Iran-Qatar: Political hypocrisy in action!

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The worst kind of hypocrisy is political behavior sponsored by states. We have been watching live all kinds of double standards, double talk, double identities. What so amazing is how natural it is for heads of state, as well as, religious and opinion leaders to lie to our face, without hesitation, shame or even respect for our intelligence. They don’t seem to care if they contradict the statement that they made yesterday or today’s news.

It is hard to understand someone if he doesn’t understand himself. It gets worse when that someone is a government with multiple heads and decision processes, speaking with many tongues and sending conflicting messages.

It gets worse when their speech is not related to their actions. So you may accept what is offered in private conversation, or even in a public forum, only to find the very same day that those offers are fake. Promises are made to be broken, agreements are signed to be violated, and commitments, no matter how many guarantors and witnesses, cannot be trusted to last 24 hours.

Iran, Qatar and all those in between, are famous for such tactics. Al-Houthi, in Yemen, for example, over two decades signed many agreements with the Yemeni government, but broke them all. They agree with you in a night-negotiation session, but come the next morning they take the opposite stand.

You would be excused for thinking that they had a collective amnesia, but it is more of a culture. They used to be guns for hire, with zero principles or conscience, but there is no honor among thieves. So, with no regret or need for explanation, they turned against their ally, ex-President Saleh, who gave them the keys to all the gates of Yemen, and put his loyalists in the army and tribes at their service.

Iran, the mother-ship of this culture, is infamous for its contradictory statements, and unreliable commitments. Recently we witnessed different stands toward Saudi Arabia from different people. There are those who thanked the Kingdom for a successful and safe Haj, for instance, and others who complained that we did not allow them to hold political demonstrations. Some threaten us with ballistic missiles that would burn all our oil fields and cities - except Makkah and Madinah! Others wonder why we would doubt their peaceful intentions!

It is not just different officials who say different things; sometimes the same person sends contradictory messages. Take President Rouhani and his team, for example. In the morning they may accuse Saudi Arabia of supporting US economic sanctions and threaten to blast our oil fields and close down the Strait of Hormuz. In the afternoon, they extend their hands in the name of friendship and brotherhood. When this doesn’t work, they return late at night to tough talk. Only this time, they change their tactics. Instead of direct threats, they declare support for Arab militias targeting us.

This is why it is so hard to understand their real positions and intentions — unless one is familiar with their constitution, ideology and culture.

Qatar is another example of double-talk and multiple positions. During private conversations and indoor meetings, they present a totally different position than they take in public. They have managed to draw a picture of themselves in the public mind, and they hate to change it.

The problem is: the picture doesn’t reflect reality. While their public image is of a small country, but with a strong, principled government, the truth is far from that beautiful image. It is more one of scheming politicians that will stop at nothing to realize their self-interests. It doesn’t matter how many die, and how much destruction their neighbors and the world might suffer, as long as they get their fill of fame and influence. Lies become a way of life; and cheating becomes the rules of the game.

I believe Qatar has a big problem - not knowing what they want and how to get it. Unless they make up their mind, they will not stop playing games and changing their stands so frequently. Saudi Arabia is right to demand a clear and published position before we go forward, any less is pointless!

As for Iran, they do know what they want. It is written for all to see. Their constitution calls for the exportation of their revolution to the rest of the world - starting with Muslim nations and Arab neighbors. They regard their Supreme Leader as the Caliph of all Muslims. Therefore, they will not stop until they rule, using all the tools available to them. Ends, in their ideology and culture, justify the means.

With such regimes, such cultures, you cannot negotiate your way to a fair deal. Their minds are set in stone. And, as with all stones, you need a hammer!

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


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