Saudi Arabia deletes hate song on Qatar from YouTube

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A Saudi television anchor stands in front of the logo of the 41st Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) at the media center in at Al Ula, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. Kuwait's foreign ministry announced that Saudi Arabia will lift a years-long embargo on Qatar, opening its air and land borders in the first steps toward ending the Gulf crisis. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Bloomberg

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia deleted a hate song against Qatar from YouTube, as the countries prepare to sign a breakthrough agreement aimed at easing a three-year regional rift.

The song, “Teach Qatar”, is meant to instruct gas-rich Qatar about the purported error of its ways and the reasons four Arab states chose to boycott it.

Rotana Media Group removed it from its YouTube channel after Saudi Arabia reopened its air, land and sea borders with Qatar on Monday, easing a crisis that complicated US efforts to isolate Iran.

“Teach Qatar, and those who support Qatar, that our country is patient,” the lyrics go. “But when things become dangerous, by God you will see its men take action. Twenty years of intrigue, treachery, and conspiracies we are aware of.”

The song was released in 2017, the year Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and trade links with Qatar, after accusing it of funding militant groups and building close ties with their chief regional foe, Iran. Qatar denies the charges.

It was written by Turki Al-Shikh, a senior royal court adviser and a longtime friend of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The song had detractors and supporters in the kingdom.

“We released this song because we wanted to defend our country,” said Ehab Altobiqi, a 38-year-old biomedical engineer from Medina.

“They never should have released it to begin with, especially since we knew we were going to restore relations with Qatar at some point,” said Bandar Alotaibi, 33, of Eastern Province.

For some Qataris, the acrimony can’t be so easily eradicated.

“They can delete whatever they want to but it will still remain in memory,” a woman who identified herself as Qatari national Mai Khalifa tweeted.

Other anti-Qatar songs remain uploaded on YouTube. Rotana Group didn’t respond to several phone calls to a request for comment.