By Ahmed Yusuf
Qatari dailies on Sunday highlighted the blockade on their county alongside today’s 39th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Riyadh, which the Qatari emir declined to attend, despite an invitation from Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz.
In lieu of Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, only state ministers will represent Qatar at the one-day summit of the GCC, a six-nation bloc of oil-rich Gulf states: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, and Qatar.
In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain collectively severed ties with Doha, accusing it of supporting terrorism, and imposed an air/land/sea embargo on Qatar, which vociferously denies the allegations.
Qatari dailies Al-Watan and Al-Sharq reported that the blockade created a large social split.
The papers reported that the Gulf system has become disrupted and its achievements squandered, Q by the GCC General Secretariat -- held by Saudi Arabia -- asserting that "what brings the peoples of the Gulf together the blockade countries sought to scatter and dispel, creating a humanitarian crisis within the GCC social system."
Al-Watan blasted the “arbitrary measures” imposed by the year-and-a-half blockade for “creating a painful tear in the social fabric of the Gulf."
Al-Sharq accused the blockade states of deliberately causing a humanitarian crisis within the GCC social system and continuing this stance at all regional and international forums.
The paper said the invitation for Qatar to participate in the summit did not signal a change in stance by the blockade coalition, stressing the need to “investigate the crimes committed by the countries of the blockade before thinking about Qatar attending” the summit.
The paper concluded that the summit will not be productive, as the Gulf system has been crippled and its achievements wasted by the GCC General Secretariat, and whatever Qatar’s level of participation, it is “keen on the success of the system of the Gulf Cooperation Council."
The GCC was founded to ensure the unity of the Gulf peoples, said Qatari daily Al-Raya on Sunday, but the blockade’s discriminatory and arbitrary measures have dealt a profound blow to the Gulf’s social fabric.
Al-Arab daily reported that "the Gulf summit in Riyadh will be no different from previous ones."
The last GCC summit was held in Kuwait in December 2017. It was the first to be held amid the crisis over the Qatar blockade, and was attended by the emirs of both Kuwait and Qatar.