In response to an FT article by Gideon Rachman on 19th June 2017, entitled ‘The Qatari Crisis has global implications’
“For the past six years, there have been two Arab worlds. The world of violence and tragedy; and the world of glitz and globalisation. Syria, Iraq, Libya and, to a lesser extent, Egypt — have been engulfed by conflict. But Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai have prospered as global hubs for travel, leisure, business and finance…
But the wall between the two Arab worlds is breaking down. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates…have imposed a blockade on Qatar…The Saudi and Emirati complaint that the Qataris have been funding jihadis across the region has been echoed by western officials…
Donald Trump has taken the Saudi side in the dispute — indeed the US president may well have given the green light to the Saudi-led blockade, during his visit to the kingdom last month…
For residents and tourists in the Gulf, the wars in the Middle East have been taking place in flyover country — places that they can glance down at from thousands of feet, as they take their Emirates or Etihad flights to Europe or the US. But the Qatar crisis suggests that the days when the tragedies of the Middle East could be kept at a safe distance from the booming Gulf may be over" – Gideon Rachman
To understand what is happening here we can safely disregard the ‘moralism’ coming from the mouths of US politicians and Saudi ‘royals’ – it’s all smoke. Trump’s speech in Riyadh about Saudi Arabia being our ‘great allies against terrorism’ was utter claptrap, and no more indication of what’s really happening than the photo of him and his new pal Saruman fondling the orb in the bowels of Orthanc.
This is about power – control of oil and gas. The Qataris, and the Saudis come to that, have traditionally sought the demise of Assad's regime, and that of his father before him, not least because of their refusal to allow Saudi/Qatari oil and gas pipelines to flow though Syrian territory, The US supports them in this, again not least, because it would provide direct competition with Russian pipelines to Europe. Unsurprisingly, Assad is not keen on it because Russia is his most powerful ally – Syria hosts Russia’s only Mediterranean naval base in Tartus.
The 'neo-conservatives' in Washington, and their equally insane allies the ‘liberal interventionists’, have long known about the export of terrorism from the Gulf States to Syria and elsewhere. The wars across the Middle East are being fought by state proxies, some of which are even re-branded from ‘terrorists’ to ‘moderates’ when they switch sides or change the brand name. To pretend that the situation in South West Asia is anything like the US Government, the NYT or CNN would have us believe…is laughable.
Qatar’s gradual shift in attitude towards Assad, and their thaw with Iran is part of a continuing story: Here is Robert Fisk from the Independent:
“But if we look a bit further down the road, it’s not difficult to see what really worries the Saudis. Qatar also maintains quiet links with the Assad regime. It helped secure the release of Syrian Christian nuns in Jabhat al-Nusrah hands and has helped release Lebanese soldiers from Isis hands in western Syria. When the nuns emerged from captivity, they thanked both Bashar al-Assad and Qatar.
And there are growing suspicions in the Gulf that Qatar has much larger ambitions: to fund the rebuilding of post-war Syria. Even if Assad remained as president, Syria’s debt to Qatar would place the nation under Qatari economic control.
And this would give tiny Qatar two golden rewards. It would give it a land empire to match its al-Jazeera media empire. And it would extend its largesse to the Syrian territories, which many oil companies would like to use as a pipeline route from the Gulf to Europe via Turkey, or via tankers from the Syrian port of Lattakia" – Robert Fisk
Reader AV responded:
“Good post - Unfortunately whilst leaders around the world sell arms / weapons to other leaders who enjoying engaging in proxy wars in other nations....... the ordinary citizens in these countries are getting their lives / families / homes destroyed. Is it any wonder so many are risking death in crossing the Mediterranean sea in rubber dinghy's etc.
I read a most amazing book recently ....."A hope more powerful than the sea" by Ms Melissa Fleming,
Truly appalling what these innocent people have to suffer.
Exporting weapons to these nations should be made a criminal offense against humanity”
To which I replied:
"Exporting weapons to these nations should be made a criminal offense against humanity"
Indeed - well said.
And of course the US and the UK are the main suppliers to Saudi Arabia. Our weapons are currently being used, amongst other things, to bomb Yemen back to the Stone Age. Yemen currently has thousands of children dying of starvation and a massive cholera outbreak, both of which are exacerbated by the Saudi naval blockade. The UN calls it 'the world's worse humanitarian disaster'
Neither our government, nor our media want to talk about this – apparently their ‘compassion’ and their ‘intelligence’ are highly selective – as in ‘bought and paid for’