Meanwhile, many have begun to wonder why relations have soured between Qatar and an increasing number of Sunni Arab nations. Some believe that Qatar's Emir, Sheikh Tamim, as well as the friendly stance he takes with Shiite-led Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, together with accusations that Qatar has been seeking to interfere with affairs of other countries through its state-funded media, Aljazeera, are the reasons.
Al Jazeera, a satellite news network funded by Qatar's royal family was launched in 1996. It was in the days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks that the world first encountered Al Jazeera when the channel broadcast its first Osama bin Laden's admission tape. The clip was the first of the numerous statements AJA would broadcast of the All-Qaeda or terrorist group leaders over the past years. This time, Saudi Arabia and seven other countries decided to cut diplomatic relations with Qatar over its alleged support of terrorism. Another reason believed to be why these countries decided to sever ties with Qatar, is because the Qatar News Agency previously published a story quoting the Emir of Qatar saying "There is no wisdom in harboring hostility towards Iran." Even though the network has since called the report a shameful cybercrime, the rift between Qatar and nearby nations reached a diplomatic low after Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim made a call to the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
==LIU PI-JUNG Prof., Dept of Political Science, Soochow University==
Trump supports the Sunnis, which means he is siding with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia then takes the chance to pressure the Shia supporters. Doesn't matter if it's about the Shia or the Sunni or whether Qatar used to support the AJA. I think Saudi Arabia is trying to take this opportunity to make things right.
Qatar's population is about 2.3 million but only about 313,000 of them are Qatari citizens. In 2015, its GDP per capital went up to US$74,686.6 while its gross national income is at US$83,990. After adjusted by purchasing power parity, the GNI goes up to US$138,480, which is ranked number one in the world. Scholars believe that over the past few years, Qatar tried to utilize its significant financial resources to meddle with politics in the Middle East. In 2013, Qatar signed the Riyadh Agreement, which calls for all member states to abide by the principles that there should be no direct or indirect meddling in regional affairs or backing of any party that threatens regional security and stability. Since Qatar did not honor the terms of the agreement, countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain decided to recall their ambassadors from Qatar in March 2014. Eight months later, the three countries decided to return their ambassadors to Qatar when Qatar again promised to uphold the Riyadh agreement.
==LIU CHANG-CHENG Assistant Professor, Department of Arabic, NCCU==
Qatar used its financial resources and expanded its political influence through the media in the Middle East. It shows that a small country can also play like the big ones. However, I think they have gone too far this time.
Liu Chang Cheng believes, the dispute is unlikely to be quickly resolved, and it might ultimately need countries such as Oman, Turkey and Kuwait to mediate the rift.
TRANSLATED BY STELLA TU
記者 張志雄 陳保羅 台北報導