Mustafa AY – TDO – 01.08.2017 Saudi Arabia based news channel named ‘Al Arabiya’ released a news “Qatar claimed that Mecca and other holy sites administered by Saudi Kingdom should be re-regulated in accordance with international agreements by Muslim countries”. Following this news, the recent crisis amidst Qatar and Saudi Arabia was deepened more. Adel al-Jubeir, who is in charge of Foreign Ministry of Saudi Arabia, assessed this case as a ‘declaration of war’ against Saudi Kingdom by quoting the news based on Saudi sources. In response, Sheikh Abdulrahman al-Thani in charge of Qatari Foreign Ministry claimed this news unfounded and accused Al Arabiya of inciting and agitating the already-deepened crisis much more by distorting the facts.
Politicizing sacred duty of ‘Haj’ is not the first seen in Middle East politics. After Saudi forces stormed on Shiite Houthis in Yemen with heavy bombardment, Saudi-Farsi governments came into the tough conflict reaching irreparable levels. In the aftermath of deteriorating conflict, sectarian tension already existed in both of the countries escalated more than before. Then, Iranian pilgrims in preparation to go to Mecca were subject to delays stemming from the conflict. Iran expressed its concern and fury to Saudi Arabia. In response, Saudi administration made calls to Iranian government so that they would be able to negotiate with each other concerning haj delay. But, all the efforts were made in vain. Because Iranian government refused to respond. But, through Swiss Embassy’s impartial role to arbitrate the ongoing haj problem, many Iranian Pilgrims went to Mecca so as to perform their sacred duty. All these diplomatic fights followed Riyadh’s accusation of abusing religious values and elements to their political interest that was directing Iran. Thus, they confronted with the growing diplomatic crisis.