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
ارشيف

An attempt to influence: Abduction of Qatari Hunters in Iraq

Qatar-Militias-768x506

On the 16th of December last year, gunmen have kidnapped at least 26 Qatari hunters including members of the ruling family . The attackers were driving dozens of four- wheel drive vehicles when they swept into the hunters camp noting that the hunting group was hanging in a desert area of Muthanna province of southern Iraq , nine people were released , Iraqi government said .” It is true that kidnappings are widely spread in Iraq after 2003, either for political purposes or to swap a ransom, but this process of abduction formed a distinguishing feature due to the fact that the target was the princes of the Qatari ruling family.
Iraqi official statements were conflicting on operation of the kidnapping between the Iraqi Interior Ministry and the police commander of the province of Al- Muthana. As the ministry confirmed that the process has been done due to the failure of hunters to abide by its instructions to remain in secured areas , while Muthanna police chief confirmed that the kidnapping has been carried out by governmental shaded car and the number of hostages was 17. The last assurance comes in the context of the responsibility represented by the Ministry of the Interior to provide protection for nationals of Qataris in the Iraqi state , those when came to the Iraq , they were abide by the legal procedures for entering and also they go to the province of Muthanna, accompanied by some Iraqi security personnel to catch the “hawks” which has been done by the consent of the governor of Muthanna. Whatever the Iraqi Interior Ministry is trying to rule out the responsibility for the kidnapping about itself, it will not succeed , for simple reason , as it is known in Iraq, especially after the year 2003, due to the security situation in Iraq is unstable noting that the security convoys movement in the provinces are controlled by the Iraqi government as the case in the Southern provinces and the Middle Euphrates which its path of movement is known by the security agencies in the Ministry of Interior and , and the spread of security detachments “checkpoints” in those provinces reduces the process of the breakthrough to it , and the question that arises in this context, how could an armed convoy, who kidnapped the Qatari nationals to cross all the security detachments in different areas , without knowing the identity of that convoy and the destination for it ?!
To realize from this kidnapping for Arab nationals such as the Qataris and neighboring regional states such as the Turkish laborers before several months in Iraq , that it was intended to nationals of certain countries that its policies in the regional environment are contradicted with the Iraqi government and Shiite forces and its militia s and also contrasts with the Iranian government’s policies and the Russian Federation, noting that it did not happen in Iraq for example, that Iranians or Russians were kidnapped by mistake , on the contrary, tens of thousands of the Iranians stormed the Iraqi border, under the pretext of the revival of a Shiite religious ritual without any reaction from the Iraqi government commensurate with this intrusion. With this understanding we can say that the kidnapping of Qatari nationals has been done for political reasons and by militias allied with Iran and not a criminal. This is for two reasons as follows:
1. The State of Qatar launch national dialogue among all political components in Iraq:
This dialogue may be one of the reasons for the kidnapping, that in the month of September last year , it was held in the State of Qatar a conference of Iraqi Sunni opposition forces ,and it was at the head of the invitees to the Qatari capital Doha leading Sunni figures of the divergent views who had been invited by the government of Qatar to try to heal the rift between them, and members of the Socialist Arab Baath Party.
The Iraqi government has expressed its annoyance of conducting such dialogue in the State of Qatar, the government stated that the Doha conference has been without coordination with them, stressing its rejection to it , as the prime minister’s office said that he had informed the head of the Iraqi parliament and Iraqi political parties not to participate in it, adding that the Qatari government has held a conference without advance detailed coordination with the Government of Iraq. And considered it an interference , which is not welcome , in Iraqi internal affairs, and a clear violation of the principles of bilateral relations, also said that the State of Qatar provoke Iraq , in its reception in this conference to the leaders of Sunni opposition figures from the Arab Baath Socialist Party, which was led by former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, and the Sunni militants, “sentenced in terrorism issues.
The State of Qatar for its part, also has expressed its extreme surprise for the Iraqi position and defended its position by saying that the Qatari intiative, is nothing but the result of visiting of Qatari Foreign Minister to Iraq and his meetings with Iraqi parties Sunni and Shiite alike, urging them to come together and discuss the unity of Iraq and maintain its security and stability. And Qatar in this position was right, because the head of the Iraqi parliament had told Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of the contents of this dialogue as that Tariq Najim, his adviser, was aware of the details of this dialogue, this means that the Iraqi government is familiar with it, and also demonstrates the rightness of the country and was surprised at the position of the Iraqi government to the attendance of the UN representative in Iraq to the conference.
the Iraqi government’s statements reflects the presence of Iranian pressure not to take the national reconciliation file outside the borders of Iraq to remain under the control of Iranian influence, where Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stressed , in his remarks , that his government is seeking to proceed with the national reconciliation file among all Iraqi factions to skip the current stage , which means the rejection of foreign conferences by this image.
The Shiite political forces opposed holding this conference; and confirmed that it is just a continuation of the sit arenas in Anbar province, as some have called for Iraq’s parliament speaker Salim al-Jubouri, the formation of a parliamentary committee to check on receipt of some political forces of financial support from the countries described as hostile to Iraq in reference to the Gulf countries, which support the Iraqi Sunni forces, arguing that such conferences are the nucleus of tearing Iraq apart . And accused those figures who are Participating in the conference of being a terrorism financiers and its supporters, also accused the participants of sectarianism due to the participation of faces being on the top of the yards of Sunni protest, which the Shiite politicians saw that it raise sectarian slogans.
These charges are a reflection of an Iranian desire opposing the uniformity of the Sunni ranks inside Iraq through the Gulf, so the confrontation is turning to a new Lebanon between Iran and the Gulf, where Iran supports the Shiite political component, in contrast, Saudi Arabia and Qatar will fund the Sunni politician component in Iraq, which threatens to the decline of Iranian influence inside Iraq . And ” It is possible and may be politically , by this arrogant behavior in Iraq in abduction of Qatari nationals , it sends a message to the State of Qatar, warning of the need not to interfere in Iraqi internal affairs. This may be the cause for the abduction of Qatari nationals by Iraqi government in Iraq and attributed it to the militias and terrorist groups to blackmail the State of Qatar and its pivotal role towards the issues of its nation. there are no political certainty based upon the denial or confirmation.
2. Turkish military intervention in Iraq:
The kidnapping of Qatari nationals process has been linked to this intervention noting that in the opening session of the Arab Thought Foundation at the headquarters of the Arab League, which was held on the sixth of December last year, the Secretary-General of the League Nabil Elaraby condemned what he called Turkish”incursion” in Iraq, calling it a clear interference “”in the territory of an Arab country and contrary to all international conventions and resolutions of the United Nations.
After this statement only a few hours, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stated to Arab and international media, saying “all options are on the table if Turkey do not withdraw its troops (from Iraq) within 48 hours” …! Which is surprising here, noting that after ten days of his statement , the Qatari nationals have been kidnapped … !.
Everyone is aware that the Turkish role in the environment of Middle East in the era of the Justice and Development Party has grown stronger and more active, especially after the US occupation of Iraq in 2003, this role was marked positively specifically after the Arab Spring as Turkey has imposed itself as a counterweight to Iranian influence and reinforced its relations with some Arab Gulf states , and here stand out among Qatari – Turkish relationship where Qatar realized by its foresight and usual political keenness of aspects of convergence between its positions and the positions of Turkey, which expresses in its entirety for the aspirations of the Arab and Islamic peoples mixing with it politically in alliance that might make from the exploitation of the abduction of Qataris a means of pressure on Turkey and reason to force it to withdraw its troops, which “penetrated” in Iraq, according to the Arab League statement.
In this context, it does not rule out that Iran be , due to its influence in Iraq , to have a hand in the kidnapping of Qatari nationals to be negotiated on getting out Turkish forces in exchange for their release, especially since Iran is a distinctive ally of Russia, which is the arch-rival to Turkey …!
This prospective is possible and the request of Shiite cleric Ali al-Sistani the release of all Qatari citizens explains his attitude as if he learns to whom he address, that the magic of sheikhs always blind the political insight at all levels of popular , government and Marja …!
From the above it can be said that the target of the abduction of Qatari nationals in Iraq is not a Qatari nationals but the active Qatari foreign policy toward the hot and existential Arab issues in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon , as these policies witnessed in recent years , especially with the aggravation of the revolutions of the Arab spring , a transmission of Qatar from the diplomacy of mediations to the diplomacy of influence , and there is no doubt that the foreign policy of the State of Qatar enjoys many competitive advantages assisted by the enormous sources of income owned and derived from the production and export of energy sources (oil and gas), and investments pumped outside the country’s borders.
Qatar has begun to emerge as a regional rising power since the beginning of the first decade of the millennium, taking advantage of the large national income, and exceptional circumstance represented in the vacuum left by the major regional powers such as Egypt and Iraq, and the reluctance of the United States from engaging in new conflicts and wars in the region after its two sever experiences in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
The principle of mediation remains , which was adopted by the country’s foreign policy during the first decade of the millennium, one of the most important landmarks of its policy , where the Doha established a model bearing of Qatari mark (Brand) in resolving regional and international disputes, and it seems that it continues in its quest to revive and revitalize that principle which Doha was able through it at some point, to paint a mental image of it in the subconscious mind of the international community, linked to the positive roles they achieved in this area, even Doha was called in some Western literature ” Orient Geneva “. For purpose of the mediation of Qatar to release or commutation of sentence for Saudi dissident Shiite Nimr Baqir al-Nimr before his execution by Saudi Arabia at the beginning of this year, it is not required to do criminal gangs acts by abduction of nationals Qataris to achieve this aim , or barter between the abductees and the Saudi opposition, The State Qatar is proven of its role on the Arab, Islamic and international level.
The State of Qatar turned into effect stage in regional and international issues, after the start of a spark of the Arab Spring revolutions , it was a turning point in the foreign policy approach adopted by the Doha, taking advantage of its soft power tools of multi-dimension , which has worked to build and strengthen it during more than a decade .This change in the foreign policy model though it was temporary , it highlighted that Doha may have to adopt a multi- strategic options depended on the independence of its decision; reflecting the flexibility of State’s foreign policy, the policy which is based on the foundations of the realist theory, one of the theories of political science which cares for analyzing foreign policies of the countries.
And what increased the effectiveness of the country’s foreign policy in this historic critical phase is the access of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to the top of the hierarchy of power in the State of Qatar on the twenty-fifth of the month of June 2013 , conducting a change in the Qatari diplomatic management style, in line with a number of variables that have taken place in the current regional events, particularly in Lebanon , Iraq and Syria, and that the country’s foreign policy tools have witnessed a clear development within the framework of the concepts of soft power and smart power. The relationship of the State of Qatar was enhanced with both Saudi Arabia and Turkey, where it was reached to the level of alliance to counter Iranian influence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

Rawabet Research and Strategic Studies Center

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