Kuwait spotlights Qatar’s ‘distinguished’ preparations for region’s first World Cup

The Arab League had rejected the campaign against Qatar during the bloc’s latest summit in Algeria.

Kuwait has praised Qatar’s “distinguished preparations” for the region’s first ever World Cup on Monday, just days ahead of the kick-off date of the major international sporting event.

“The State of Kuwait expresses its support for the sisterly State of Qatar in its hosting of this great international sports gathering. It also places all its capabilities to make this global event a success,” read a statement by Kuwait’s cabinet.

“We ask God Almighty for all success and progress for the sisterly State of Qatar under the wise leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani,” added the statement.

Kuwait is the latest country in the region to express its support for Qatar as it gears to host the first World Cup in an Arab country, set to kick off on 20 November.

Earlier this month, the Arab League expressed its support for Qatar’s hosting of the tournament, saying  it is confident that Doha will hold “a distinguished version” of the event.

The Union of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) News Agencies (UNA) also echoed similar sentiments.

“Qatar’s hosting of this global event, as the first country in the Islamic world and the Middle East, is an opportunity to promote coexistence between different cultures and to highlight the civilised legacy and huge capabilities of the countries of the region,” said the UNA, as cited by Doha’s state news agency.

The statements come amid increasing scrutiny towards Qatar under an ongoing campaign, mainly driven by the west, that has exacerbated in recent weeks.

As the tournament edges closer, Qatari officials have taken a more head on approach to call out criticism, highlighting apparent angles taken by western media that has widely disregarded progress made on the ground.

The Arab League has rejected the campaign against Qatar during the bloc’s latest summit in Algeria.

“The declaration, issued this evening, stressed its absolute rejection of the malicious distortion and skepticism campaigns against Qatar,” read the final communique of the latest Arab League summit in Algiers.

Echoing the same sentiment, the UNA said the campaign “stems from suspicious agendas”. It noted that the information “has been proven false after verification and reference to reliable sources.”

More recently, 35 Jordanian members of parliament called on several global bodies to back Qatar’s hosting of the event. 

The MPs submitted a formal request on Sunday addressing the European Parliament, the Arab Parliament, the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, and the Parliamentary Union of the OIC  to issue a statement standing with Qatar.

Adopted by MP Khalil Attia, the memorandum saluted the “brothers in Qatar”, saying the MP’s “always and forever stand by their side in solidarity with their authentic people”.

“In my name and in the name of those I represent in the Jordanian House of Representatives and the Arab Parliament, I affirm that all of us stand with the Qatari brothers in organising the World Cup, which is being held for the first time in the Arab region,” read the memorandum.

The Jordanian diplomats further stated their “rejection of all arrogant agendas that attempt to ‘marginalise’ the Qatari achievement, cast doubt on the capabilities, and highlight negative criticisms”.

Qatar’s response to criticism

Officials in Qatar repeatedly slammed the “racist” motives behind the ongoing campaigns against the Gulf state.

Last month, Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said that “no other host nation” has faced this level of criticism.

“Since we won the honour of hosting the World Cup, Qatar has faced an unprecedented campaign that no other host nation has received. And we had handled it at first in good faith while considering some of the criticism positive and beneficial,” Sheikh Tamim told the Shura Council in October.

The amir added that while the criticism has helped Qatar “develop aspects that needed development”, it has continued to rear its ugly head.

“It soon became clear to us that the campaign has continued and expanded, and includes slander and double standards, until it has reached such a ferocity that many, unfortunately, wonder about the real reasons and motives behind it,” said Sheikh Tamim.

Speaking to Sky News last week, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said critics of the World Cup in Qatar are “arrogant” and “cannot accept a small country from the Middle East”.

Similarly, the Chief Executive Officer of Qatar 2022 Nasser Al-Khater said “European countries feel they have monopoly over the World Cup.”

“Europe has hosted 11 tournaments out of 22 tournaments, of course it refuses that a country like Qatar or an Arab Muslim country hosts a tournament like the World Cup,” Al-Khater told Al Jazeera Arabic in a televised interview last week.

Addressing the scrutiny, Al-Khater said the anti-Qatar campaign has evolved over the past decade, with aims taken at Qatar size as a geographically small country to its hot summer climate.

“From the start, we have said that this tournament represents all Arabs and is for the entire Arab world, this increases our excitement and our sense of responsibility and increases determination to make this tournament a success,” said Al-Khater.

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