By Salman Al-dossary
Source: Asharq Al-Awsat
Our region is going through a historic phase. Important decisions are made to reorganize chaos. History will not overlook those who stood with terrorism and those who fought it; those who claimed to be combating extremism while being in the same trench.
One of the most revealing stances of regional countries’ orientation is the attack by Qatar and Turkey on the US decision to include the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on its terrorism list. Yes, Qatar and Turkey defend the terrorist group that has carried out hostile activities in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Argentina, Germany, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Kenya, Bahrain and Kuwait.
Qatar and Turkey defend the terrorist group that planned in 2011 a terrorist attack targeting the Saudi ambassador in Washington on US soil. Qatar and Turkey defend the terrorist group that a US federal court in 2011 charged with the bombing of Khobar Towers in 1996, which killed 19 Americans.
Finally, Qatar and Turkey defend the terrorist group, which continues to provide financial and material support, training and advanced-technology and conventional weapons to a wide range of terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah, Hezbollah’s Brigades in Iraq and Al-Ashtar Brigades in Bahrain, and other terrorist groups in Syria and across the Gulf.
No one disagrees with the famous saying: There is no specific definition for terrorism. It is somewhat correct and logical. However, certain countries went as far as covering a well-established terrorist group against which legal charges were made, and proven killings were established. This is a new situation in the world that brings us back to four decades ago, when countries such as Gaddafi’s Libya, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and some south American countries, publicly supported groups that hijack aircraft, terrorize civilians and assassinate opponents.
If there are countries that demand that the Revolutionary Guards be given the legitimacy of not being held accountable for their crimes, it would be possible to do the same with Al-Nusra Front, for example.
All of them are terrorists and all of them are supported by states. We will not be surprised to see that those, who defend the Revolutionary Guards today, will also back Al-Nusra Front, even though they are currently doing so through their multimedia tools and platforms in Qatar and Turkey in particular.
But why do Qatar and Turkey take the risk to stand up against the majority of the world’s countries and express their support for the Guards? In my opinion, this revolutionary position is due to three reasons. The first is that the Turkish-Iranian-Qatari alliance does not allow for public criticism by any of these three countries against the other.
Second, Iran will not accept its allies to abandon it in such circumstances and in response, can take measures against their interests. The third reason is that both Qatar and Turkey are gradually raising the ceiling against US interests, considering that the current confrontation against Iran was provoked by Trump’s administration, and thus, they are betting on the possibility to face the storm until Trump leaves the White House in around two years. Such bet is very similar to that of a person, who dumps his savings in Las Vegas casinos and then awaits great profits.
Imagine that the Turkish foreign minister says: “Such decisions (classifying the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group) would lead to instability in our region.” His Qatari counterpart goes as far as to consider the decision as “unilateral” and says: “Iran has a regional and geographical position, which requires us to look at them differently.”
The joint Turkish-Qatari position is nothing but an explicit expression of the efforts of the Turkish-Qatari-Iranian coalition to establish the “safe havens” project for terrorist groups. This means that the governments turn a blind eye because they have common objectives with terrorists, as in Iraq, Lebanon or Syria. These countries make implicit deals with terrorists as long as their actions are not directed against these governments and are consistent with their interests.
Without a strong international campaign against “safe havens” for terrorists, efforts will be scattered and useless. What is the benefit of an international coalition against terrorism while countries such as Turkey, Qatar and Iran give it legitimacy and a legal cover?!
Salman Aldosary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper