Qatar Dismisses Mecca Summits’ Anti-Iran Remarks

DOHA, QATAR - DECEMBER 18: Qatar Air Forces unfurl the flag of Qatar during the 137th anniversary celebrations of the Qatar's National Day in Doha, Qatar on December 18, 2015. Thousands of people have gathered along Doha's waterfront to celebrate Qatar's National Day. The annual holiday marks the date in …
Mohamed Farag/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain over the weekend chastised their fellow Sunni Arab Gulf country Qatar for dismissing two summits in the holy city of Mecca focused on admonishing Iran over its alleged aggressions and criminal acts in the Middle East and beyond.

Amid escalating military tensions between Iran and the United States, American President Donald Trump’s ally Saudi Arabia convened two emergency summits that began Thursday to discuss recent “aggressions and their consequences” with top Gulf Arab leaders.

The anti-Iran events at the Muslim holy city came amid a diplomatic spat that has pinned Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, and Bahrain against Qatar since 2017, mainly over Doha’s cozy relationship with Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, considered a terror outfit by Cairo and many of the Arab states of the Persian Gulf.

In the days leading to the Mecca summits, the Saudis reportedly extended a rare invitation for Qatar to attend and Doha accepted.

“Qatar sent its prime minister to attend both events, which condemned Iran’s meddling in the region and confirmed [the] unity of the Gulf Cooperation Council amid a dispute between Doha and Gulf neighbors,” Gulf News from the UAE reported on Monday.

Doha reportedly failed to express any reservations about any of the comments made during the summits, which marked the first landing of a Qatari jet on Saudi soil since their diplomatic row began in 2017.

“Qatar, having sent its highest ranking official since the boycott broke out two years ago, had agreed to the final communique, according to officials in the region,” the National newspaper from the UAE reported on Monday. “There was even speculation of reconciliation on the cards.”

Bahrain reportedly went on to accuse Doha of backtracking after Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Qatar’s foreign minister, indicated to the Doha-owned Al Jazeera that “it had reservations about hardline statements on Iran made at emergency summits in Mecca.”

“The statements condemned Iran but did not refer to a moderate policy to speak with Tehran,” the Qatari foreign minister told Al Jazeera.

Thani added that the summits “adopted Washington’s policy towards Iran and not one that takes the neighborhood into consideration.”

The Saudis, Emiratis, Bahrainis, and Egyptians have accused Qatar of taking sides with Iran against Sunni Muslim governments. Shiite Iran is Sunni Saudi Arabia’s regional rival.

Dr. Anwar Gargash, the minister of state for foreign affairs at the UAE, blasted Doha for turning its back on what was perceived to be Qatar’s agreement with the Mecca message.

Gargash declared:

It seems to me that attending and agreeing in meetings and then retracting what was agreed upon could be a result of pressure on the weak lacking sovereignty or a lack of true intentions, or lack of credibility. Or it could be all of these things combined.

Adel Al Jubeir, the minister of state for foreign affairs in Saudi Arabia, condemned Qatar for “retroactively rejecting decisions made at a conference after it has concluded.”

Jubeir declared:

Qatar’s dismissed today two statements, a statement that rejects Iranian influence in the regional affairs and a statement identifying the centrality of the Palestinian issue and the establishment of a Palestinian state in accordance to the 67 borders, with East Jerusalem as it capital. Everyone know that Qatar’s distortion of the truth is unsurprising.

Iran’s state-owned Press TV appeared to celebrate Qatar’s dismissal of criticism towards Tehran in Mecca, noting that pro-U.S. Iraq also opposed the comments by the summit’s Arab participants.

Shiite-majority Iraq is heavily influenced by Iran despite its close relationship with the United States.

The U.S., which has slammed Iran with what it has described as an unprecedented wave of debilitating economic sanctions, maintains about 5,000 American troops in Iraq with the ability to enter neighboring Syria and restrain Tehran if necessary.

Iraq is home to tens of thousands of Tehran-allied militiamen sanctioned by Baghdad that the Pentagon office of the inspector general (OIG) has deemed a threat to American troops.

Although the Shiite fighters helped the U.S. degrade the Sunni Islamic State’s (ISIS/ISIL) so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria, some of the militiamen have threatened to attack members of the United States armed forces in the region.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is a Muslim country that is a neighbor to Iraq and Arabs. It is certain that we do not wish the security of Iran to be targeted,” Iraqi President Barham Salih declared, according to Press TV.

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