Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Monday ordered a sweeping crackdown targeting “dishonorable” Saudis who insulted Qatar and its emir, arguing that the three-year crisis between the Gulf neighbors was a momentary “blockade of passion” that citizens prolonged with their vehement support online and in newspaper opinion columns.
The prince, commonly referred to as MBS, said the protracted crisis was proof that the people and social media users, both humans and bots, were irresponsible.
“It is like a fight between parents in a family,” MBS said in an interview. “You wouldn’t want the children to take sides and start, for example, posting tweets accusing their mother of supporting terrorism or insulting their grandmother just because they heard their father say those things in front of them.”
The de facto leader of Saudi Arabia said the crisis, which ended without Doha acceding to any of the demands of its rivals while diversifying its economy, was ultimately a net positive for his country.
“We began the crisis by imprisoning the spies and traitors who opposed the blockade, and now we are going after those who tried to create a wedge between brothers and urged us to burn our bridges,” he said.