An op-ed at Eurasia Review explains, from an anti-Qatarist point of view, the situation with Qatar versus other Gulf states. Though it sounds as though Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states are opposed to extremism, please consider the realities of Sharia law in Saudi Arabia, oppression of Christians in Egypt, etc. There are no white hats involved here. There is only a lesser of two evils and it is difficult to determine which is the lesser of the two evils. The following is just one point of view.
When news of the latest inter-Arab feud broke on 5 June 2017, it was not the first time that Qatar’s neighbours in the Gulf had lost patience with that stand-alone kingdom. Back in January 2014 underlying tensions, brewing for years, suddenly surfaced, and Gulf states tried to induce Qatar to sign an agreement undertaking not to support extremist groups, not to interfere in the affairs of other Gulf states, and to cooperate on regional issues.
When Qatar flatly refused to comply, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain broke diplomatic relations with their recalcitrant neighbour and in March 2014 withdrew their ambassadors. Qatar’s 33-year-old Emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, had been in power for less than a year, and the pressure proved too great. In April, at a meeting in Saudi Arabia, the Qataris signed the Riyadh Agreement whose terms, though never made public, were believed to be virtually the same as those they had refused to sign a few weeks before.
Whatever the Riyadh Agreement exactly specifies, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain clearly took away a very different view of what had been agreed than the Qataris. They expected Qatar to curtail its support for extreme Islamism, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters. They believed that Qatar had agreed to remove, or at least reduce, the appearance of Islamists on Al Jazeera and other Qatari media, and especially to eliminate or soften the constant Muslim Brotherhood-based criticism of Egypt’s government and its president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. They also expected Qatar to expel, or at least silence, the provocative Islamist figures that dominated its media platforms, including Muslim Brotherhood preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi and the Palestinian Arab nationalist firebrand Azmi Bisha.