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Twitter users in Qatar decry song criticising nation

Group of prominent singers from several Gulf countries launch song accusing Qatar of creating the GCC crisis.

A group of singers

A group of singers from several Gulf countries launched a song accusing Qatar of treachery and of being behind an ongoing diplomatic crisis that has gripped the region since the summer.

The group, which predominantly consists of high-profile Emirati singers who are known across the Middle East, resorted to creative means to criticise Qatar.

In June, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia the UAE and Egypt cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed a land, sea and air blockade after accusing it of supporting terrorism.

Qatar has strongly denied the allegations.

The song directly references the Qatari Emir, 37-year-old Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, his father, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and the country's former Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani.

It also criticises Azmi Bishara, a Palestinian former member of the Israeli parliament, who lives in self-exile in Doha since 2006, and heads the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies.

The song's theme consists of warnings directed to Qatar, with a chorus that advises it not to "enter the danger zone" and for it to contain its actions that are "out of line".

The lyrics go on to praise UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and his father King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Towards the end, they convey the blockading countries' wishes to resolve the crisis, but accuse Qatar of being "stubborn".

In response, Qatari citizens have turned to social media to express their solidarity with their country, and some have described the move as one that lacks "class and ethics".

One Twitter user, Samira al-Rifeyah, wrote "Never before in the history of humanity or at least in the modern era has a group of countries threatened their brotherly country using art and songs.

Another user, said: "Is this the result of the last meeting in the UAE? And you blame the people for living in frustration brought about by their leaders that are competing in shenanigans."

"I would suggest to the Qatari government to blacklist all those who contributed, published, sang and directed the 'Tell Qatar' song," another user said.

Earlier this year, a group of Saudi singers launched a similar song called that was broadcast on the Saudi-based Rotana TV channel. The owner of the channel, billionaire prince Alwaleed bin Talal, is currently under house arrest as part of an unprecedented Saudi anti-corruption purge - lead by Mohammed bin Salman.

Dozens of royals, government officials and influential entrepreneurs have already been arrested, facing a number of allegations including money laundering and bribery. The purge, which includes no-fly lists and the authority to freeze assets, has been expanding since Sunday.

The steps were the latest in a series of policies widely seen as an effort by Mohammed bin Salman to assert power over the country and its political and business elite.

Last month, Sheikh Tamim said he will not bow to pressure from the group of Arab states blockading the country, calling the independence and sovereignty of Qatar a "red line".

"Our sovereignty is a red line. We don't accept anybody interfering our sovereignty," Sheikh Tamim told US television programme 60 Minutes.

"They don't like our independence, the way how we are thinking, our vision for the region," he said.
He went on to describe the months-long diplomatic dispute and blockade as "a shock".

On June 22, the quartet issued a 13-point list of demands, including the shutdown of Qatar-based media network Al Jazeera, limiting ties with Iran, and expelling Turkish troops stationed in the country as a prerequisite to lifting the blockade.

Doha rejected all the demands, denouncing them as attempts to infringe its sovereignty.


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