By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Shrugging off the latest political snubs by Arab Peninsula powerhouse Saudi Arabia and its lapdogs, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain – all of whom refused to attend last week’s annual Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in Kuwait as part of an ongoing Riyadh-led boycott of their former ally – Qatari Ambassador to Mexico Ahmed Abdulla A. A. al-Kuwari hosted a sumptuous sit-down luncheon at the Westin Santa Fe Hotel on Monday, Dec. 11, to mark his nation’s Founder Day, a national commemoration of the country’s unification in 1878.
In his welcome speech, Al-Kuwari made little mention of either the boycott or the uncertain future of the six-member GCC, focusing instead on his government’s accomplishments and bilateral relations with Mexico.
He also spoke about the importance of a “cohesive and harmonious society” based on modern fundamentals and the universal values of justice and equality (an indirect dig at Saudi Arabia).
The ambassador pointed out that Qataris today boast the highest per capita income in the world, thanks to an abundance of hydrocarbon resources and an egalitarian approach to wealth distribution.
“The State of Qatar now ranks fourth worldwide in education and first in the Arab World,” he said.
“The academic sector is the cornerstone of all human development, and for that reason, Qatar has strived to expand education within the country, attracting the best schools and educational institutions from around the globe under the umbrella of the Qatari Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.”
Al-Kuwari also noted that Qatar has one of the most advanced health systems in the world, and is diligently working toward a proposed government plan for 2030 that is centered on individual human dignity and sustainable development.
“By the same token, Qatar ranks first in terms of Middle East peace and security,” Al-Kuwari said.
“This has made it one of the most important centers for hosting international events that promote peace and tolerance.”
Al-Kuwari likewise spoke about the need for strengthening his country’s international bonds, including with Mexico.
As a result of a visit to Mexico by Al-Thani in November 2015 and a reciprocal visit to Doha by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in early 2016, Al-Kuwari said that more than 20 bilateral cooperation agreements have been signed in the last two years in the fields of trade, investment, communications, cultural exchange, education, sports, air connectivity and banking.
Currently, combined bilateral trade between the two countries amounts to about $290 million annually, making Qatar Mexico’s fourth-largest trade partner in the Middle East.
“The binational cooperation between our two countries is and will continue to be a shining example of a relationship characterized by honesty, transparency and common interests in benefit of both our people,” he said.
As a consequence of the ever-growing bilateral friendship, Al-Kuwari said that his government has recently eliminated visa requirements for Mexicans visiting Qatar.
Notwithstanding the six-month-long rift between Qatar and the Saudi-led bloc continues to threaten Middle East regional stability.
The Al-Thani family has ruled Qatar since the mid-1800s.
On Dec. 18, 1878, Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Thani succeeded his father Mohammed bin Al-Thani as head of the Qatari Peninsula.
He is credited with having unified all the local tribes by combating external forces.
He also earned a considerable degree of autonomy for the tribes of the peninsula.
After its independence from Great Britain in 1971, Qatar underwent a dramatic transformation from a poor British protectorate noted mainly for pearling into a rich state with significant oil and natural gas revenues.
But during the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Qatari economy was crippled by a continuous siphoning off of petroleum revenues by the emir, who had ruled the country since 1972.
His son, Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, overthrew the father in a bloodless coup in 1995.
The more progressive Hamad oversaw the creation of the pan-Arab satellite news network Al-Jazeera and Qatar’s pursuit of a leadership role in mediating regional conflicts.
In mid-2013, Hamad transferred power to his 33 year-old son, Tamim bin Hamad in a peaceful abdication.
In June of this year, Riyadh decided to cut diplomatic ties with Doha, supposedly because Qatar was not coming down hard enough on Islamic terror groups, but unofficially because it was playing too nice the Tehran.
This economic boycott, which was joined by Bahrain, UAE and Egypt, came just 10 days after U.S. President Donald J. Trump visited the Saudi capital calling on Muslim nations to stand united against armed militant groups.
Consequently, Qatar has been forced to import food and other basic supplies via air in order to meet the daily demands of its people.
Qatar has steadfastly denied allegations that it supports militant groups in the region.
However, it has been supportive of the bloody terror group known as the Muslim Brotherhood, which was spawned by none other than Adolf Hitler and has been responsible for countless deaths in Egypt, including the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981 and a plot to kill President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1954.
Qatar has also endorsed and financially backs Hamas, which is considered a terrorist group by the United States, as well as several other countries.