Saudi Arabia and its allies have issued a threatening 13-point ultimatum to Qatar as the price for lifting a two-week trade and diplomatic embargo of the country, in a marked escalation of the Gulf’s worst diplomatic dispute in decades.
The onerous list of demands includes stipulations that Doha close the broadcaster al-Jazeera, drastically scale back cooperation with Iran, remove Turkish troops from Qatar’s soil, end contact with groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and submit to monthly external compliance checks. Qatar has been given 10 days to comply with the demands or face unspecified consequences.
Saudi Arabia and the other nations leading the blockade – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt – launched an economic and diplomatic blockade on the energy-rich country a fortnight ago, initially claiming the Qatari royal family had licensed the funding of terrorism across the Middle East for decades. Since then, the allies appear to be pushing for the isolation of Iran and the suppression of dissenting media in the region.
The list of demands, relayed to Qatar via mediators from Kuwait, represents the first time Saudi Arabia has been prepared to put the bloc’s previously amorphous grievances in writing. Their sweeping nature would, if accepted, represent an effective end to Qatar’s independent foreign policy. According to one of the points, Qatar would have to ‘align itself with other Arabs and the Gulf, militarily, politically, socially and economically, as well as in financial matters’.
This post was published at The Guardian
Qatar’s foreign minister on June 19 said his country wouldn’t bargain away what it sees as its sovereign rights and called on the Saudi alliance to conduct negotiations in a ‘civilized way,’ after first lifting the blockade. He said Qataris were united behind their emir, and called Al-Jazeera and foreign policy as internal affairs not open to negotiation.
The boycotting nations demanded that Qatar stop all funding for individuals, groups or organizations that have been designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Egypt, Bahrain, the U.S. and other countries, and hand over any individuals wanted in these countries.
Qatar gas wealth enabled it to develop foreign policies that came to irritate its neighbors. It backed the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas in the Gaza Strip and armed factions opposed by the U.A.E. or Saudi Arabia in Libya and Syria. Gas also paid for Al-Jazeera, which at various times has embarrassed or angered most Middle Eastern governments.
The channel has supported dissidents against Arab dictators. Over the years, it enraged Saudi, Emirati and Egyptian leaders who have often stopped its transmissions and kicked out its staff.
‘Qatar may not fully comply with the list, but it has to take these demands into consideration and finally make a move toward reviewing its foreign policy and the editorial line of the main media outlet, Al-Jazeera,’ Nader said.
This post was published at bloomberg
If geopolitics studies how nations behave, then the nation is singularly important. Nation-states are the defining feature of the modern political era. They give people a collective identity and a pride of place… even when their borders are artificially drawn, as they were in the Middle East.
Constantly in conflict with the notion of nationalism, especially in such a volatile region, are transnational issues. These are issues like religion and ethnicity that cannot be contained by a country’s borders. Arab nation-states are now failing in the Middle East, and though their failure is primarily due to their governments’ inability to create viable political economies, transnational issues – especially the competition between the Sunni and Shiite sects of Islam, as well as the struggle within the Sunni Arab realm – are expediting the process.
The Failure of Pan-Arabism
Transnational issues have long bedeviled the countries of the modern Middle East. Major Arab states like Egypt, Syria, and Iraq began to flirt with pan-Arabism – a secular, left-leaning ideology that sought political unity of the Arab world – not long after they were founded. It threatened entrenched powers, particularly Arab monarchies like Saudi Arabia. But for an ideal that promoted unity, pan-Arabism was a notably fractured movement, with claims of leadership coming from the Baath party in Syria and Iraq to Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt. Whichever form it took, it advocated a kind of nationalism that defied the logic of the nation-state.
Pan-Arab nationalism failed because it couldn’t replace traditional nationalism and because it advocated something that had never existed in history. But the countries that rejected it never really developed into viable political entities. Autocracies and artificial, state-sponsored secularism kept them fragile, held together mostly by the coercion of state security forces.
This post was published at Mauldin Economics on JUNE 26, 2017.
Part of Trump’s appeal to many of his voters was, at least ostensibly, the idea that he would employ a less hawkish/neocon foreign policy than his opponent Hillary ‘We Came, We Saw, He Died’ Clinton. While it’s still too early to decisively say that Trump will usher in yet another foreign policy disaster for these United States and the world, it’s certainly not looking good.
The lobbing of tomahawk missiles into Syrian based on the fairytale that Assad launched a chemical weapons attack was the first sign that Trump is easily manipulated and impulsive. In fact, the episode bothered me so much I wrote a post detailing the dire ramifications titled, Prepare for Impact – This is the Beginning of the End for U. S. Empire. I suggest taking a read if you missed it the first time, it’s my most popular post of the year.
While that was bad enough, Trump’s cozying up to the barbaric, terrorist-supporitng leaders of Saudi Arabia has been by far the most concerning aspect of his foreign policy (if you can call it that) so far. This policy has become even more dangerous now that the 30-year old princeling who is leading the Saudis’ increasingly aggressive stance in the region has been named crown prince. It appears Trump is willing to let the Saudis do whatever they want in the region, which is guaranteed to have disastrous implications for America and the Middle East.
I wrote two important articles on this topic, which I have linked to below.
This post was published at Liberty Blitzkrieg on Jun 26, 2017.
Episode #191 of SUNDAY WIRE SHOW resumes this June 25th, 2017 as guest host Patrick Henningsen brings you this week’s LIVE broadcast on the Alternate Current Radio Network…
LISTEN LIVE ON THIS PAGE AT THE FOLLOWING SCHEDULED SHOW TIMES:
5pm-8pm UK Time | 12pm-3pm ET (US) | 9am-12am PT (US)
This week we deliver another LIVE broadcast, this time from Britain’s former naval stronghold in Plymouth, as SUNDAY WIRE host Patrick Henningsen breaks down the biggest stories in the west and internationally, including a follow-up on the recent disaster in West London where we’ll speak to local resident Emma about the Grenfell Tower fire – the social and political fallout as well as questions about how many residents actually died in the fatal blaze. In the second hour, we’ll connect with geopolitical analyst Daniel Faraci from Grassroots Political Consulting in Washington DC to discuss how the recent fracture between Qatar and Turkey (and Iran) on one side – and the US, Saudi Arabia, UAE and the rest of Gulf, on the other. What will this mean for the region for Syria and for Yemen? In the final hour, we’ll try to connect with political pundit Basil Valentine to discuss the Queen’s top priority as Britain’s monarch; not government or Parliament – but horses, as well as a report from Glastonbury festival and the Corbynmania going on there. We’ll also get Basil’s thoughts on the Grenfell situation and how its thwarted the Tory plans to consolidate power.
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This post was published at Spreaker on JUNE 25, 2017.
One of the few elected Democratic lawmakers with an extensive anti-war record, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), has combined forces with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) to push legislation through both the House and the Senate that would bar federal agencies from using taxpayer-backed funds to provide weapons, training, intelligence, or any other type of support to terrorist cells such as al-Qaeda, ISIS, or any other group that is associated with them in any way. The Stop Arming Terrorists Act is so unique that it’s also the only bill of its kind that would also bar the government from funneling money and weapons through other countries that support (directly or indirectly) terrorists such as Saudi Arabia.
To our surprise – or should we say shame? – only 13 other lawmakers out of hundreds have co-sponsored Gabbard’s House bill. Paul’s Senate version of the bill, on the other hand, has zero cosponsors.
While both pieces of legislation were introduced in early 2017, no real action has been taken as of yet. This proves that Washington refuses to support bills that would actually provoke positive chain reactions not only abroad but also at home. Why? Well, let’s look at the groups that would lose a great deal in case this bill is signed into law.
This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on June 23, 2017.
The United Arab Emirates warned that it would halt intelligence-sharing with the United States in an attempt to block legislation that allows the families of September 11 victims to sue the UAE and Saudi Arabia over their potential roles in the attacks.
According to leaked emails obtained by The Telegraph, the UAE ambassador to DC, Yousef al-Otaiba, privately warned U. S. senators that Gulf countries at risk of being sued in American courts would be ‘less likely to share crucial information and intelligence’ if the bill passed.
The emails show how the UAE worked with Saudi Arabia to lobby against the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), a law that would allow the families of September 11 victims to sue states that assisted the hijacking plot. Al-Otaiba coordinated his efforts with the Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir.
Two of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Emiratis, while 15 were from Saudi Arabia.
This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on June 22, 2017.
The diplomatic crisis resulting from sanctions against Qatar raises fresh questions concerning the political and economic environment in the Gulf. A guest post by Anas Abdoun.
Just a fortnight after President Trump’s visit to the Middle-East, many members of the GCC as well as Egypt, severed diplomatic, economic and security relations with Qatar. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, and Yemen, made this momentous decision, joined days later by Mauritania and the Maldives.
These measures are particularly hard for Qatar as this is not merely a closing of embassies. In 2014, Qatar had a crisis with its neighbors, who shut down their embassies to protest against Doha’s foreign policy. The crisis was resolved with an agreement, which Saudi Arabia now claims has not been respected by Qatar.
This time, in addition to cutting diplomatic ties, the five countries decided to enforce a major economic embargo against Qatar, which is financially powerful but geographically very small. The GCC is now caught up in the worst diplomatic crisis since its creation in 1981, dividing the organization which yields great power within the region and with the entire group of Arab countries.
This post was published at FinancialSense on 06/22/2017.
Declassified documents released last week shed light on the Central Intelligence Agency’s central role in the 1953 coup that brought down Iranian Prime Minister Muhammad Mossadegh, fueling a surge of nationalism which culminated in the 1979 Iranian Revolution and poisoning U. S.-Iran relations into the 21st century.
The approximately 1,000 pages of documents also reveal for the first time the details of how the CIA attempted to call off the failing coup – only to be salvaged at the last minute by an insubordinate spy on the ground.
Known as Operation Ajax, the CIA plot was ultimately about oil. Western firms had for decades controlled the region’s oil wealth, whether Arabian-American Oil Company in Saudi Arabia, or the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in Iran. When the U. S. firm in Saudi Arabia bowed to pressure in late 1950 and agreed to share oil revenues evenly with Riyadh, the British concession in Iran came under intense pressure to follow suit. But London adamantly refused.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 21, 2017.
Two days ago, when reporting on the surprising “terrorist attempt” by Iran’s National Guard on a major Saudi offshore oilfiled (at least according to Saudi media), we said that “if the Saudi account of events is accurate, and if Iran is indeed preparing to take out Saudi oil infrastructure in retaliation or otherwise, the simmering cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran is about to get very hot.” This in turn followed an earlier analysis on the ongoing Syrian war in which we said that “the next major regional conflict appears set to be between Saudi Arabia and Iran. All it needs is a catalyst.”
That catalyst, according to energy consultancy Petromatrix, may have been revealed overnight with the stunning Saudi royal shakeup in which the King announced he was stripping the current Crown Prince, his nephew Mohamed bin Nayef (MBF), of all titles and obligations, and replacing him with his son Mohamed bin Salman (MBS).
Summarizing the event, Petromatrix analyst Olivier Jakob wrote that “the day starts with the Saudi Crown Prince sent to retirement and replaced by the deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). MBS was already the strong hand in Saudi Arabia, this latest development, and the purge that goes with it, confirms that he is the de-facto king of Saudi Arabia. Under his watch, Saudi Arabia has developed aggressive foreign policies (Yemen, Qatar…) and he has not been shy about making strong statements against Iran.”
The punchline: “with MBS now having greater control of Saudi Arabia and with Jared Kushner having a large control of the White House it is not really a question of if but rather of when a new escalation with Iran starts.”
Jakob wasn’t the only one to react strongly to the Saudi royal shakeup. Below, courtsy of Bloomberg, are several other notable reactions:
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 21, 2017.
The political standoff in the Middle East between Qatar and other powers in the Middle East enters its third week, and the conflict shows no signs of abating.
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and also tried to close off entry to Qatar by land, sea, and air. They argued that Qatar is a major funder of terrorism.
US President Donald Trump backed the move. ‘The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level, and in the wake of that conference, nations came together and spoke to me about confronting Qatar over its behavior,’ Trump said on June 9. ‘I decided, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, our great generals, and military people, the time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding — they have to end that funding — and its extremist ideology in terms of funding.’
Of course, there is much more to the spat than Qatar’s terrorism links – the tension between Qatar and Saudi Arabia goes much deeper. Qatar supported the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011, sparking the intense ire of the various monarchies and authoritarians in the region. Qatar has a friendly relationship with Iran, a major rival of Saudi Arabia. There is also just a plain old competition for power in the region. Needless to say, it’s complex.
This post was published at FinancialSense on 06/20/2017.
If you asked your normal, television programmed American about 9/11, many would still say what a sad day it was, the day the US was attacked by Al-Qaeda’s Muslim extremists.
They are wrong about who did it, of course… but then again they get their ‘news’ from fakestream media and have been drinking fluoride, getting vaccinated and spent their entire childhood in government indoctrination camps.
Al Qaeda, which was a CIA creation has now morphed into ISIS, and the same people are backing ISIS that backed Al Qaeda – the US government, Israel, Saudi Arabia, CIA, and NATO.
This post was published at Dollar Vigilante on June 19, 2017.
The ongoing Qatar crisis has had an unexpectedly adverse outcome among the Syrian “rebels”, in many cases formerly known as al-Qaeda, who expect the crisis between two of their biggest state backers – Saudi Arabia and Qatar – to deepen divisions in the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad. Together with Turkey and the United States, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been major sponsors of the insurgency, arming an array of groups that have been fighting to topple Syria’s Iran-backed president. However, in recent weeks the Gulf support has been far from harmonious, fuelling splits that have set back the revolt.
Quoted by Reuters, Mustafa Sejari of the Liwa al Mutasem rebel group in northern Syria said “god forbid if this crisis is not contained I predict … the situation in Syria will become tragic because the factions that are supported by (different) countries will be forced to take hostile positions towards each other.”
“We urge our brothers in Saudi Arabia and Qatar not to burden the Syrian people more than they can bear” he said magnanimously, when what he really meant is that he needs Saudis and Qatar on the same page so that the supply of weapons and cash can resume.
To be sure, for the terrorists rebels the Qatar crisis comes at the worst possible time: the opposition to Assad has been losing ground to Damascus ever since the Russian military deployed to Syria in support of Assad’s war effort in 2015. As Reuters adds Assad now appears “militarily unassailable”, although rebels still have footholds near Damascus, in the northwest, and the southwest. These are unlikely to hold without a continued infusion of support from the feuding Gulf states.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 19, 2017.
You American bastards just shot down my cousin's aircraft (Ali) while taking out the scumbags of ISIS in the area.
Ali hope you are OK bro pic.twitter.com/z6IKFgbtqJ
— Majd Fahd (@Syria_Protector) June 18, 2017
Update: U. S. Central Command issued a statement saying the plane was downed “in collective self-defense of Coalition-partnered forces,” identified as fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces near Tabqah. It is unclear if these particular “forces” were getting their funding from Saudi Arabia or Qatar.
And a quick situational take from Worldview:
A U. S. Navy fighter jet shot down a Syrian government Su-22 fighter jet on June 18 that had dropped bombs on Syrian rebel forces fighting the Islamic State in Syria, ABC News reported. The U. S.-led coalition said in a statement that its focus is on fighting the militant group, and not fighting the Syrian government or Russian forces, but it will defend coalition forces coming under attack. The incident occurred in a town south of Tabqa, Syria, which had been retaken from the Islamic State by the Syrian Democratic Forces, an umbrella group of Syrian Kurdish and Arab rebel forces, in preparation for the offensive on the stronghold of Raqqa.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 18, 2017.
Very little has gone the way President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wanted in the Middle East since the start of the now-defunct Arab Spring. His reaction to the Qatar crisis, where he threw his lot in with Doha at the expense of endangering ties with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, appears to be the latest episode in this enigma.
This development is also likely to force Erdogan to ease tensions with Tehran, which also backs Qatar, to avoid facing a new bout of isolation in the region. Tellingly, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was in Ankara literally within hours of the Qatar crisis breaking out.
It is noteworthy that Erdogan was warning the Gulf states not so long ago against Iran’s regional ambitions, so we could be facing a new tack by him from one side to the other, depending on which way the wind is blowing.
Many consider Erdogan’s reaction as a new example of his impulsive and erratic approach to foreign policy, and they note that this has left Ankara out of tune with the regional established order once again, facing more difficult choices. His stance has also left experts wondering about what is really driving Ankara’s foreign policy.
This post was published at ALMONITOR
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will visit Qatar on Wednesday for talks with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the foreign ministry said, amid a crisis in Doha’s ties with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.
Cavusoglu will also hold talks with Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, a ministry statement said, as Ankara eyes with concern the crisis between its chief regional ally Qatar and its Gulf neighbours. The ministry said “recent regional developments” would be discussed, without giving further details.
On Tuesday, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed the economic and political isolation of Qatar as inhumane and contrary to Islamic values.
“Taking action to isolate a country in all areas is inhumane and un-Islamic,” Erdogan said in televised comments to his party in Ankara, after Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain broke off relations with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting “terrorism“.
In his strongest comments yet on the crisis, Erdogan added that Qatar was a country “on which a death sentence had in some way been pronounced“.
This post was published at France24
21st Century Wire says…
As 21WIRE reported earlier this week, the situation in the Gulf is now on a knife-edge, with Qatar and Turkey moving closer together – while Saudi Arabia, the UEA and the US also close ranks against the newly appointed emirate whipping boy.
Once again, Russia makes another shrewd move on the international stage, and increases its own geopolitical leverage in the process…
The Qatari-Saudi Cold War is a geopolitical scheme cooked up by the US and the UAE, as I explained in my 21st Century Wire article about ‘The Machiavellian Plot to Provoke Saudi Arabia and Qatar into a ‘Blood Border’ War’, but it’s not exactly a surprise that it happened.
My September 2016 forward-looking analysis about ‘The GCC: The Tripartite’s Big Barter In The ‘Eurasian Balkans” presciently forecast that a second round of Gulf tensions was bound to occur, and that the Great Power Tripartite of Russia, Iran, and Turkey could cooperate with Qatar in helping to break Riyadh’s stranglehold on the GCC. Moreover, my Geopolitica. Ru analysis from earlier this week about ‘Russia’s Energy Diplomacy In The Mideast: Boom Or Bust?’ accurately predicted that Russia will play a role in mediating tensions between the two feuding GCC countries, which has now officially come to pass with the Qatari Foreign Minister’svisit to Moscow this weekend.
This post was published at 21st Century Wire on JUNE 14, 2017.
In less than one week, what began as a simple disagreement in politics turned into a siege that could easily develop into a war. On June 5th of last week, Saudi Arabia and four of its regional allies decided to sever diplomatic, economic, and transportation ties with Qatar and its ruler Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. However, it was May 24th which saw the initial fracture occur in this latest watermark in the long history of the inter-Gulf conflict.
After two and a half years of a coercive accord achieved under what was referred to as the the ‘reconciliation’ that followed the Gulf crisis of the withdrawal of ambassadors in March 2014, the night of May 24 brought the Qatar relations from a ‘sister’ of the GCC coalition to an unprecedented stage of deadlock, triggering a dangerous new wave of instability in the Gulf region.
The situation seemed like some a sort of an unannounced war on Qatar after being labeled ‘rogue’ state by Saudi Arabia. It reopened once shut windows of the past, like old statements attributed to the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad, who once stated that Doha was ‘a thorn in the side of the Arabs,’ and like the threats that followed such a statement from Saudi press saying Qatar will pay the price for ‘her betrayal.’
Tensions escalated dramatically just after US President Donald Trump’s recent visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which he believed was a great success, yet the actions by Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies to isolate and punish Qatar last week was the first outcome of his Administration’s new ‘policy’ in the Middle East.
This post was published at 21st Century Wire on JUNE 13, 2017.
The Middle East has been ablaze for many years now, but the Islamic Republic of Iran has so far largely escaped any direct harm. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, has also become the victim of numerous terror attacks over the past years… but now, the whole dynamic seems to have undergone a radical shift, a shift endangering Iran, Qatar, Syria, and Yemen… with potential ripple effects also touching upon Turkey and Russia.
All the while, the United States maintain a not-so hidden presence in the region that has the potential of even endangering the whole world…
Setting the Scene in Tehran
On Tuesday, 7 June 2017, the city of Tehran was rocked by simultaneous terror attacks: a ‘multi-prong terrorist attack has struck Iran’s capital city this morning. Gunmen and suicide bombers converged on three targets including Iran’s Parliament building and the mausoleum of Imam Khomeini, killing staff and members of the public.’
This post was published at 21st Century Wire on JUNE 13, 2017.
The only firm opposition to the “Let’s Teach Qatar a Lesson” operation currently underway in the Middle East is coming from Turkey. Even U.S. President Donald Trump initially loudly applauded the campaign led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – though he has since taken a more conciliatory tone.
The Turkish government, which had drafted a plan some time ago to send troops to Qatar to firm up a Sunni front against Iran, fast-tracked legislation needed to send troops abroad.
Turkish-Arab relations are passing through erratic times. Everyone was wondering what position Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would take in the Qatari crisis. Erdogan had won the hearts and minds of the Gulf emirs and kings earlier this year by declaring the need to “prevent the Persian nationalist expansion.” Many observers thought he would take a pragmatic approach to avoid losing favor with many other countries just to please Qatar. Erdogan’s widely publicized but futile telephone diplomacy to solve the crisis was interpreted as a desperate attempt to avoid having to choose between Qatar and Saudi Arabia and its allies. But at the end of the day, Ankara decided to interpret the actions against Qatar as if they had been taken against Turkey.
Erdogan said there are other motives behind what is being done to Qatar, but he wasn’t specific.
It didn’t take Ankara long to reach the conclusion that, after Qatar, Turkey is the likely next target. After all, just like Qatar, Turkey had become a staunch guardian of the Muslim Brotherhood and was in full harmony with Qatar in the proxy war raging in Syria. All the reasons cited by the Saudi king and the U.S. president to declare Qatar a “supporter of terror” could easily be applied to Turkey. Full support of the sanctions against Qatar from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who had toppled the Muslim Brotherhood in his country, no doubt played a key role in Erdogan’s lining up with Qatar.
This post was published at ALMONITOR