Stepping Up for Qatar

June 21, 2017

In recent weeks there has been headline after buried headline of how the Middle East is ganging up - for lack of a better term - on Qatar, a small peninsular Arab country that borders Saudi Arabia.

 

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen, have all abruptly cut diplomatic ties with Qatar in one of the biggest diplomatic crises in the 21st century. Their excuse being that Qatar is one of the main sponsors of terrorism and civil unrest in the

Middle East.

 

 Photo: www.visitqatar.qa

 

The timing of this entire situation is odd. Right after President Donald Trump finished his tour of the Middle East, Saudi Arabia spearheaded the efforts to isolate Qatar from the Gulf Cooperation Council  (GCC). Various articles suggest this makes no sense, seeing

that Saudi Arabia has had a greater involvement in state-sponsored terrorism than Qatar ever has.

 

At the same time, the U.S. is still selling army-grade planes and naval ships to the Qatari government, something it would not be doing in such an open matter if Qatar were a security issue. Quite the opposite, Qatar seems to be almost an ally to the U.S. in the Middle East. The biggest U.S. military base in the Middle East is in Qatar, and more and more U.S. colleges and universities have campuses in Doha, the countries capital.

 

 

 

Isolating the country by blockading Qatar Airway flights and creating unnecessary embargoes does not only perpetuate stereotypes of Islamophobia, but it also could lead to unnecessary tensions between the U.S. citizens in Qatar and the citizens of Qatar.

 

Trump has publicly accused Qatar of sponsoring terrorism while ignoring Saudi Arabia’s involvement in funding and executing terror attacks. His makeshift propaganda machine is making it more and more crucial to keep ourselves informed about foreign political climates because the U.S. has a history of interfering with geopolitical ties from afar.

 

A simple way to step away from curated and calculated news cycles that perpetuate fear and uncertainty are reading news sites from different parts of the world. Al Jazeera and BBC International are good starting points to understanding the context of a country in a more local way.

 

It is important to share and talk about Qatar in the context of it being a smokescreen to the true interworking son Middle Eastern politics and sponsored terrorism. It is true that individual governments have had involvement with Islamic terror organizations but

pinning it on the “little guy” is not the solution.

 

Stepping up for Qatar is stepping up for the integrity of news. It is deconstructing Islamophobic tendencies and dismantling Trump’s propaganda-like machine that could potentially dismantle the GCC and can perpetuate Saudi Arabia's hypocrisy.

 

Isabella Grullón Paz is a 21-year-old senior journalism major at Ithaca College in upstate New York. She also studies international politics and is interested in immigration issues and migration patterns. She is originally from Colombia and the Dominican Republic and came to the United States three years ago. 

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