Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 07, 2017

The Saudis Demand Total Surrender But Qatar Will Not Fold

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).

The Saudis currently lack money. Oil prices are too low to finance the needs of its 26 million people and the exorbitant expenditures of its ruling family. The Qatari gas fields would be a very profitable extension of their oil empire. The UAE would like to take over strategic Qatari islands in the Gulf (and the hydrocarbon fields around them). Taking over Qatar would bring both countries into a better position to fight their presumed enemy in Iran.

As we wrote:

The extreme bullying of Qatar by the Saudis and the UAE, with total closure of all its borders, is designed to create an immediate capitulation. So far Qatar holds onto its course but in the end it is likely to fold. It will have to stop its support for "terrorism" i.e. the Muslim Brotherhood. Another scenario is a putsch in Doha with some Saudi puppet prepared to take over the realm. If that is unsuccessful a military move could follow. Qatar has little capabilities to withstand a potential Saudi invasion.

I have since changed my opinion and said so in a few conversation on Twitter. Qatar will hold out way longer than anticipated. It may not fold at all:

Elijah J. Magnier‏ @EjmAlrai - 2:03 PM - 6 Jun 2017
If @realDonaldTrump is suddenly discovering that "Qatar is financing terrorism" it means he is ready to move forward beyond his statement.
Trump's statement will push #Qatar to speed-up the reconciliation w/ #SaudiArabia (through #Kuwait) to save its skin.

Moon of Alabama @MoonofA - 2:21 PM - 6 Jun 2017
Replying to @EjmAlrai
I do not yet bet on Qatar reconciliation - still has lots of cards to play. Saudis demand total capitulation. Crisis can extend for a while.

---

salamamoussa @salamamoussa - 4:36 PM - 6 Jun 2017
This is good from @Ibishblog But my bet is that #Qatar goes full frontal & becomes an Iranian client
Qatar crisis: a regional schism that’s been years in the making

Moon of Alabama @MoonofA - 5:35 PM - 6 Jun 2017
Replying to @salamamoussa @Ibishblog
Agree with your bet but note that most other people don't.

Hussein Ibish‏ @Ibishblog - 5:44 PM - 6 Jun 2017
Replying to @MoonofA @salamamoussa
They might try it but it won't work or last. No way, unless Washington agrees. You think it would? I'm SURE not!

Moon of Alabama‏ @MoonofA - 5:49 PM - 6 Jun 2017
Replying to @Ibishblog @salamamoussa
Strategy must be
-set up defenses; -muddle issues; -skirmish; -sew discord into Saudi coal.; -wait til times/policies change; meanwhile:
[bigger]

The map (source unknown) shows Qatar having moved from the Arab coast of the Gulf to the Persian one.

Our piece on the Qatar crisis two days ago also included this graph:

For Iran this is a chance to further blow up the GCC by intensifying its relations with Qatar. It could increase its food exports to the country and host Qatar airline flights. This in exchange for a Qatari retreat from Syria. The U.S./Saudi plan of confronting Iran through the GCC would then be in complete jeopardy.

Iran did exactly what I proscribed - NBC:

A top Iranian agricultural official responded by announcing Monday that Iran could send food shipments to Qatar by ship. He said the shipments would take 12 hours to reach Qatar. It is not known if any shipments have yet arrived.
...
An Iranian transportation official said Tuesday that Qatari flights bound to North Africa and Europe that used to cross Saudi, Egyptian or Kuwaiti airspace can now travel over Iran, Iraq and Jordan. Flights to Northern Europe can cross Iran.

Today Qatar officially asked Iran and Turkey for additional food supplies. [Update June 8, 1:00am - Turkish freighter planes with fresh food just landed in Qatar.]

But Iran can not send military support to Qatar - at least not openly and not yet. The Yemeni Houthi, who until very recently fought against Qatari soldiers on the Saudi side of the Yemeni border, now offer their support to Qatar. The Muslim Brotherhood ruled Turkey had planned since 2015 to set up a large "training base" in Qatar. Currently only 150 Turkish soldiers are there to prepare the ground. That will soon change:

Lawmakers from Erdogan's AK Party have proposed debating two pieces of legislation: allowing Turkish troops to be deployed in Qatar and approving an accord between the two countries on military training cooperation, AKP and nationalist opposition officials said.

Both draft bills, which were drawn up before the spat between Qatar and its Arab neighbours erupted, are expected to be approved by the Ankara parliament later on Wednesday.

[Update June 8, 1:00am - The laws passed in record time. I expect additional Turkish troops in Qatar within 24 hours.]

The large Qatar Airways fleet is able to bring 10,000nds of Turkish troops to Qatar within days. It is somewhat amusing that these will use Iranian airspace while Iran financed proxy fighters in Syria are fighting Turkish and Qatari supported "insurgents".

The Saudi/U.S. strategy of bringing Qatar fully into the anti-Iran and anti-Muslim Brotherhood camps seems to have the opposite effect.

The U.S. controlled Al-Udeid air-base in Qatar is leading the fight against ISIS. The Pentagon surely does not want any interruption of its functioning. Many buildings and institutions in London are owned by Qatar. 90% of British gas imports, 17% of its total consumption, comes from Qatar. Qatar is an important industrial investor in Germany where it owns the largest minority share of the huge Volkswagen Group. It has friendly relations with Russia. Yesterday the Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani talked with President Putin:

Russian-Qatari cooperation, primarily in the trade, economic and investment areas, was discussed, and the results of the meeting of the bilateral Intergovernmental Commission in April 2017 were highly praised.

International issues were also discussed. Vladimir Putin reaffirmed Russia’s principled position in favour of settling crises by political and diplomatic means, through dialogue.

Translation: Qatar offered additional money for Russia's support. A preliminary deal was made but there was no promise (yet) of full Russian support in a military conflict.

The Saudi coalition may have the backing of minor (paid off) nations and from tweets by Donald Trump. But the U.S. military is against a Saudi war on Qatar. It does not want to strengthen the Saudi position in the Gulf at the cost of other allies. The British government and other Europeans have also many reasons to not let Qatar fall into the hands of the al-Sauds. 

Qatar is quite fast in getting its ducks into a row. It quickly solved the most immediate problems resulting from the Saudi border blockade. It called in Turkish military reinforcement to stave of a Saudi invasion. Iranian and Russian (military) supplies will be very valuable in any longer fight. Europe will not back the Saudis and will not support a Saudi annexation. It will press for solving the issue peacefully. Qatar has enough financial capabilities and reserves to withstand a longer crisis.

There is no reason for Qatar to give in soon to the overbearing Saudi demands. The ruling "young leader" - Deputy Clown Prince Mohammad bin-Salman - has (again) overestimated his capabilities. The Saudis were sure that Bashar Assad in Syria would leave in 2011 or 2012. The Houthis in Yemen would be defeated in a few days or weeks they thought. Years and billions of Saudi dollars later both are still in place.

Now the Qatari ruler Tamim bin Hamad is expected to fold in a day or two. Qatar may eventually have to submit to the Saudi demands and rule, but I sincerely doubt that this will happen anytime soon.

Posted by b on June 7, 2017 at 01:19 PM | Permalink

Comments
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I agree that Qatar could hold out for a while, but I'd be surprised if the Saudis dared invading Qatar. It would stink too much of Saddam's invasion of Kuwait. I wouldn't be surprised, too, if the young punk, Muhammad bin Salman, thought, like Saddam, that he had American backing. Just because Trump tweets approval, doesn't actually mean that you will get US support in the long term, not after a bit more mature reflection.

This all sounds more like bad news for Saudi, than for Qatar.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 7, 2017 1:29:31 PM | 1

Hopefully Turkey and Iran could stand up against Saudi bullying against Qatar, I suspect Saudi plot regime change in Qatar right now though.

Posted by: Anon | Jun 7, 2017 1:36:44 PM | 2

Laguerre

Well the stupid west and its media are already giving saudi's support and if they could invade Bahrain some years ago, why not Qatar?

Posted by: Anon | Jun 7, 2017 1:44:32 PM | 3

With bombing in Iran, perhaps Saudi and the US expect Iran to retaliate (make a stupid move). There might even be a false flag operation by Saudi's to blame Qatar or Iran. The near future is certainly more eventful.

Posted by: Tony | Jun 7, 2017 1:53:16 PM | 4

thanks for addressing this more b... i don't follow you on twitter, but i agree with your viewpoint shared.

@1 laguerre.. i agree with you.. this is more bad news for saudi arabia as i see it too.. the young buck is a real gambler and loser.. i wonder how long he holds out? my guess qatar holds on longer then him..

i do believe iran has a good opportunity here and may be able to play it well.. making bedfellows with qatar is weird, but anything to pull down saudi arabia and this wahabbi death cult is good in my books..

Posted by: james | Jun 7, 2017 1:54:00 PM | 5

Hope this drives Qatar into an alliance with Iran. Looks like the Trump visit to KSA was more than to worship an orb, and ass kiss KSA.

IMO, this is all about isolating Iran, and silencing Al Jazeera. The PNAC crowd is loving this.

Posted by: ben | Jun 7, 2017 1:58:01 PM | 6

Considering the recent events in Tehran, Iran must be eager to fly to the aid of Qatar in order to avenge
it's dead at the hands of Bin Salman.

The unfolding of events will prove to be very interesting.

Posted by: CarlD | Jun 7, 2017 1:59:07 PM | 7

Turkey's parliament has passed a draft bill allowing troops to be deployed to a military base in Qatar. It comes amid a diplomatic row between Qatar and Arab nations.

The legislation was passed with 240 votes in favor, according to Reuters.

from rt.

Posted by: james | Jun 7, 2017 2:11:23 PM | 8

Remember theory of communist domino effect in South East Asia by some PhD called H. Kissinger.

Right theory wrong region.

What we are witnessing now is a domino effect, a domino of chaos and medieval feudalism instigated by the US, all colonial divisions of British empire start to acting up unlocked by the US like as seismic zone that became active.

In fact these were secular regimes, like Egypt, Libya, Algeria,Jordan, Iraq Syria, Yemen and Ataturk's Turkey that locked this political fault for decades, the lock now has been released.

Remains me mini scale of the same ME conflict in Lebanon during war 1975-1991 where general lesson from it was you can kill as many as you want, win or lose but still the results will be worse than you started with.

There is no other rational explanation of what US is doing there but their drive to chaos and overall destruction of the political facade of MENA, as it lost its usefulness, returning to neo-colonial set up with Greater Israeli protectorate.

Your thoughts?

Posted by: Kalen | Jun 7, 2017 2:28:58 PM | 9

Just the news of instability in the Middle East will drive up oil prices, which will be a boon to Saudi Arabia and all other oil-producing countries. They have nothing to lose on this deal.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jun 7, 2017 2:29:24 PM | 10

Thanks b for this excellent review of the fundamentals. Once again, an extremely well crafted piece of journalism.

Interesting point from james @5 - "the young buck is a real gambler and loser..." I've always heard that gamblers have a chronic tendency to double down when they're losing, in the certainty that the next play must restore all their fortunes. Prince Salman truly does seem to have this tendency. Can this action with Qatar be seen as one of those actions of extreme desperation, in the same way we saw the play with Trump as such an act?

I will waste no tears for Qatar but the geo-political realignments that could come out of its success - or to put another way, that would go into its success - would be a pretty sweet thing to see. The good guys such as Russia and Iran must be having trouble believing their luck - walking around the command center quoting Napoleon all day about never interrupt your enemy when he's making a mistake.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 7, 2017 2:32:09 PM | 11

"Deputy Clown Prince Mohammad bin-Salman" - nice one! Missed it the first time round.

Contents wise I agree with what most people here seem to think, SA is being pretty foolish. But I wonder if their aggressive threats are really only due to some single guy's political inclination. Their ultimatum seems like a hugely gruff measure to me and with such measures there's a specific risk of downright rejection by the addressee. In that case, SA would have to go to war over its demands. But they're doomed if that's what they'll do. On the other hand, they're equally doomed if they don't use the military and just let a Qatari refusal to comply pass. Setting themselves up in a formidable trap like that makes me wonder. Maybe they're experiencing some dangerous strain that we're not fully aware of? I mean, Al Jazeera has been around for quite a while, why bother with it NOW?

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Jun 7, 2017 2:43:05 PM | 12

@10 but then Russia would win, too. I am with you, though. So much posturing for so little fireworks. It's like when they put the best scenes in the movie trailer.

Great refresher on a very complicated region. Thanks, b.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Jun 7, 2017 2:45:38 PM | 13

Cheers,b
I too do not believe that Qatar will fold easily and there is every possibility that such an event has been expected and even prepared for given the climate in the region and Qatars wilfully precarious position. It has good relations as you say with Russia and Iran (shared gas field with Iran, isn't there?) and Turkey is very tied econmically and ideologically ... They won't give up on Qatar so easily.
Just a few points thinking aloud -
1 Are the Turkish / Qatari- backed militias in Syria not a possible retaliatory threat to Saudi interests in Syria, or even a threat to Saudi Arabia itself should it be stupid enough to overstep the mark? Or could they not be redeployed to Yemen, maybe and hit the Saudis there less directly?
2 Would those supporting Saudi Arabia now continue such support should Saudi Arabia up the ante?
3 A part of me is also intrigued by the timing - only days ago May was under growing media pressure to publish the report into terror funding with everyone expecting Saudi to be featured prominently. Bit of a mess before an election. ... But now? The devil is Qatar! Distraction politics?
4 What will Russia and Iran want in return for support - resolution in Syria?

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jun 7, 2017 2:50:37 PM | 14

Qatar will not bend easily to Saudi demands. What they are being asked to do is nothing short of full capitulation and submission to Riyadh, essentially becoming a client state. Qatar's rulers are too proud and too wealthy to meekly let that happen.

Turkey and Iran will step in to counter Saudi's ambitions with food and material support. Doha will be squeezed, but not broken. The only thing the Clown Prince can do is bluster about military options.

But that just ain't happening. If Saudi tries to invade (given the green light by Washington or not) Doha would threaten the eviction of the US of their biggest airbase in the region. That's too risky for the Pentagon. Any invasion force would have to square off against a small but well equipped Qatari army and any troops to be gladly provided by Turkey or Iran. If you thought the Yemeni campaign went bad for the Saudis, any incursion into Qatar would be exponentially worse.

Of course the Clown Prince could be that stupid but the smart money says he isn't.

Posted by: Don Wiscacho | Jun 7, 2017 2:53:14 PM | 15

The laws sending Turkish soldiers to Qatar have passed the Turkish parliament.
I expect the first infantry/spec-ops battalion to arrive within 24 hours.

Posted by: b | Jun 7, 2017 2:57:38 PM | 16

@10 "Just the news of instability in the Middle East will drive up oil prices..."

That has historically been the case but not in these days of oversupply. Crude oil is down 5% today.

Posted by: dh | Jun 7, 2017 2:58:21 PM | 17

U.S. CIVIL WAR BREAKS OUT IN QATAR

(I wrote this after reading this blog post by Craig Murray: The Qatar Conundrum)

Americans accusing Qatar of supporting terrorists is like the pot calling the kettle black. Yes, both Saudi Arabia and Qatar have funded ISIS and al-Qaeda, but they have done so under American leadership. Terrorist training camps were set up in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, but they were operated by the CIA. Qatar and Saudi Arabia paid for arms shipments to Syrian terrorists, but CIA "veterinarians" decided which terrorist group would get the weapons.

Actually there is nothing in Qatari domestic and foreign policy that sets it apart from the Obama administration and the Clinton administration in waiting. Qatar is a model country of free market corporate liberalism, where markets rule but socialist concepts like “democracy” and “workers rights” do not exist. Daily life in Doha is little different form any other global metropolis. Women can drive and walk around uncovered. Qatar has maintained relations with Iran, just like Obama did after the “nuclear” deal on Iranian uranium enrichment. Qatar supports Syrian “rebels”, but these are the very same groups that Obama and the U.S. liberal media support: #SaveAleppo etc.

The Saudi-Qatari rift reflects the widening gap in U.S. politics. Trump sided with Israel and Saudi Arabia against Iran. Qatar doubts the resilience of the Trump administration and has instead sided with Hillary and The Resistance.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Jun 7, 2017 3:05:29 PM | 18

I agree with commenter Kalen above who wrote
"
There is no other rational explanation of what US is doing there but their drive to chaos and overall destruction of the political facade of MENA, as it lost its usefulness, returning to neo-colonial set up with Greater Israeli protectorate.
"
The drive to chaos and overall destruction of the ME is the R2P plan B because their culture will not allow Western private finance things like usury.

Just what is going to happen in 24 hours? Will SA crumble if its demands are not met? Given my exposure to those of that extremist patriarchal mentality there will be lots of heat (uncontrolled emotion) and not much light (logic and reason)....sad

Is humanity in Hospice yet?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 7, 2017 3:14:53 PM | 19

@ Petri Krohn | 18
Excellent comment. Struck me too that Trump must be loving the chance of socking it to Hilly Clinton's Qatari mates!
But to claim the end of terrorism is beyond sick!

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jun 7, 2017 3:29:07 PM | 20

"Just the news of instability in the Middle East will drive up oil prices, which will be a boon to Saudi Arabia and all other oil-producing countries. They have nothing to lose on this deal.
Posted by: ralphieboy | Jun 7, 2017 2:29:24 PM | 10"

What is overlooked in all of is the upcoming Saudi public offering of Aramco, its oil company. They are hoping to net trillions and need oil prices to move up, and fast. This could be their cunning plan to accomplish that and, at the same time, placate Trump. If I am right and all of this is hot air they will keep sword waving until the close of their public offering, then shake hands and say they won.

Posted by: frances | Jun 7, 2017 3:52:29 PM | 21

house saud is broke and the Qatar is very wealthy.


https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-11/qatar-sovereign-wealth-fund-s-335-global-empire

Posted by: jo6pac | Jun 7, 2017 3:58:48 PM | 22

@21 Unfortunately for the Saudis when oil prices move up the US reopens fracking wells. Hence the glut of oil. OPEC did have an agreement to cut back production but that is now toast. When oil traders hear the words 'OPEC agreement' they fall around laughing.

Posted by: dh | Jun 7, 2017 4:11:48 PM | 23

From CIA approved wiki with my edits (additional words in parenthesis):

During the 1973 Arab-Israeli War (Saudi) King Faisal withdrew Saudi oil from world markets, in protest over Western support for Israel.

It was to be the defining act of King Faisal's career. In 1974 he was named (CIA)Time magazine's Man of the Year. It is a commonly-held belief in Saudi Arabia, and the wider Arab world, that King Faisal's oil boycott was the real cause of his assassination, via a Western conspiracy, his assassin having just returned from the United States.

Time Mag "Man of the year" and murdered months after screwing with the US over Israel. Just another coincidence and wacky conspiracy theory.

Posted by: fast freddy | Jun 7, 2017 4:24:19 PM | 24

re 3. Saudi didn't invade Bahrain. They sent troops with the agreement of the Sunni minority government to put a stop to a rebellion by the majority Shi'a population.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 7, 2017 4:27:57 PM | 25

@14, AtaBrit

4 What will Russia and Iran want in return for support - resolution in Syria?

That, certainly, could be a major part of a possible (how probable, who knows) deal.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Jun 7, 2017 4:27:58 PM | 26

I doubt very much that Qatar would threaten US bases. It already has a dividend, because Pentagon is on the record of advocating amicable peaceful resolution, unlike the President. After all, if Pentagon would simply watch an invasion passing by their base, what does it tell the nations that host other 180 (??) bases? I guess that KSA has a red light for ground invasion.

I somewhat doubt that Iran will demand some crass quid pro quo for food and the use of port facilities. Humiliating KSA is already a huge prize. And Qatar can be more amenable to Iranian interests anyway.

Item. The main highway from Damascus to the north passes by East Ghouta which is in the hands of "moderate rebels". For months, KSA funded thugs fighting with Qatari funded thugs in this besieged enclave, and the group in Harasta, along the highway, started to negotiate "reconciliation". Actually, helping in some "reconciliation deals" is on the list of "Qatari crimes" that make KSA furious. In this case, the deal would considerably improve Syrian logistics.

Item. Erdogan can do quite a bit more to thwart American designs. Which seems to be to size current ISIS territories in the east of Syria to create a "Sunnistan", some dreamers want to combine it with Anbar. Right now "moderates" under direct tutelage of Turkey, Azaz-Jarabulus enclave, are making noises that they will attack SDF/YPG with all their forces, and they can be serious about it (stab in the back in of the "Sunnistan project" or not (small attacks were happening already). On the far end of the spectrum, Ergodan could actually send his troops to cut Rojava into two parts (there were such threats a month ago or so). So if Americans slay the main cash cow of the neo-Ottoman project, Erdogan can get pretty nasty given his interests, temperament, and already positioned troops.

Item. Historical experience of Arab unity projects. There were a number of them. The most promising moments were immediately followed by terrible spats. It is almost like comedy plots in which the groom (or the bride) flees the wedding. After the magnificent gathering graced by H.I.M. Trump and most compelling photo ops in my long memory (to compare, Sadat and Qaddafi merely kissed each other on the eve of Egyptian-Libyan union), something was bound to happen.

Item. PR war seems to be most important at this stage, and in spite of some losses (White house twitter, Washington Post, Foundations for the Defense of Democracies, Business Insider), Qatar is doing quite well (New York Times, Reuters, a lot of positions in Europe).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 7, 2017 4:43:17 PM | 27

Hasn't the USA just provided a face saving measure for Saudi Arabia to back down?

Groaning Man: Russian hackers to blame for sparking Qatar crisis, FBI inquiry finds
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/07/russian-hackers-qatar-crisis-fbi-inquiry-saudi-arabia-uae

####

I must say, I'm impressed with the FBI's speed and efficiency in this case.... unlike its investigations in to Trump's associates... Speaking of which, James Crapper told the Australian Press Club “I think you compare the two, that Watergate pales, really, in my view, compared to what we’re confronting now.”… and “Is there a smoking gun with all the smoke? I don’t know the answer to that. I think it’s vital, though, we find that out.”. Yes, smoke is possible without fire!

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/07/james-clapper-says-watergate-pales-in-comparison-with-trump-and-russia-scandal?google_editors_picks=true

Posted by: et Al | Jun 7, 2017 4:48:57 PM | 28

Many interesting developements what can Qatar possibly gain by supporting Saudi war propaganda against Iran, they would be directly in the firing line, and totally destroyed in minutes. It makes more sense to realize the war in Syria sponsored by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and themselves backed by the US is lost, and team up with Iran and Russia with the incentives to exploit the huge gas field they share with Iran and pipe their share through Iran, Iraq and Syria to the Med. Another part of the equation is Qatar has opened the Middle East's first centre for clearing transactions in the Chinese yuan on Tuesday, saying it would boost trade and investment between China and Gulf Arab economies. The centre "will improve the ease of transactions between companies in the region and China by allowing them to settle their trade directly in renminbi, drawing increased trade through Qatar and boosting bilateral and economic collaboration between Qatar and China," said ICBC chairman Jiang Jianqing. Could it be the Qataris are also threatening the Petrodollar? Could be why Trump [Boss of Bosses] is saying to the Qatarie 'you will sleep with the fishes'.

At present, Qatar and the Gulf's other wealthy oil and gas exporters use the U.S. dollar much more than the yuan. Most of their currencies are pegged to the dollar, and most of their huge foreign currency reserves are denominated in dollars.http://www.reuters.com/article/qatar-china-yuan-idUSL5N0XB2D220150414

Posted by: harrylaw | Jun 7, 2017 4:50:16 PM | 29

A pair of first-principles:

1. Unfairness, aka injustice, breeds chaos.

2. To takeover any group, even a sovereign country, either [a]infiltrate and stepwise takeover from within or [b] create enough chaos in preparation to grab the reins of control.

Posted by: chu teh | Jun 7, 2017 4:56:08 PM | 30

I don't know why it took me so long to remember that the Saudis are mimicking an infamous historical failure here.
You know who had a 10 points ultimatum, otherwise it's war? Austria-Hungary in July 1914.

Qatar's situation is indeed tricky and shifting supply sources and roads will be costly, costlier than what they have. Still, I don't see them becoming obedient vassals of the Saudis right now. Not if both Turkey and Iran find a common ground in wanting to help them and make sure the upstart Saudis don't take over the region even more.
Which indeed will have funny results in Syria. As in direct infighting between their relative proxies, leaving Assad free to take on ISIS and mop up a few other places.
US base in Qatar is also not only useful for the fight against ISIS, but for the scheming against Assad. They might lose precious time and momentum if they have to leave Qatar and set up camp in UAE; if they want to keep as long as they can their thorn-in-the-side in Al-Tanf, they might want to keep that base operational.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jun 7, 2017 5:11:20 PM | 31

People here are calling him the clown prince... but what other options does Riyadh have?

Their Aramco offering is looking to be a fiasco, the kind of hyrdo-carbons they have are increasingly less valuable, they have not diversified their wealth as well as the Emiratis or Qataris, they can only maintain calm in the populace with continued handouts, which they can no longer afford. They have been trying to push oil prices up for a couple of years now with no luck at all.

Threaten Qatar and get the Qataris to turn too strongly for Iranian help and the Saudis can scream to all the other Sunnis that Qatar is in league with the devil (Shia Iran). The Saudis will hope that this can provoke some sort of hormuz blockade but short of full out war with Iran. Maybe that will push oil prices up? Of course if Qatar sits tight and restrict themselves to only accepting food supplies from Iran then it might be revealed to be a lot of bluster from Riyadh.

Posted by: Køn | Jun 7, 2017 5:13:56 PM | 32

The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies name keeps popping up on the periphery of all this Qatar noise. They seem to have an inordinate amount of access to the U.S. Congress in various hearings and such. I understood they were pro-Israeli, but that's not the half of it. They're like AIPAC on steroids except they recruited KSA and the UAE for their schemes. The FDD is for anything that is bad for Iran and/or results in its destruction. They constantly beat the drums for an Iranian war in the U.S. Congress without actually saying that specifically. They're probably still celebrating the attack on the Iranian parliament.

How connected is it with Israel? This from a rather damning Slate article from a couple of years ago, The Little Think Tank That Could: Inside the small, pro-Israel outfit leading the attack on Obama’s Iran deal

"...On April 24, 2001, three major pro-Israel donors incorporated an organization called EMET (Hebrew for “truth”). In an application to the Internal Revenue Service for tax-exempt status, May explained that the group “was to provide education to enhance Israel’s image in North America and the public’s understanding of issues affecting Israeli-Arab relations.” But in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, May broadened the group’s mission and changed its name to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies..."

FDD certainly doesn't have the power by itself to influence U.S. foreign policy, but it mirrors more historically successful widespread efforts to do so. FDD is just a damn good indicator for where the U.S. is headed.

Qatar is on the chopping block for it's lack of rabid anti-Iranian sentiment and (according to FDD) Kuwait is next. Message: You will hate Iran or you will be destroyed.

This suggests a most curious timing for The Intercept's June 3rd article HACKED EMAILS SHOW TOP UAE DIPLOMAT COORDINATING WITH PRO-ISRAEL THINK TANK AGAINST IRAN quickly followed by the "Intercept rats out Reality Winner" story. Why, if I were a conspiracy theorist...

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jun 7, 2017 5:23:57 PM | 33

Don't understimate the power strugge going on within Saudi Arabia itself. The present King Salman bin Abdulaziz, has been putting members of his family line into positions of influence. These appointments help DEPUTY Clown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, (The one who starts wars) and includes half-brothers etc.

This is in opposition to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef who would be the next King after the death of Salman bin Abdulaziz. (Succession goes through brothers). It is possible that the "extra payments" to the Army and public were to quieten any protests.
All from a May 5th Article in Zero Hedge.
So a pre-emptive "warlike" situation with Qatar could be an useful element in an internal Saudi "Salman" coup.
----
It seems logical that Qatar, now that the overland gas route to the EU via the North of Syria is in the hands of the Kurds, and a southern route (Bagdad, Jordan, Tel Aviv) unlikely, will have been looking eastwards for new markets. But any pipeline to Pakistan-India or even China would be forced to include some agreement with Iran. This too could have been a factor in the rapidity of the Saudi move after Trump's visit. He made enough loud statements against Iran and Iranian influence and "support of terrorism", so that a potential project for a joint Qatar-Iranian pipeline to open up new markets outside of US control - would set alarm bells ringing.

Posted by: stonebird | Jun 7, 2017 5:24:12 PM | 34

Off-topic -- but what are Syrians or Russians going to do about US air strikes against SAA or SAA-aligned forces north of Al Tanf? In that Russian planes would not engage, are the SAA pilots skilled enough to take on the US jets? Does the S-400 AA system come into play?

Why hasn't Russia raised the illegal US incursion in the UNSC?

Posted by: chet380 | Jun 7, 2017 5:32:07 PM | 35

if qatar was really in syria for a pipeline route, and if iran/russia are now offering the fix for that ... then there's no reason for qatar-iran-russia not to be new best friends. especially with the hatred and willingness to smash and grab displayed by the saudis and the uae so prominently on display.

the qataris ought to welcome the turkish troops, make sure they're well-armed with the latest russia has to offer, and make a public request to the usofa : whose side are you on? we built that base for you thinking you were a friend and would help us in an hour of darkness, like this, are you going to? or not? they needn't offer the alternative - put up or get out - at that point. they won't have to.

putting the pentagon on the spot ought to have salubrious effects across the board

- a kick in the rump to the non compos potus, who'll soon be tweeting a different tune and

- the message sent to the uae and bahrain is lose-lose for you:


1. the us will not abandon qatar and will instead back you down to hide in the shadows of your own empty threats, or

2. the us will abandon you, too, when the saudi moloch comes for you, just as it now abandons qatar.


the qataris have no choice but to play hard ball against the saudis. and they definitely need a new set of friends along the shores of the persian gulf. all this courtesy of rump, the 'genius', and his neocon brain trust.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 7, 2017 5:33:55 PM | 36

harrylaw@29 - The article you linked was from 2015, harry. Maybe you're confusing this with reports that the Agricultural Bank of China just started clearing RMB trades in the UAE (Dubai) last month? Qatar and the UAE are now both throwing off the USD yoke. The Saudis will use the UAE for now to keep under the radar, but they're already digging the grave for the petrodollar's historic monopoly.

Psychohistorian and I were discussing in the previous GCC thread @182.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jun 7, 2017 5:44:40 PM | 37

@36

this could be the occasion that 'forces' turkey to choose between nato and an alliance with the other regional powers. could be the full catastrophe for the rump and his neocon brain trust.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 7, 2017 5:45:45 PM | 38

Trump is has started to climb down.

I think Mattis explained to him the deal the Pentagon has with Iran so that they don't get killed in Iraq.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 7, 2017 5:47:12 PM | 39

Hold everything! Donald is having second thoughts...

"President Donald Trump changed course on Qatar Wednesday, a day after praising a move by other Gulf nations to sever diplomatic relations with Doha, which hosts a US military base crucial to the fight against ISIS.

In a phone call with the Qatari Emir, Trump extended an olive branch, offering to help the parties resolve their differences by inviting them to a White House meeting if necessary. The outreach came as US officials told CNN they were observing increased Qatari military activity as the country placed its forces on the highest state of alert over fears of an military incursion.

Trump's new tone echoed that of his secretaries of Defense and State, who emphasized Tuesday the need for Gulf unity and the importance of the US partnership with Qatar, home to the Al Udeid Air Base, the main regional center for air missions against ISIS."


http://us.cnn.com/2017/06/07/politics/trump-qatar-call/index.html

Posted by: dh | Jun 7, 2017 5:48:46 PM | 40

Our Hybrid WW3 is rather fascinating don't you think? All sorts of twists and turns, backstabbings, hackings, beheadings, and such. Terrorists accusing other terrorists of being terrorists, with the #1 terrorist saying those states backing terrorists can expect terrorist acts in return. I rather doubt any modern spy novel writer could dream up a plot like this; reality always being stranger than fiction as is said.

Russia has announced it will further strengthen its bases in Central Asia. Iran has publically accused Outlaw US Empire and its vassal Saudis as being responsible for the Tehran terror assault. THAAD deployment to be held hostage for environmental impact report. Lithuania declares Belarus nuclear power plant a threat to its national security. Ukraine escalates attacks on Donbass Republics. While flying under the radar is the actual beef: "Eurasian integration meets America First," http://www.atimes.com/article/eurasian-integration-meets-america-first/ and Putin congratulates part of the Outlaw US Empire's Propaganda System for doing such a great job: "I just find it amazing how you created a sensation where there wasn't anything at all. And proceeded to turn that sensation into a tool for fighting the sitting president. You know, you're just very resourceful people there, well done, probably your lives there are boring." http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/54688 Putin also made this interesting observation regarding the allowance of political opposition and its treatment:

"Our police force, fortunately, so far, do not use batons, tear gas or any other extreme measures of instilling order, something that we often see in other countries, including in the United States.

"Speaking of opposition, let us recall the movement Occupy Wall Street. Where is it now? The law enforcement agencies and special services in the US have taken it apart, into little pieces, and have dissolved it. I'm not asking you about how things stand in terms of democracy in the United States. Especially so that the electoral legislation is far from being perfect in the US. Why do you believe you are entitled to put such questions to us and, mind you, do it all the time, to moralize and to teach us how we should live?" ibid

We are witnessing yet another small skirmish amid the great Struggle of the 21st Century, where an ascendant Multipolar Eurasia will overturn the Unipolar Outlaw US Empire and its vassals despite the latter's efforts to remain atop--it cannot for it can no longer convince others that it has the moral decency required of all leaders (not that it had any to begin with). And the ultimate reason is very simple: The Multipolar Vision is all inclusive, promising to treat all partners equitably, whereas the Unipolar Vision says you must be content with the crumbs that fall from the table as all wealth flows to the Metropole and no dissent will be tolerated.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 7, 2017 5:54:21 PM | 41

@jfl 36

Nope I humbly disagree. Remember Uncle Sam with a "businessman" in charge will decide. My take Qatar will yields and eat the humble pie. The coalition of the willing are on the sides with the businessman. Money, money talks - not billions but trillions. France, UK and USA stand to loose trillions.

Unless of course Turkey and Iran decide an all out wars! It's a Fuck up world

Posted by: OJS | Jun 7, 2017 6:04:21 PM | 42

But any pipeline to Pakistan-India or even China would be forced to include some agreement with Iran. This too could have been a factor in the rapidity of the Saudi move after Trump's visit. He made enough loud statements against Iran and Iranian influence and "support of terrorism", so that a potential project for a joint Qatar-Iranian pipeline to open up new markets outside of US control - would set alarm bells ringing.

Posted by: stonebird | Jun 7, 2017 5:24:12 PM | 34

Actually, Iran has an agreement with Pakistan for a pipeline to Karachi, and it completed its segment, to the national border, but on the Pakistan side there are some strange reasons for inaction, I suspect some pressure + bribery from USA and KSA. For example, Chinese dropped financing. Correction: "The problem for the government of Nawaz Sharif is that they have a close relation with both the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The Sharif family was given refuge by the Saudi royal family after the coup of 1999. Also more importantly, Pakistan and Saudi-Arabia diplomatic relations that are age-old bond of friendship is getting stronger with every passing year." This is from Pakistani commentary why Pakistan has to stay neutral, with "no comments and no actions" in the current dispute. Sharifs also had financial deals with al-Thanis, with possible "kompromat" to use a Russian word (as suggested by so-called Panama papers). Another argument also verges on satirical: "Last but not the least, Pakistan cannot espouse the Saudi Arabia group against the Qatar on the basis of its alleged support of terrorism. Pakistan must know its vulnerable status today in the region and world politics, where it has repeatedly accused to sponsor and support terrorist and militant organizations that conduct suicide attacks in the neighboring countries. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a leading think tank in the United States, has released a report today calling Pakistan a “sanctuary for the Taliban and the Haqqani network”. In such situation, if Pakistan endorses the actions of the Saudi’s group against the Qatar’s, who knows the same allegations and diplomatic boycott, might become the fate of Pakistan in the future."

From that point of view, USA also "cannot espouse the Saudi Arabia group against the Qatar on the basis of its alleged support of terrorism."

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 7, 2017 6:17:09 PM | 43

One correction: instability can also DECREASE oil prices. What happens is that currently the prices are stabilized by production freeze by OPEC and Russia, but KSA + UAE can break the deal out of sheer irritation if Qatar "spits in their eyes". This is their strongest card in respect to Iran and Russia. As a result, oil prices swing up and down.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 7, 2017 6:21:46 PM | 44

#Ankara approved to send 5.000 #Turkish soldiers to Qatar. They will be deployed to protect #Qatar from #Saudi Arabia and #UAE: https://twitter.com/a_ozkok/status/872558148430835712

Getting serious..


Posted by: Lozion | Jun 7, 2017 6:21:52 PM | 45

"The U.S. controlled Al-Udeid air-base in Qatar is leading the fight against ISIS."

Sure, e.g. by blowing up anti-ISIS forces near the Syria/Jordan border.

The US is orchestrating a dance between the Kurds and ISIS, transfering territory, choreographed WWE style, from the out-of-favor 'bad' ethnic cleansers ISIS to the in-favor good ethnic cleansers 'The Kurds (TM)', allowing ISIS to go onto attack and delay the SAA and allies.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 7, 2017 7:05:34 PM | 46

A deal with ksa to support a takeover of Qatar is the sort of thing that would appeal to the trumpet when all is said & done a hostile takeover is a standard corporate move, but the long term players in State and the Pentagon will not see it that way.
Why did france & england (aka Fuk) go to all the trouble of setting up all these little independent principalities in the first place? That is what the trumpet will be forced to consider.
At the time the european imperialists drew their maps, israel was minor or non-existent player and the Arab masses of the ME favoured a single state yet the imperialists did the opposite for reasons that are probably more vital today than they were 90 to 100 years ago.
A divided ME with a lot of the wealth concentrated in the hands of small states while large Arab nations esp egypt, remain impoverished is seen as the only way to assert control over the ME.
Nations are forced into competition with one another and are played against each other by the whitefella master, and so keeping resource theft simple and more importantly economic (sorry - cheap).
If the al Sauds succeed and grab Qatar they won't stop there, the clown prince of murder & mayhem will believe he is on a roll, Bahrain will go next because their large Shia population will be sold as proof positive Iran is gonna take over Bahrain.
After Bahrain it will be a toss up between 'mopping up' Kuwait or going straight for the really big earner and more importantly a major player in global transportation infrastructure, UAE, because by that time KSA will like all imperialists have realised it has grabbed the bull by the horns and backing off would be fatal - the only move is to keep going forward.
Long before that happens the west will be totally freaked; allowing UAE control of the marine & air ports of the world was one thing, UAE is simply too small to pose a problem. For example using that control over the global economy to force their POV onto UA & Europe, but ksa than encompasses most if not all of the Gulf will be big enough to stand up to the whitefellas and by that time, feel secure enough and militarily successful enough to face up to Iran - which trumpet thinks he wants but if he had half a brain would recognise while it might be a useful after dinner topic, the reality would be disastrous.
A massive conflict that would continue for decades and render ME hydrocrabons unobtainable and certainly halt shipping through Suez - even the less fanatical zionists would quickly realise that an epic war triggering a financial catastrophe that would make 08 seem a minor hiccup is not the best way forward.
After all a broke amerika cannot keep the israel handouts flowing without greatly disturbing hungry amerikans. War with Iran has always been predicated on the belief amerika/israel would be in control and this would not be that.

It is always a doubtful proposition arguing for the status quo in a careerist world, as wanna be's look to chaos as a way to climb the ladder so as we have all previously witnessed, soundly engineered structures of all types are regularly tipped over by careerists, but in this instance it stretches belief that many egomaniacs can imagine a worthwhile 'upside' to an al Saud owned ME.

Remember the zionists are aware that the dictators' support for israel stands on two pillars the first is that the tyrants depend upon fukUS support and the second is that the Palestinians generally depend upon the tyrants' rivals.
In a ksa dominated ME neither of those circumstances would hold any longer and it isn't hard to imagine Mohammad bin-Salman deciding to 'liberate' ( the quote marks are about the irony of ksa liberation not a Palestinian state being free) Palestine, as a sop to his hugely increased and restive masses.
Israel only favours chaos which they control, chaos under the power of filthy arabs is not considered to be a sound state of affairs.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jun 7, 2017 7:09:34 PM | 47

A couple years ago Putin and Qatar had discussions about a common pricing system/coordination of Natural gas production. Since then they have had a moratorium on development of their really big fields. This has stabilized the price and Russia is grateful. Meanwhile Iran plays catch up in the gas game. Qatar is doing what any small size tribe must do to survive in the Middle East... they are playing both sides of three different fences - that way no matter who wins and which of the gambits takes precedence - you always have a player in the game. Of course we in the west urge them to go all out. For small tribes, you almost never do that. Your secret weapons are only effective to the degree they are secret.

Posted by: les7 | Jun 7, 2017 7:11:15 PM | 48

#Ankara approved to send 5.000 #Turkish soldiers to Qatar. They will be deployed to protect #Qatar from #Saudi Arabia and #UAE: https://twitter.com/a_ozkok/status/872558148430835712

Getting serious..


Posted by: Lozion

Will the US be offering the Turks use of its Qatar bases, you know, as a courtesy to a fellow Nato ally? j/k

Posted by: sleepy | Jun 7, 2017 7:31:58 PM | 49


You love her
But she loves him
And he loves somebody else
You just can't win

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | Jun 7, 2017 7:53:35 PM | 50

I would like to remind the Saudis that Japan had similar plans for the South Pacific when it decided to enter WWII. My father among many was off in North Africa encountering (or not encountering) Rommel. There weren't many fighting troops left in New Zealand, so it looked like a sitting duck. But it wasn't, thanks to many brave young Americans who lost their lives in that part of the world when I was knee high to a grasshopper.

Times change; allegiances change - but they change quickly when needs must.

I know nothing about Qatar, but all it needs is a little help from its friends, and I hope it gets that. If Trump really wants to wreck something, why doesn't he start by demolishing the CIA. Good grief, all it does is cause trouble.

Posted by: juliania | Jun 7, 2017 8:15:55 PM | 51

Hm. So in 2005 Uzbekistan kicked the USAF out of Karshi-Khanabad aka K-2 airbase, in a situation that had way fewer moving parts than Qatar. So there is a precedent for pulling the rug out from under Uncle Sam by an otherwise allied nation.

The turning point for the US-Uzbek partnership was the so-called Andijan events of May 13-14, when, according to human rights activists, Uzbek security forces opened fire without warning on unarmed demonstrators. [...] Washington continues to insist on an independent international investigation into the Andijan events, a proposal that Tashkent just as forcefully rejects.

http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/eav080105.shtml

Reminds me a bit of Maidan...

Rosneft's deal with Barzani is interesting because the Ukrainian pipeline to Europe may become irrelevant, Nord Stream or not. Qatar joining the new gassy revolution with Iran and by extension possibly China may usher in a happy new chapter in Asian trade. I wonder if the Pakistani ambivalence may melt in the face of the chance to be in on the mother of all silk roads.

Posted by: stumpy | Jun 7, 2017 8:24:21 PM | 52

Juliana @ 51. Good Idea, but JFK tried that & it didn't end well for him-- or for us. Incidentally, if enough Americans took literally & seriously what Paul Craig Roberts says at this link we might get rid of the oligarchs for whom the CIA serve as police and intelligence. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/06/05/washingtons-empire-not-unraveling/

Posted by: Penelope | Jun 7, 2017 8:47:51 PM | 53

@ #51 It appears you don't know much about WW2 and the war mongering FDR's success in provoking conflict by blockading Japan either.
Did you know that Aotearoa received a massive bill from amerika after Japan was nuked?
The kiwi pols don't like to talk about it but they were arm twisted into signing over the majority of their holdings (well all the parts that appear to be geologically promising) in Antarctica to amerika as part payment for 'protection' from an amerikan instigated conflict.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jun 7, 2017 8:50:53 PM | 54

agree with @28 except that I think Qatar is the one backing down or "saving face".

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-gulf-qatar-cybercrime-idUSKBN18Y2X4

"U.S. and European officials said that while United States government agencies and experts were convinced that the news agency and the Qatari government's Twitter feed were hacked, they have not yet determined who did the hacking.
A CNN report quoted unidentified U.S. officials briefed on the investigation as saying that Russian hackers were suspected."

wow. the next time I need a great excuse for something, I'll just blame Russian hackers.

Posted by: anon | Jun 7, 2017 9:12:30 PM | 55

On Tuesday night the folks at Zio-Jazeera seemed quite uncertain about Qatar's future prospects.
But what a difference a day makes (24 little hours - as the song goes)!
Last night they were reeling off the long list of anti-Saudi Barbaria offers of support from Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Turkey et al, which b has outlined in this post, and were sounding quite upbeat about the future...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 7, 2017 10:51:07 PM | 56

Can't help wondering what China thinks of all this. Xi could make a compelling case to the managers of Qatar's sovereign wealth fund that investing in the Belt and Road project, and the rebuilding of Africa could be far more profitable, and fun, than helping the Christian Colonial Vampires to destroy civilisation.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 7, 2017 11:16:19 PM | 57

Debsisdead@54

I'm sure you know much more than I do about the politics of warmaking. I only was commenting on those facts I know about from personal experience. It's only a tiny piece I will grant you, but it served for me to illustrate the point I was making. I apologize for not seeing it from your perspective. My uncle died in Tunisia almost upon his arrival there; my father was absent for four years. We were, we womenfolk as a family, very grateful not to have been made prisoners of the Japanese, and it was because the Americans were there that did not happen. Other islands were not so lucky.

Posted by: juliania | Jun 7, 2017 11:25:28 PM | 58

Would the Saudi's invading Qatar and firing on Turkish troops in Qatar trigger NATO's Article 5. Do these mutual defence treaties remind everyone else of the lead up to WW1. If the turks make an Article 5 call and a no comes back from NATO, is this the death knell for NATO or just another nail in its coffin.

Posted by: Campus | Jun 7, 2017 11:37:09 PM | 59

Saddam always said he got the green light to go into Kuwait over their slant drilling of oil and we know how that turned out. Saudi getting the green light to do Qatar could have a similar result, or even worse. With Russia, Iran and Turkey all having an interest in Qatars gas, not to mention Israel, and certain groups like MB, Hezbollah and Hamas, and with the US largest base in the ME smack in the middle, an accident or false flag could lead to some serious escalation. Someone mentioned Austria-Hungary in 1914. Exactly. The same players who started WWI are still in play

With oil prices so cheap and Saudi oil getting more expensive to extract, Qatars gas would be very useful for reducing the oil extraction costs. Since its a shared gas field with Iran they could deplete Irans gas reserves as well which would be in Israels interests as they seek to be a player in the market.

Posted by: Pft | Jun 8, 2017 12:16:17 AM | 60

@ Juliana #58 I realised after I posted it that my response came across as snarky but I find the lack of knowledge about Aotearoa's involvement in imperial wars quite frustrating.
My own father quit his studies at Otago medical school and enlisted in the navy to train as a pilot in the week that the englanders declared war on Germany.
He trained for years before being given responsibility for a Fleet Air Arm Grumman Avenger mark 1 which he flew in close protection of convoys sailing up to Murmansk laden with lend/lease supplies from the US to the USSR. (The Iranians picked up the tab for that just as the penguins paid off NZ's debt)

After the USSR defeated Germany in the battle of Berlin and victory over Europe was declared most of the kiwi service people were demobbed quite quickly, making it home within 12 months of VE - not so the kiwi contingent in the Fleet Air Arm who had already sustained more than 50% casualties (my brothers and I all have a surfeit of middle names as our father had given us the names of many of his fallen comrades in addition to our family names).
The kiwi Fleet Air Arm was transferred onto US boats and put back to work, one of dad's favourites bitches was about USN vessels having 'dry' messes - not content with denying the morning tot, grabbing a few beers after a hard day "chasing japs" was also strictly verboten.
That was prolly pretty tough - the old bugger wasn't a fan of the benzedrine the amerikan docs handed out - he reckoned it wasn't conducive to night flying, but a couple or 57 scotches was - each to their own eh!
One of the reasons I know a bit about this stuff is because the old man used to rant about the vicious stupidity he got entangled within during the Pacific campaign - that and the fact that when he finally did get discharged he got home to discover that whilst Otago had shown the door to the blokes who spent the war in the 'reserved occupation' of being a medical student, by the time he got home all the spots had been given to blokes who came back first - he was offered the choice between waiting for four or five years to get back into med school or getting immediate admission to dental school.
Since he had a family on the way he chose the latter and hated it - inflicting pain on others wasn't a rewarding pastime he said - that and the inevitable mercury poisoning from mixing amalgam.

Consequently he devoted quite some time to uncovering how it was that all this happened and who had masterminded it all.
According to his wife - my mother who had lost her two elder brothers plus a favourite uncle in the mud at Flanders during the first part of the 'great' 20th century european conflict ,the solution to this problem was simple - kiwis had allowed themselves to become needlessly entangled in imperial 'adventures'.

The tragedy is that altho my generation of Kiwis mostly resisted falling for that trick, Gens X & Y appear ready to repeat the error. Wars are most often started by those too old to do anything but sit on the sidelines and cheer, but they are fought by naive young men who believe what they are told.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jun 8, 2017 12:44:35 AM | 61

Debsisdead, Didn't know that NZ was given a bill after the war, but I heard that Norman Kirk saw NZ become debt free and wasn't agreeable to going into further debt. I used to think that Social Credit had crazy ideas. I know better now.

Posted by: Nobody | Jun 8, 2017 1:23:44 AM | 62

Here is an interesting analysis of the Saudi/UAE/Qatar mess:
The Machiavellian Plot to Provoke Saudi Arabia and Qatar into a “Blood Border” War
http://21stcenturywire.com/2017/06/07/the-machiavellian-plot-to-provoke-saudi-arabia-and-qatar-into-a-blood-border-war/

There is an attempt by the US to "lead from behind" using its proxies in the gulf to stop any further attempts by China to enhance OBOR (BRI) into the Middle East. A coup in Qatar would also open up the exploitation of Qatar natural gas reserves and drive a wedge between any cooperation between Qatar and Iran as well as putting further pressure on Iran.

Turkey will be sending another 3,000 troops to Qatar to oppose Saudi and other gulf allies. This could get messy as Turkey is acting as its own power center and has critical energy security partnerships with Russia, Iran and Qatar.

Posted by: Krollchem | Jun 8, 2017 1:34:50 AM | 63

Can't be sure of much these days. Trumps premature twittulation indicates his utter cluelessness about all this. Either the Saudis/Israelis want what Qatar has got or the petrodollar needs serious defending. Either way, its not making america great again and its good for syria.

Posted by: Rastus | Jun 8, 2017 1:39:39 AM | 64

For a wider view of the Qatar issue, taking into account NATO's expansion into the gulf states, see:
Russia’s Mideast Energy Diplomacy: Boom or Bust?
https://www.geopolitica.ru/en/article/russias-mideast-energy-diplomacy-boom-or-bust

Posted by: Krollchem | Jun 8, 2017 1:55:36 AM | 65

Trump stumbling and bumbling, and now the swamp creatures fighting amongst themselves?
though perhaps Israel/Saudi/Qatar is the swamp.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jun 8, 2017 2:23:35 AM | 66

@38 jfl.. that is like hoping jello will stick to the wall.. it won't.. turkey will not be following any rational direction.. the leader is too scatter brained for that..

@39 the twitter king is climbing down? lol... i will believe it when i read twitterbrain broadcasts it on twitter, lol...

@40 dh.. maybe daffy donald can do a qatari sword dance to square things up with the other half of his terrorist supporters in that part of the world?

@63 Krollchem.. my problem with those insights is how they come after the fact, not before... you wouldn't go do a fortune teller like that would you?

Posted by: james | Jun 8, 2017 2:43:45 AM | 67

ot - new article up from elijah j. m.

Posted by: james | Jun 8, 2017 2:54:47 AM | 69

https://twitter.com/Iran/status/872708272675053568
Iran @Iran 11m
#BREAKING #Iran sends first cargo plane carrying food supplies to #Qatar
#QatarCrisis

Posted by: b | Jun 8, 2017 3:08:22 AM | 70

@67 james

well sometimes even erdogan might be forced to deal with having painted himself into a corner. going up against the saudis in their 'battle against terrorism' might do it, if the rump's handlers have him stick to his jihad against iran. germany is about done with erdogan, their troops are coming home from turkey. the rest of nato was 'not pleased' with his performance prior to his putting the breaks on their invasion and occupation of qatar. barring an uprising against the us - the drive wheel of saudi-wahabist 'anti-terror' - i don't see nato embracing erdogan's latest move at all. not only might the sunni-nato be stillborn, it's mother may die herself - europa was a cow, right - during its tortuous birth.

on the positive side, if iran and qatar can put that gas field they've divided back together again, build a pipline or two and sell it together to the pakistanis, indians, chinese, and turkey, and the europeans ... erdogan's still got his eye on cyprus ... what then would be the benefit of being in nato? why not go with the winners rather than the losers? it's still all about what's good for erdogan, from erdogan's point of view. that's when the jello develops 'bite'. it's got nothing to do with 'doing the right thing', it's got everything to do with payday, and the aggrandisement of sultan erdogan himself in the me. erdogan's tired of being treated like chopped liver by nato/the eu. he'd rather be the new best friend - and paid protector - of qatar and kuwait and other deep pockets. put him back on the good side of the turkish army, too.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 8, 2017 5:09:14 AM | 71

@70 b

looking good : iran's the good cop, and turkey - of course - is the bad.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 8, 2017 5:10:40 AM | 72

Debsisdead@61:

I realized on reflection that your earlier post didn't actually disagree with mine - you have given some more realistic aspects of why 'friends' rush to help the vulnerable when powers threaten to invade. I discovered the circumstances of my uncle's death in reading a book on the American side of the North African business, "The Army at Dawn". The Allies were converging from west and east to push departing German troops into Italy and that was where my father and other uncles were sent next. For whatever reason they were first deployed in Greece; it was very cold and they were not properly equipped.

To my mind Anzac Day has become a fetish. War is indeed hell, and in that generation nobody escaped unscathed, even if the country itself was not invaded. A saying I remember from Colin Powell - you break it, you own it - I take to mean waging war does a terrible something to everyone's soul. And we seem to have a whole legion of soulless people in charge of the world at present who think the only way to profit is to wage war - or at least, in charge of a diminishing part of it while a large part of the rest is descending into chaos. I can't see that that profits anyone.

Posted by: juliania | Jun 8, 2017 9:04:48 AM | 73

72 sounds like Saudi/UAE lost their clerics

The religious literacy project

Qatar is home to a number of tribal families in addition to the ruling al-Thani family. These include the al-Khalifa, the al-Sudan, the al-Saud, the Utubi, the Bani Khalid, the Qawasim, the al-Musallam, the al-Ainain, the al-Attiyah, and the al-Kuwari. Several of these families, such as the al-Sudan and the al-Musallam, predate the al-Thani family’s arrival in Qatar. The al-Khalifa and the al-Saud are kin to the rulers of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, respectively, while the al-Sudan and the Bani Khalid are among Doha’s oldest residents. The latter received exceptional rights and privileges, including exemption from the pearl taxation. Thus, without the intervention of the British in 1868, either Bahrain or Saudi Arabia might have subsumed the Qatar peninsula under the al-Khalifa or al-Saud family or an old, established family might have emerged organically as the kingdom’s ruler.

Doha neighborhoods are effectively tribal neighborhoods and the family council, or majlis, makes decisions about both personal and community matters. Tribal allegiance carries over into the structure and processes of Qatar’s political system. Where electoral systems exist, most citizens vote according to their tribe; this divides representative institutions along tribal lines, helping to diffuse dissent.

So this blockades angers families?

Posted by: somebody | Jun 8, 2017 9:17:06 AM | 74

Reuters is beginning to get it - it does sound like the Berlin wall.

Thousands of Qataris have been unable to board flights to the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, and cut off from relatives in those countries, in a region where cross-border marriages are common and Gulf rulers refer to each other as "brothers". ... "My mother who is originally from the UAE cannot visit her sick mother, needless to say we will not be able to see my uncles," said Mohammed, a Qatar University professor, who gave his first name only.

He said a Saudi friend of his living in Qatar had sent his child to Riyadh for a family visit before the embargo and now he does not know what to do. Qatari students in the UAE and Saudi Arabia have been told to leave before finishing exams, he said.

"The issue is presented to the West as a diplomatic spat ... the reality is far worse," a Qatari diplomat said. "It is a blockade! Like that of Berlin. A declaration of war. A political, economic and social aggression."

Even if the dispute is settled, Qataris and other Gulf Arabs worry that the bitter spat which has seen both sides denounce each other as "enemies" and "traitors" of the Gulf has sown divisions and hostility that will linger on.

"I think it is three things we are scared of: family ties being severed, possible military action and losing the spirit of the Gulf Cooperation Council," said Mohammed, the professor, referring to the regional political and economic union set up in 1981.

Actually, it sounds worse than the Berlin wall as families could visit from West to East, and pensioners could travel East to West.

Anybody trying a blockade like that loses popularity and legitimacy. The longer Saudi/UAE try to do this the more they will lose.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 8, 2017 9:33:59 AM | 75

@ Somebody 74

Interesting report on Voltaire Network about a Emir Tamim appearing on Al-Jazeera,

Speaking on television, the Emir declared: “Qatar has never failed to play its role whether as an Arab state or an Islamic state and to defend the challenges that our Islamic Arab nations are facing”. After being on air for just 18 seconds, the programme was censored at the 19th second. The Al-Jazeera presenter, taken aback, came back on air, stammering.

...

We will never know what Emir Tamim was hoping to say nor less to do. The local press failed to address the issue on Tuesday 6 June. Noone knows who has the authority to cut off a message delivered by the Emir nor who is hiding behind this puppet leader.

While his father, Emir Hamad ben Khalifa Al Thani, was king, power gradually shifted into the hands of the company Exxon-Mobil. At the time, the majority shareholder of this company was the Rockfeller company, while its director was Rex Tillerson. A serious conflict pitted the Rockfellers against Tillerson.


Posted by: Bolt | Jun 8, 2017 10:28:54 AM | 76

Posted by: Bolt | Jun 8, 2017 10:28:54 AM | 76

Voltaire network is political fantasy. If you like the genre ....

Posted by: somebody | Jun 8, 2017 10:57:19 AM | 77

Lovely to see the free world expressing condemnations of ksa etc hubris
Apart from IATA i havent heard much!!

Posted by: Mina | Jun 8, 2017 11:06:48 AM | 78

78
Al Manar - Hezbollah media - has a pretty good knowledgable summary of the conflict

Though Qataris responded in their media outlets especially Aljazeera with equally heightened rhetoric, yet they left a window for flexibility. The alternative is also to ask for US help to mediate, especially that Qatar houses the largest American military base in the region. The US president Donald trump expressed readiness to reconcile between the two US allies.

Qatari money can do miracles in this regard, and Trump could gather more hundreds of billions of dollars as well to boast that he brought money and jobs to Americans more than any other US president. To sum up the article, it is not likely that a war erupts between the two countries especially that Qatar does not have military forces in the true sense of the word, and Saudi Arabia has its limitations and restraints due to its war on Yemen. Moreover, Qatar has very close coordination with Turkey which pledged to send troops to support Qatar. As such, it is most likely that this escalation would be followed by intensive mediation talks to resolve the crisis in a way that assures Saudi vital interests and keeps to Qatar its dignity that Riyadh exercised a lot of pressure to compromise it recently as it did many times before.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 8, 2017 11:12:10 AM | 79

Fun from March

How to deal with Muslim Brotherhood triggers Trump White House infighting

President Trump has — for the time being — put on the back burner an executive order designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, according to U.S. officials close to a heated debate inside the administration over the status of the global Islamist movement.

While the White House has declined to comment publicly, officials speaking on condition of anonymity say the administration backed down from a plan to designate the Brotherhood last month after an internal State Department memo advised against it because of the movement’s loose-knit structure and far-flung political ties across the Middle East

Posted by: somebody | Jun 8, 2017 11:30:11 AM | 80

NDF‏@NatDefFor

Saudis begin to boycott Turkish branded products

Posted by: Boycott | Jun 8, 2017 12:13:32 PM | 81

I know way too little about this and am learning a lot reading the posts and comments here. But I am wondering, I seem to have heard that the eastern part of KSA is already something of a problem area for them because it is where the Shiite minority is concentrated. Would that be a factor either way in what KSA might do?

Posted by: Prairie Bear | Jun 8, 2017 12:17:25 PM | 82

82) Main problem should be Yemen

True - or a threat - Press tv

Yemeni forces target Saudi F-16 fighter jet over Sana’a: Report

Posted by: somebody | Jun 8, 2017 12:20:06 PM | 83

Robert Fisk on Qatar

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/qatar-crisis-economy-diplomatic-links-torn-middle-east-russia-hacking-real-story-robert-fisk-a7778616.html

One of the few independent reporters around.

Posted by: Les | Jun 8, 2017 12:47:01 PM | 84

"Qatar must be completely transparent and answer precisely the questions that have been asked notably by its neighbors. That's what France is asking for," government spokesman Christophe Castaner told reporters in a weekly briefing.

France decided to be bold and throw out any shame kissing KSA (I would not venture to guess where). Answer precisely if they will close al-Jazeera or not? Or if they will continue to fund White Helmet's parent organization or not? Can France make a precise and complete list of terrorist organizations it supports, with the amounts of money, weapons (do not forget catalog numbers) etc.? Perhaps all states should post quarterly reports on that?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 8, 2017 12:53:13 PM | 85

Al Jazeera announces in a statement that it is under an electronic attack.

Qatar Media Corporation temporarily suspends Qatar TV website for security reasons

Posted by: AJ | Jun 8, 2017 1:01:07 PM | 86

thanks everyone for the updates here, especially on qatar.. interesting data somebody.. thanks!

piotr... it wouldn't be like france to stop being hypocritical like it's western leaders demand... france - what a joke!

jfl - thanks... erdogan is a complete whackjob... he will go which ever way the wind blows and the wind can blow any which way at any point in time! he is like a fart in a windstorm... you don't want to be downwind of him!!!

Posted by: james | Jun 8, 2017 1:23:24 PM | 87

the Gulf states all agree on what flavor of rebel/terrorist they support (same as US and Israel). The difference between Qatar and the rest is getting in line with Israel's choices. Qatar is being ordered to demonize Hamas/Hezbollah and for Al Jazeera to stop doing all those feature stories that sympathize with Palestine.

I don't see any other dispute.

Qatar today says they won't back down, but they aren't big enough to win this. I would guess that they will end up toeing the line and that Al Jazeera will change (again). The thing that only continues to get worse for everyone is tension between dictators and actual real people.

Posted by: anon | Jun 8, 2017 1:47:33 PM | 88

Somewhat OT but where did I read something this winter/spring about war brewing in June of this year?

Posted by: Lozion | Jun 8, 2017 2:01:16 PM | 89

@Somebody 77 ignoring the evidence

There's a video of the event;

http://www.egyptindependent.com/video-jazeera-takes-emir-qatar-speech-off-air-seconds/

Posted by: Bolt | Jun 8, 2017 9:29:33 PM | 90

Outrage as Saudis Snub Minute of Silence in Australia Footie Game


The Saudi Arabian Football Federation has apologized for “any offense caused” after its players declined to participate in a minute’s silence in memory of last weekend’s deadly attacks in London before the start of a World Cup qualifying match against Australia.

Football Federation Australia said the Saudi team management knew about the plan to hold a minute’s silence before the match and had indicated that the players wouldn’t participate.


but, gee ... it's like football, right? the saudis have always been on the terrorists' side. it's a question of team loyalty.

it's beginning to look to me that this is saddam-kuwait redux, albeit in slow motion. the neocon brain trust set the saudis up and then just let them do what comes naturally.

do you think they're actually banking on a us/israeli takeover of arabia?

Posted by: jfl | Jun 8, 2017 11:08:33 PM | 91

Graphic: Hayat Tahrir al-Sham storms Free Syrian Army base in Idlib, executes leaders


The HTS led attack came unexpected and caught the Division 13 off guard. After overrunning the latter’s base with ease the jihadist group started executing their new captives. Among FSA fighters and many officers Colonel Taiser Al-Samahi of Division 13 had also been killed, before FSA reinforcements could reach the area and started to challenge the raiding jiahdist fighters.

Throughout the clashes, civilian residents went out into the streets in protest against HTS and called on them to cease the fighting and leave the town. The jihadist group unconvinced of the proposal opened fire at the protestors thereby killing at least 10 residents of Maart al-Numan as of now.

The FSA not only caught off guard, but also overpowered by the sheer size of the jihadist fighter contingent swarming the town called on Ahrar Al-Sham and Failaq Al-Sham for help. Both groups answered the call by sending a convoy of fighters to support FSA units trying to hold the town and fight off HTS.


is this revenge by the saudi's favorite headchoppers upon turkey's favorite headchoppers for, at least verbally, backing qatar?

are the al-shams qatari funded headchoppers?

Posted by: jfl | Jun 8, 2017 11:20:32 PM | 92

Seats won · 535/650 seats declared

244 37.5% Conservative Theresa May
227 34.9% Labour Jeremy Corbyn
33 5.1% Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon
10 1.5% Liberal Democrat Tim Farron
10 1.5% Democratic Unionist Party Arlene Foster
7 1.1% Sinn Féin Gerry Adams and Michelle O'Neill
3 0.5% Plaid Cymru Leanne Wood
1 0.2% Other parties

tories pull ahead

Posted by: jfl | Jun 8, 2017 11:27:46 PM | 93

@93 oops, wrong thread.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 8, 2017 11:34:59 PM | 94

@94 You might as well just go with the projections now. No big surprises. The only question is will Teresa and Nicola ever be friends?

Posted by: dh | Jun 8, 2017 11:38:10 PM | 95

Jfl yep certainly. People are free to interpret the boycott call locally and according to situations of course, as with the case of the saudis in a football stadium in australia too.

Posted by: Mina | Jun 9, 2017 3:01:38 AM | 96

The attached map shows Qatar in the wrong place.

Posted by: Annette | Jun 9, 2017 6:56:30 AM | 97

As predicted ...

Qatar says it won't 'surrender' in Gulf row

Doha (AFP) - Qatar said Thursday it will not "surrender" and rejected any interference in its foreign policy, defying its Gulf neighbours in an escalating dispute over its alleged support for extremists.

In an interview with AFP, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said calls for a change in Qatari policy from Saudi Arabia and its allies, which cut diplomatic ties with Doha this week, were unacceptable.

"No one has the right to intervene in our foreign policy," Sheikh Mohammed said.

He also rejected "a military solution as an option" to resolving the crisis, and said Qatar could survive "forever" despite the measures taken against it.
...


Posted by: b | Jun 9, 2017 8:15:53 AM | 98

Thanks for the update b.

The geo-political dynamics at play keeps growing country by country. The next big news will be Fake Alliances

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 9, 2017 8:48:26 PM | 99

Where is Mohammad bin-Salman? His ultimatim for Qatar has long passed and not a single demand was met. Salman really is a coward, an idiot. He's making a total fool out of the Kingdom of Saoudi Arabia. 2 Years of bombing and maiming Yemen with the most advanced weaponry the US and its NATO partners could sell them with absolutely nothing to show for. The only thing Salman and the rest of the royal Saoudi retards are good at is pissing money away and funding terrorist groups all over the globe where Uncle Sam needs them.

Posted by: salami | Jun 10, 2017 3:35:56 PM | 100

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