Friday, June 09, 2017

The Kerfuffle In Qatar Could Turn Into Something Much Nastier

It started round about last weekend I guess, Saudi Arabia and its allies in the Arab world, chiefly the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Kuwait and Oman suddenly broke of diplomatic relations with the tine but wealthy oil state on the coast of the Persian Gulf. Not only did they break off relations, they closed their posts and airspace to ships trading with Qatar and ships heading to and from its posts. The official reason was that Qatar supports terrorism.

This is really a case of the shit calling the camel smelly as there is no greater sponsor of terrorism than Saudi Arabia, with the exception perhaps of the USA. And The Muslim Brotherhood, those preserver of ancient arts like recreational beheading, honour killings, vaginal mutilation and stoning or flogging women who let a wisp of hair escape from their hijab, are very active in all those countries and when they controlled the government in Egypt a few years ago they implemented a policy of nailing Christians, Jews, atheists and people who were the wrong sort of Muslims to the poles that carry power and telephone lines so that they could work on their tans.

There has been much speculation about the real cause of this ganging up on Qatar, mostly it centres on that country's shift from supporting the idea of a pipeline through Syria to the Mediterranean coast to one that would run through Jordan and Lebanon.

Moon of Alabama has a good analysis.

June 07, 2017

The Saudis Demand Total Surrender But Qatar Will Not Fold
Moon of Alabama

Many people believe that Qatar will soon give in to recent Saudi demands and threats. I first though so too but have changed my opinion. Qatar will likely hold out way longer than anyone assumes and fight more intensive and much longer than foreseen.

The Saudi "young leader" has now given Qatar 24 hours to submit to 10 demands. These include (unconfirmed) the dismantling of Al Jazeera, breaking off of all diplomatic relations with Iran and (the Israeli demand of) ending all support for the Muslim Brotherhood and especially Hamas. The Saudis threaten with a military invasion.

But Qatar is not like Bahrain where 1,000 Saudi troops could easily take over to save a dictator from a mostly unarmed uprising of its people. It has way more resources and capable allies on its side and recent news shows that it knows how to use them.

Two days ago we extensively described the complex conflict between Qatar and some of its neighbors that has recently been escalating. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the main forces on one side, joined yesterday by Donald Trump but not by the Pentagon. On the other side is Qatar, geographically isolated and seemingly without any real allies even though it hosts a very large U.S. command center and air-base.

The conflict has been simmering for years. Qatar has a strong media arm with Al Jazeera TV and other prominent news outlets. Qatar and its media support the political Islam of the Muslim Brotherhood which won elections in Egypt before being kicked out in a Saudi financed military coup. The ruling Turkish AK Party is a Muslim Brotherhood branch as is Hamas in Palestine. Muslim Brotherhood parties have thereby proven that it's possible to have an Islam(ist) aligned government without a hereditary dictatorship. Their pure existence de-legitimates the al-Saud clan and other dictatorial family enterprises in the wider Middle East.

There is little reason to waste tears on Qatar. It is a small country with only 200,000 original inhabitants but with 2,000,000 expatriates living there too. Thanks to its large natural gas reserves Qatar is ultra rich and has a very modern (but also vulnerable) infrastructure. The country is way more liberal than Saudi Arabia. Its cities are somewhat cosmopolitan.

Unlike in Saudi Arabia women are allowed to drive and other religions than Islam can build their places of worship. But the rulers of Qatar officially follow the same ultraconservative and proselytizing Wahhabi cult as the al-Sauds. They support terrorists of the worst kind in the war against the Syrian people and elsewhere (just as the al-Sauds do).

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