemen. They defended Qatar’s support of extremist groups and Iran, and its aggressive intervention in neighbors’ affairs, like they wrote those policies themselves! And they attacked Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt with a vengeance. It is like the whole idea is to separate Qatar from its Gulf and Arab family.

I told him that the real Qatari, like the lady caller, spoke with a broken heart, about the issue. They never attack us, speak with hatred, or seek to escalate the situation. Even as they show solidarity with their leaders, they avoid supporting their regional policies or advocating disputes with their neighbors. Their comments are filled with love for the Arab nation and Gulf countries. They always pray and call for resolution of divisive issues and return to better times. When King Salman visited Qatar toward the end of last year, I was there. The amount of love, excitement and appreciation of the King was amazing. Saudis who often visited Qatar, like me, were warmly welcomed.

The caller confirmed this impression and explained to the program host that Qataris, while standing by with their Emir, are not happy with what is happening, and that I really understood her position and expressed it well.

On Al-Mayadeen and other channels, the Qatari representatives spoke in different Arab dialects, even as some wore the Qatari dress. They were rushing into the confrontation as if the peace would be at the expense of their personal and party interests.

At each instance, I alerted program hosts to this phenomenon, stressing that the issue is not between our Qatari brethren, and us but with the state’s destructive policies that hurt our collective interests and security. Yes, We are pushing for change and reform of such irresponsible behavior harshly, at times. You might be harsh on your loved brother or son for their best interest, and that of the whole family. The goal is to correct not to punish, to right wrongs, not to get even.

The time has come for the Qatari leadership to stop its harmful policies that hurt them, the Gulf and the Arab world, and give bad name to Islam and Muslims. They should sever their relations with bad friends and allies who have failed their own people and countries, bringing misery and destruction to every space they occupied.

It doesn’t concern them to see Qatar in such a logjam, for they are obsessed with achieving their goals and implementing their agenda, even at the expense of their host’s best interests. And if, one day, their interests collide, they will turn against Qatar as they did against Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain before.

Yes .. Qataris and Saudis are but one! We are not happy for the pain our brothers and sisters in Qatar endure. It pains us to see ordinary people suffer from policies they were not even consulted about. We, as writers and commentators, should make this crystal clear, distinguishing between our political stands on these policies from our beloved Qatari people.

Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi is a Saudi writer based in Jeddah. He can be reached at Follow him at Twitter:@kbatarfi