Qatar has been a safe haven for Muslim Brotherhood leaders for years. As such, it has had common cause with Turkey in seeing the Muslim Brotherhood regain control of Egypt since the ouster of Mohammed Mursi in 2013. So, how does one explain Qatar’s sudden shift toward an effort to ease relations with Egypt, currently under the rule of Gen. Abdel Fatah el-Sisi?
As Turkey continues its rise, the practicality of geography comes into play for Qatar. Yes, it’s a Muslim Brotherhood country that has been at significant odds with Saudi Arabia but it’s also part of the Arabian peninsula. When the heat comes down on Saudi Arabia from the likes of Turkey and Iran, Qatar is all but guaranteed to be collateral damage.
Ezekiel 32:29 states:
“There is Edom,
Her kings and all her princes,
Who despite their might
Are laid beside those slain by the sword;
They shall lie with the uncircumcised,
And with those who go down to the Pit.
As Walid has pointed out before, while Edom is generally regarded as being part of south Jordan, check out Ezekiel 25:13, which says:
therefore thus says the Lord God: “I will also stretch out My hand against Edom, cut off man and beast from it, and make it desolate from Teman; Dedan shall fall by the sword.
There are also political dynamics at work. While Qatar’s Brotherhood leadership wants to embrace the same brand of Islam its proponents want to help re-usher in the Ottoman Empire in Turkey, there is also the issue of survival.
In the days after the removal of Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi, it was reported that Qatar was expelling Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi who had found safe haven in Qatar for decades, and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. Well more than two years later, there has been no such expulsion.
No one was more shaken by Mursi’s removal that Egypt’s then Prime Minister Erdogan. As Shoebat.com reported, he cried after the Brotherhood lost control of Egypt:
No one should take Qatar at its word. Nonetheless, here is a rather optimistic outlook over the news by a Turkish columnist:
In the anti-el-Sisi campaign, Turkey was not alone. Its only regional ally, Qatar, fully supported Turkey against Egypt’s elected “coup leader.” Erdogan was happy. At least until a few days ago….
In Ankara, Erdogan was all smiles when he offered a red-carpet ceremony to the visiting Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. Happy to have his best ally as a guest, Erdogan probably did not know the Emir’s next move on the Middle Eastern chessboard.
A few days after al-Thani’s merry visit to Ankara, Qatar announced its determination to thaw ties with Egypt, ending its alliance with Turkey over “Egypt’s illegitimate tyrant.”
“The security of Egypt is important for the security of Qatar … the two countries are linked by deep and fraternal ties,” ran a statement from the office of al-Thani on Dec. 21. It was a real cold shower on Ankara — and Erdogan. The statement had come one day after el-Sisi met in Cairo with a Qatari envoy, suggesting a possible thaw in relations. After the meeting, el-Sisi’s office issued a statement saying, “Egypt looks forward to a new era that ends past disagreements.” Apparently, the Egyptian-Qatari reconciliation had been brokered by Saudi Arabia and, once again, Turkey was the odd one out.
In its immediate vicinity, Turkey does not have diplomatic relations with three countries — Armenia, Cyprus and Syria — and has deeply problematic diplomatic relations with two countries: Israel and Egypt. This situation is not sustainable.
Even Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc has said that Turkey should repair its relations with Egypt. But this is not an easy task. In the unlikely event of a reconciliation, Erdogan’s previous big words on el-Sisi the coup-maker will make him look like a leader shaking hands with an “illegitimate tyrant.”
On Dec. 24, Turkey’s foreign ministry spokesman said that bilateral ties with Egypt could “normalize if the country properly returns to democracy, if the Egyptian people’s free will is reflected in politics and social life.” Meaning, no normalization. The spokesman would not comment on Qatar’s policy change on Egypt.
Turkey aspires to be a regional leader with no, little or problematic dialogue with about a dozen countries in its region. Erdogan’s top advisors have found a nice euphemism for this situation: “precious loneliness.” In reality, it is rather a blend of miscalculation and over self-confidence.
It’s quite obvious Qatar is feeling pressure from somewhere. The deception sanctioned by Islam may be at work but so too is the issue of survival.