Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 23, 2017

The Saudi-Qatar Spat - An Offer To Be Refused

(Updated last graphs on June 24 9:00am est)

Today the Saudi ruler issued an ultimatum to Qatar that was written to be rejected. Such has happened before and one should not forget the lessons to be learned from it.

After the crown prince of the Austria-Hungary monarchy, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was shot and killed in Sarajevo, the government of Austria waited three weeks to issue a 10 point ultimatum to Serbia which it held responsible for the incident. At least three of those points concerned the suppression of "propaganda against Austria-Hungary" and the Austrian Monarchy by Serbian private and state entities. It demanded a response within two days:

Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary, commented that he had "never before seen one State address to another independent State a document of so formidable a character."

The Austrian ultimatum was an offer to be refused. But Serbia did not fall into that trap. It conceded everything but two minor points. This was to no avail. The issues and plans Austria had were not about the assassination of [the disliked] Franz Ferdinand or the demands issued in the ultimatum. Two days later Austria-Hungary declared war against Serbia. Allies jumped to either side. World War I had started.


The now official demands by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and some minor Gulf sheikdoms against Qatar have a similar smell to them. They are also "an offer to be refused."

The demands come late, three weeks after Saudi Arabia first accused Qatar of "supporting terrorism", three weeks after it closed the border and laid siege on the country.

(Qatar is surly "supporting terrorism". So is the U.S. - the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service just rejected an asylum request because the person in question has relations with the Free Syrian Army which the C&I-Service considers to be an "undesignated terrorist organization". The CIA built and supports the FSA. According to the U.S. government the U.S. government is a state sponsor of terrorism. But the biggest terrorist sponsor of all are and have been the Saudis.)

Spats between member of the Gulf Cooperation Council are usually mediated by the U.S. government. But without any official demands issued against Qatar there was nothing to mediate about. Three day ago U.S. Department of State finally issued a rather angry statement towards Saudi Arabia:

"We are mystified that the Gulf states have not released to the public, nor to the Qataris, the details about the claims that they are making toward Qatar," explained State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert on Tuesday.
"At this point, we are left with one simple question: Were the actions really about their concerns about Qatar's alleged support for terrorism, or were they about the long-simmering grievances between and among the GCC countries?" Nauert asked.

The real issue for Saudi Arabia is the support for the Muslim Brotherhood by Qatar. The MB provides an alternative model of Islamic government to the hereditary kingdoms of the Gulf sheiks. They are a danger to the Saudi ruling family. A second point are Qatar's relative good relations with Iran, the external enemy the Saudis (and Israeli) rulers need to keep their people in line.

The "terrorism" accusation was never the real issue. What the Saudis demand is subjugation. A summary of the thirteen point ultimatum:

In effect, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain are asking Qatar to hand over control of its foreign policy to them. It will not be allowed to have diplomatic relations with Iran and its contact with Iran will be limited to trade and commerce that “complies with US and international sanctions”. Qatar will not be allowed contact with political opposition figures in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain — even though other countries (including western countries) do so routinely. In addition, Qatar is being asked to hand over all its files on those opposition groups.
Qatar is also being asked to “end interference in sovereign countries’ internal affairs” while allowing Saudi Arabia, the UAE, etc, apparently unlimited interference in Qatar’s own affairs. Qatar, according to the list of demands, must “align itself with the other Gulf and Arab countries militarily, politically, socially and economically”.

Then there’s the closure of Qatar’s TV station, al-Jazeera. Obviously, the Saudis, Emiratis, etc, don’t like it. ... Qatar is also told to stop funding several other news organisations, including Middle East Eye and al-Arabi al-Jadeed (also available in English as The New Arab).
Finally, Qatar is being asked to sign blank cheque covering “reparations and compensation for loss of life and other, financial losses caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years”.

The Saudi ultimatum ends on July 3, the anniversary of the Saudi sponsored military coup against the Qatari backed Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt. One demand in the ultimatum is for Qatar to end all support for the Brotherhood.

The ultimatum will likely be rejected. Qatar will simply not respond until the Saudis and others lift their blockade of the country. If the Saudis want war they should launch it right away, the Qatari ruler thinks. Doha is sure that the U.S. will not allow that. Ten-thousand U.S. troops are stationed in Qatar. It hosts a major U.S. air base and the important Central Command, which leads the war against ISIS and Syria. Qatar just bought U.S. fighter jets for $12 billion and is offering to take a 10% share of American Airlines.

Turkish troops have arrived to protect the sheikdom. One unexpected Saudi demand is that all Turkish troops leave Qatar. The Erdogan government, a Muslim Brotherhood branch, responded with a snippy "Make me do so":

Turkey’s Defense Minister Fikri Işık rejected the demand, saying any call for the base to be shut would represent interference in Ankara’s relations with Doha. He suggested instead that Turkey might bolster its presence.

There is no "or else" in the Saudi ultimatum. The Saudi ruler, the clown prince Mohammad bin Salman, is not a strategist. He likely has not thought through what he could do would if Qatar says "no" to him.

The Trump administration is considering a Camp David-style summit to solve the conflict:

“The president now wants to bring all the key players to Washington,” he said. “They need to disavow groups like the [Muslim] Brotherhood for the stability of the Middle East at large. It’s not just about Qatari elements funding the Brotherhood but disavowing support for extremism in general,” [a senior White House official] said.

The real issue for the Trump administration is to unite the GCC behind its plans against Iran. There is only a small chance that such can be achieved. Iran is an important commercial partner for Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE and Oman. Those countries have nothing to win from any war with it.

So far Iran is the sole winner of the GCC spat. Should the Saudi blockade of Qatar continue Iran's farmers will sell over 400,000 tons of food per year to Qatar. Steel and concrete are other potential exports products for Iran. Lucrative air traffic in Iranian air space has increased by 17% since the Saudis blocked Qatar Airlines flights through their airspace. Iran will sell more natural gas should Qatar's gas exports be damaged.

Saudi Arabia as well as Qatar are Wahhabi extremist states. They both spend their huge resources to spread their deadly sectarian and racist believes. Qatar's ideological export is handled by Al-Jazeerah Arabic know for vile sectarianism and support of ISIS and al-Qaeda. The Saudis finance extremist mosques and madrassas all over the world.  Let them fight each other and spend their resources against each other. The world can only win from that.

But there is also danger in such a fight. As the historic example of Serbia demonstrates, allies jumping in on either side, each with their own agenda, may spread the fire way beyond the local conflict. What if Pakistan takes the Saudi sides and India, which receives some 90% of its gas imports from Qatar, joins the Qatari one?

The Saudis and Emiratis surely did not think of this when they launched their belligerent plans. They had hoped that Qatar would fold within a day or two. They never though about real fighting or of a possible escalation beyond the local conflict. As both sides have now taken hardened positions it will be difficult for each to climb down. It will now take a year or two, if not longer, for this conflict to end.

Posted by b on June 23, 2017 at 17:15 UTC | Permalink


In a statement, Al Jazeera said, "We assert our right to practise our journalism professionally without bowing to pressure from any government or authority."

Posted by: dh | Jun 23 2017 17:22 utc | 1

I know Sissi and Egypt current rulers hate Muslim Brothers, but I don't get why they joined the KSA bandwagon so eagerly. I thought they were trying a rapprochement with Syria and Irak leaders.

Posted by: Jean | Jun 23 2017 17:34 utc | 2

Maybe the new ultimatum was issued in order to distract the other royals after Salman consolidated even more power in KSA and Israeli troops were called in and stationed on Saoudi soil to make sure no coup was launched.

I would bet money on the fact that KSA is not going to attack Qatar.

Posted by: xor | Jun 23 2017 17:40 utc | 3

It is mind boggling that a fundemental reshaping of the Middle East was most likely put in motion by Trump completely oblivious of what he was doing shooting from the hip on his Saudi trip.

Outside of an outright invasion of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, it is hard to see this as a once in a life time geopolitical gift to Russia, Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Iran.

Posted by: R Winner | Jun 23 2017 17:41 utc | 4

Re: 1

Bad language or abuse,
I never, never use,
Whatever the emergency;
Though "bother it" I may
Occasionally say,
I never use a big, big D ?

What, never?

No, never!

What, never?

Hardly ever!

Hardly ever swears a big, big D ?
Then give three cheers, and one cheer more,
For the well-bred Captain of the Pinafore!
Then give three cheers, and one cheer more,
For the Captain of the Pinafore!


Similarly, independence of Al Jazeera may have some teeny weeny exceptions.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 23 2017 17:45 utc | 5

@5 Well we all know what 'independence' means when it come to media outlets. But AJ's statement is not totally meaningless. It's clearly aimed at Saudis and the GCC.... no doubt with Al Thani approval.

Posted by: dh | Jun 23 2017 17:53 utc | 6

Is Qatar, like Turkey, already heading for a multi-polar world?
For 25 years, the US was the only game in town, but with Russia's move into Syria there are now options.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jun 23 2017 17:55 utc | 7

The thought of the Qatar/Saudi spat being moderated by an American game show host would be funny if it were not seemingly part of the plan of the West. Trump is set to push all the international hot buttons and see what develops....more money/investments for the rich and/or more opportunity to use the MIC and keep the American sheeple in line.....its a win/win but not for humanity by any stretch.

Here is a vote for a multi-polar world not controlled by private finance and the human parasites that own it and most of private property.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 23 2017 18:11 utc | 8

Now when July 3 comes and goes, Saudi Arabia will look completely impotent in the eyes of the countries in the region.

I wonder if there is some sort of interest between Russia, Turkey, Qatar, and Iran on a coup in Saudi Arabia. I can't imagine it would be that difficult. I know it is not Putin's policy to play these types of games like the US Regime, but one has to assume that people are just fucking done with the clowns running Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: Juggs | Jun 23 2017 18:24 utc | 9

Gaddafi's speech to the Arab League in Syria 2008 was so prescient..
"We [the Arabs] are the enemies of one another I'm sad to say, we deceive one another, we gloat at the misfortune of one another, and we conspire against one another, and an Arab's enemy is another Arab's friend.
Along comes a foreign power, occupies an Arab country [Iraq] and hangs its President,and we all sit on the sidelines laughing. Any one of you might be next, yes.

Posted by: harrylaw | Jun 23 2017 18:36 utc | 10
Qatar given 10 days to meet 13 sweeping demands by Saudi Arabia
Gulf dispute deepens as allies issue ultimatum for ending blockade that includes closing al-Jazeera and cutting back ties with Iran

Posted by: okie farmer | Jun 23 2017 18:37 utc | 11

Piotr Berman @5--

Yes, but first he had to polish up that Big Brass Knob over and over. Seems to me that Ruddigore is perhaps a better explanation given Saud family antics.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 23 2017 18:41 utc | 12

Peter AU "Is Qatar, like Turkey, already heading for a multi-polar world? For 25 years, the US was the only game in town, but with Russia's move into Syria there are now options."

Hard to see the world heading in that direction:

* Russia and China will no longer allow the US Regime to use the same tactics to start wars against Iraq and Libya anymore.

* China is methodically closing off the South China Sea to the US Regime

* The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is starting to increase their shared defense

* Europe is openly talking about creating its own independent defense force

I wonder if Qatar is already in talks with China about joining the Silk Road Initiative now that it is openly moving into the Russia and Iran sphere.

Posted by: Juggs | Jun 23 2017 18:41 utc | 13

I quite agree, b, that Qatar won't give way on this rather crude ultimatum. The Americans are not fully supporting Saudi. More that MbS had the impression of US support at the time of Trump's visit. Rather a Kuwait-like situation. And he doesn't feel he can pull back.

The point where I wouldn't agree is the motivation. "The real issue for Saudi Arabia is the support for the Muslim Brotherhood by Qatar." I don't see how that's a big enough justification for war. It's hard to say, but I guess that Qatar has been supporting internal opposition in Saudi Arabia. I wouldn't like to say precisely what, as there's not much news about opposition in Saudi. Supporting the suffering Shi'a in the Eastern Province sounds improbable. Why would Wahhabis support Shi'a? But I think there are probably others, more Sunni, who are also restive.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 23 2017 19:03 utc | 14

China's soft power and economy has been there for some time, also Russia's diplomacy, but it looks as though Russia's hard power was also needed to provide a solid alternative to the hegemon.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jun 23 2017 19:04 utc | 15

Juggs 13--

"I wonder if Qatar is already in talks with China about joining the Silk Road Initiative..."

You'll find the answer's yes as Pepe explains, and

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 23 2017 19:06 utc | 16

fascinating development! thanks for the post b..

this jackaass running affairs in saudi arabia takes the cake for stepping on as many trip wires as possible and at about the same time in the shortest amount of time..

meanwhile everyone is trying to play him and what he has set in motion for all it is worth..

fascinating link to the nyt and the fellow not being given us citizenship.. on the one hand the usa actively supports terrorism, but are unwilling to support those who they have given countless green lights do down at the immigration dept (c+i services)... wow... maybe john mcquakers/cain can help him out? nothing a fellow terrorist wouldn't want to do to support one of his own..

so is the muslim brotherhood any more fanatical then wahabbism? i am mystified by egypts role in all this too.. i guess the annual payout from the usa is good for something here.. otherwise i don't get egypts position in all this.. either way - isis/al qaeda - all a byproduct of usa-israel-ksa-uk and etc, no matter how one slices it...

meanwhile turkey is also being pulled into picking a side - which it has with qatar... man, if this isn't enough of a set up towards ww3, i am not sure what is..

Posted by: james | Jun 23 2017 19:08 utc | 17

@14, Another branch of the royal Saudi family maybe? Closing al-Jazeera in KSA was one of their first steps.

Posted by: anonymous | Jun 23 2017 19:11 utc | 18

@17 The best is yet to come. There's a chance Netanyahu will fly into Riyadh to tell everybody what to do. I'm sure he wants what's best for the region.

Posted by: dh | Jun 23 2017 19:20 utc | 19

I quite like the WWI parallel. Trump as Kaiser Wilhelm? There certainly are some striking similarities in character.

Quote from Thomas Nipperdey:

"...gifted, with a quick understanding, sometimes brilliant, with a taste for the modern,—technology, industry, science—but at the same time superficial, hasty, restless, unable to relax, without any deeper level of seriousness, without any desire for hard work or drive to see things through to the end, without any sense of sobriety, for balance and boundaries, or even for reality and real problems, uncontrollable and scarcely capable of learning from experience, desperate for applause and success,—as Bismarck said early on in his life, he wanted every day to be his birthday—romantic, sentimental and theatrical, unsure and arrogant, with an immeasurably exaggerated self-confidence and desire to show off, a juvenile cadet, who never took the tone of the officers' mess out of his voice, and brashly wanted to play the part of the supreme warlord, full of panicky fear of a monotonous life without any diversions, and yet aimless, pathological in his hatred against his English mother."

Posted by: L'Akratique | Jun 23 2017 19:29 utc | 20

Isnt it funny how the western MSM give support to the terror-funding Saudiarabia? Talk about propaganda! Another proof how dumb journalists in the MSM really are.

As far a the conflict, saudi is just mad that Qatar is talking with Iran, those racists sleazebags in the saudi kingdom cannot accept that.

Posted by: Anon | Jun 23 2017 19:32 utc | 21

Al Jazeera is evil and the sooner it can be closed, the better.

From Saudi textbook: Unfortunately this theory [evolution] emerged among some Muslims, who immediately set out to support it unaware of the blasphemy and error in it.

Headline in Al Jazeera: Skull fossil challenges evolutionary history
Discovery of 1.8-million-year-old human ancestor skull in Georgia offers new evidence that early man was single species.

Interestingly, one of the two parties that form the ruling coalition in UK is against evolution.


I checked on that because today it was reported that Turkish education authorities decided that evolution is too complicated to be a school subject. By the way, compulsory education in Iran has eight years, and in the eighth year evolution is covered. The article I cited, "Evolution Education in Muslim States: Iran and Saudi Arabia" provides more details. In both countries, clerical authorities have the last word in school curriculum, but both clerical and national attitudes are different. Quite typically, there is a vision of Golden Age, a period of national greatness. But in the Persian version of the golden age, the nation had world-wide importance in arts, commerce, technology and science. (Actually, my native Poland also had important contributions. For example, the oldest vehicle wheel was found in some bog in Poland. Imagine what we would do today without it!)

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 23 2017 19:41 utc | 22

I have difficulty in seeing a relationship with the Silk Road Initiative, other than that Qatar exports a lot of LNG to China. That is an investment project in poor Asian countries. Qatar doesn't need that.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 23 2017 19:43 utc | 23

Piotr Berman

Aljazeera evil? Are you joking? What would you even say that? You have no idea how important that channel is apparently. Go figure what happens if that channel shuts down.

Posted by: Anon | Jun 23 2017 19:47 utc | 24

@Laguerre #23

I have difficulty in seeing a relationship with the Silk Road Initiative, other than that Qatar exports a lot of LNG to China.

China Eyes Qatar in its Quest to Build a New Silk Road

Last month at the China-Arab Cooperation Forum in Doha, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi postulated that Qatar should take part in the realization of China’s Silk Road Initiatives.

Posted by: cankles | Jun 23 2017 20:05 utc | 25

Just a little speculation here, if things go pear shaped [I don't think they will] is it possible that the largest shared gas field in the world South Pars [Iran] and North dome [Qatar] could share a pipe line through Iran, Iraq, Turkey or Syria and on to Europe?

Posted by: harrylaw | Jun 23 2017 20:28 utc | 26

Posted by: cankles | Jun 23, 2017 4:05:49 PM | 25

Yeah, you're right. I hadn't looked into the question sufficiently. Of course the Chinese are looking for more external finance for the project. They don't want to be the only ones who pay. Fat chance, though. The Qataris have been in austerity since the decline in the oil price. Someone I know who works in the Qatar Museum has seen all her colleagues let go. And now the crisis with Saudi.

The Qataris may even have signed contracts with China. But if you know anything about the Gulf, there's a wide gap between signing a contract, and actually getting paid. It depends upon how the prince concerned feels about the project when the question of payment comes up. A company I worked for in the 80s took two years to get payment, even though they were experts in Gulfi relations.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 23 2017 20:42 utc | 27

Great piece.
The issue of the threat regarding the Turkish base didn't surprise me much, though. I think it's clear that if MB is the target, then of course Turkey has to become a target, and Qatar - Turkey ties have to be broken. It stands to reason.
It also stands to reason if you simply consider Saudi's importance regionally: A lot is made of Iran's threat to Saudi influence, but Turkey - thanks in part to considerable investment by Qatar currently while investment from elsewhere has reduced massively - is also very threatening to Saudi's influence, especially on the religious front. Iran representing Shia interests in the region and Turkey representing Sunni interests is not a difficult future to imagine. It would of course grate with Saudi Arabia given that it had poured vast amounts of money into the Turkish economy and the diyanet.

On a slightly different note there's a scandal going on in western turkey, in Duzce, at the moment because the local authority has unveiled a statue of Rabia - the four fingered Muslim Brotherhood salute! :-)

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jun 23 2017 20:51 utc | 28
let's blame underfed guys in skirts for fun

Posted by: Mina | Jun 23 2017 21:09 utc | 29

Hassan Nasrallah has given his annual International Al-Quds Day speech with plenty of fire aimed at the usual suspects. The Daily Star reports:

'Nasrallah accused Saudi Arabia of "paving way for Israel" in the region.

'"It's unfortunate that Saudi Arabia is the head of terrorism and today it's holding its neighbors accountable for supporting terrorism," Nasrallah said, hinting to the recent economic sanctions against Qatar.'

Al-Manar provides this report,

Unfortunately, I cannot locate an English language transcript, although one might become available eventually as is usually the case.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 23 2017 21:16 utc | 30

Harrylaw @ 26: If you Google a bit on the South Pars / North Dome gasfield and include terms like "Syria" and "Assad" in your search, you will find some articles that suggest the gasfield is the ultimate reason for the current war in Syria. Several years ago - around or before the year 2010 - Qatar had proposed running a gas pipeline to the Mediterranean Sea, part of which would run through Syria to Turkey, but President Assad rejected this deal because it threatened Russian economic interests in supplying natural gas to Europe. Instead Assad inked a deal with Iran and Iraq to run a gas pipeline from South Pars through the signatories' territories that would stop in Beirut. From there, tankers would carry LNG to Europe. The claim the articles make is that Qatar has been funding the war in Syria to punish Assad's government.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 23 2017 21:24 utc | 31

Laguerre's comment @14
"More that MbS had the impression of US support at the time of Trump's visit. Rather a Kuwait-like situation. And he doesn't feel he can pull back."

b's post from Nov 2016
"But I believe it is, like many other things Trump says, just red meat for the media and his supporters. They will be busy covering this for a full news cycle or even longer.

During his campaign Trump used such gimmicks to divert attention from this or that scandal involving him or his business whenever such threatened to creep up to the top news line. It always worked like a charm. The media fell for each and every new "scandal" he fabricated with a few tweets or lines on the campaign trail. Journalists, "experts" and editors went off to discuss his latest bit while Trump's huge scandals, like his University scam, barely made the headline.

But why is Trump doing this now? Where does he has to divert attention from?"

And a piece from a Dec 2016 Mercouris aticle

...By far the most irresponsible and dangerous Hillary Clinton has done is however to accuse a foreign power – Russia – of meddling in the election in order to prevent her winning, and to impose Donald Trump on the American people.

This is dangerous and irresponsible at so many levels that it is difficult to know where to start.....

...Fifthly, and most dangerous of all, making this completely false claim is planting a bomb under the legitimacy of whoever is going to be the next President of the United States.

If that person is Donald Trump, then he will have to contend with the fact that he is the candidate Hillary Clinton, her campaign, most of the political establishment, nearly all the media, and the US intelligence community, have publicly claimed Russia is helping to win.

How in that case, if Trump does win, would he as President be able to command the respect and loyalty of the foreign policy bureaucracy, of the intelligence community, of the military, of the media, and of Congress, when they have all been told that he is the preferred candidate and quite possibly the agent of a foreign power? Would they not see it as their duty to obstruct and disobey him at every turn, so as to stop him selling out the country to his foreign puppet-masters?.....

I suspect most of what is occurring now has to be looked at with those two articles in mind.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jun 23 2017 21:26 utc | 32

sunni /shite breakdown - world population wise... someone suggested there are a lot more shites then sunnis.. i realize this whole focus on the part of the west is a divide and conquer concept... but i was curious if anyone has a population breakdown on this? thanks...

@30 karlof1.. thanks.. the whole thing is so crazy.. saudi arabia, israel or the usa suggesting qatar is responsible for terrorism.. talk about the pot calling the kettle black..

meanwhile i saw earlier today or yesterday that whackjob avigor lieberman the israeli nutjob claiming they are going to hold syria responsible for any actions of hezbollah, al qaeda, isis - you name it - false flag from the cia - could be anything, lol... who ever let this idiot out? is this an isreali joke or something?

Posted by: james | Jun 23 2017 21:27 utc | 33

james @33--

The studies are old, but @80-85% Sunni, 15-20% Shia. But there are other sects, like the Sufi, that could be counted in either. Most recent "news" items promote the idea of a sectarian divide between the two, but that isn't historically true; rather, it's being promoted by those with something to gain by such a promotion, like Huntington and his Clash of Civilizations.

Lieberman is an anti-Semetic racist of the worst sort, is a Zionist and not Hebrew--he was born in Soviet Moldova--although raised Jewish. There are very few true Hebrews--true Semites--within the Zionist Abomination, most being of various Eastern European ethnicities.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 23 2017 22:09 utc | 34

Anon @ 21 said:"Another proof how dumb journalists in the MSM really are."

Not so much "dumb", but, are fond of receiving a paycheck. Not following "the program" in today's MSM will get you terminated.

Posted by: ben | Jun 23 2017 22:09 utc | 35

Piotr Berman

Aljazeera evil? Are you joking? ....

Posted by: Anon | Jun 23, 2017 3:47:56 PM | 24

You did not address the argument I made, namely, that Aljazeera editors apparently belong to "Muslims, who immediately set out to support it [Darwinian theory of evolution] unaware of the blasphemy and error in it." These guys pretend to be nice Wahhabis, dressing in dishdashas, their womenfolks in abayas, but in fact they spread heretical and blasphemous doctrines. However, I am more of a Khazar than a Wahhabi and I do not treat this argument seriously.

It is the fact that compared to other government supported TV/online venues, say RT or PressTV, Aljazeera is well written and edited, has plenty of valuable material, etc. It is a worthwhile place to check when you want to get a composite picture on some issues. And it irritates KSA potentates in a myriad of ways, precisely because it targets "politically engaged Muslim".

It is a good example that pluralism has inherent positive aspects, devils that quarrel are better than "One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them."


Actually, I hope for many more benefits will show up from this quarrel than improved profits for Iranian produce growers. It is worthwhile to observe that Dubai, a component emirate of UAE, has gigantic economic links with Iran, which must be tolerated by overlords from Abu Dhabi: they had to bail out their cousins after real estate collapse, so they have big money stake in Dubai being prosperous. Potentially, Dubai and especially the hapless vegetable and dairy producers in KSA can lose a bundle (the latter had to invest a lot in farms for Qatari market, it is not like letting cows graze on abundant grasslands plus planting cucumbers and waiting for the rain to water them). Aljazeera and Muslim Brotherhood are more irritating to KSA and UAE than an occasional polite missive to Iran.

One pattern in Syrian civil war were persistent and bloody feuds between jihadists that formed roughly four groups: "salafi", presumably funded by KSA, "brothers", presumably funded by Qatar and Turkey, al-Qaeda/al-Nusra/something new that was forcing the first two groups to surrender some weapons (and money?), and ISIS that had more complex sources (or more hidden). Medium term strategy of Syrian government and allies for the near future is to "de-escalate" in the western part of the country and finish off ISIS, partitioning hitherto ISIS territories in some satisfactory way, while maintaining some type of truce with the Kurds. Then finish off the jihadists, except those most directly protected by Turkey. Finally, take care of the Kurds. Some sufficiently safe federalism can be part of the solution, but nothing that would lead to enclaves with their own military forces and their own foreign policy, like Iraqi Kurdistan.

That requires the opposing parties to exhibit somewhat suicidal behavior. A big time official feud between "brothers" and "salafi + Kurds" (a pair that shares some funding but with scant mutual affection" can help a lot. Most of all, a big time feud between Turkey and KSA can stabilize the situation in which jihadists from Idlib and northern Hama observe a truce/de-escalation, while their colleagues from south Syria get clobbered, and definitely will induce them to refrain from attacking Syrian government while it is busy against ISIS. After Erdogan was prevented from marching onto Raqqa, he has two options: "Sunnistan" in eastern Syria under domination of YPG or a much smaller YPG dominated territory that can be subsequently digested. Option one is a true nightmare for Erdogan, more than a mere paranoia. However, Erdogan is also "pan-Sunni" Islamist, so he could be tempted to backstab infidels from Damascus, as he was doing before. An open feud with Sunnistan sponsors should help him to choose.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 23 2017 22:42 utc | 36

Cankles @ 25 Is that really you? If so, you should know -
Look behind the curtain. This has to do with maintaining the price of oil in US$.

Qatar launches first Chinese yuan clearing hub in Middle East.

Qatar 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 launch of the region's first renminbi clearing center in Doha creates the necessary platform to realise the full potential of Qatar and the region's trade relationship with China," Qatar's central bank governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani said at a ceremony.

"It will facilitate greater cross-border renminbi investment and financing business, and promote greater trade and economic links between China and the region, paving the way for better financial cooperation and enhancing the pre-eminence of Qatar as a financial hub in MENA (Middle East and North Africa)."
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China's (ICBC) Doha branch is the clearing bank for the centre, which intends to serve companies from around the Middle East.
A clearing bank can handle all parts of a currency transaction from when a commitment is made until it is settled, reducing costs and time taken for trading.

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.

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.

Laguerre @27

Date of article April 24, 2017

In April 2015, Qatar opened Qatar Renminbi Centre (QRC), the region’s first clearing centre for the Chinese currency. This allows for trades priced in RMB to be cleared locally in Qatar rather than in other centres such as Shanghai or Hong Kong.ICBC has since become the designated clearance bank servicing the QRC, which has handled more than 350bn yuan ($52.6bn) since its inception.

~ ~ ~ ~
Trending and not very far to seeing what is now held under the table. Oil will also be priced in RMB because KSA, to maintain their share of exports to China, will need to get on board. For now, it's been reaffirmed, SA does the whipping and USA protects the Royals.

Posted by: likklemore | Jun 23 2017 22:49 utc | 37

Well said, I still think this is all dreamlike. Having natural gas and sharing it with Iran is a mf.

Qatar: Is it about Trump, Israel or Nascent Influence?

Posted by: rawdawgbugfalo | Jun 23 2017 22:54 utc | 38

james @33 Here is a useful article on the numbers of Sunni/Shia in the Middle East. There is a signifcant majority Shia population in countries around the Gulf

Posted by: harrylaw | Jun 23 2017 23:02 utc | 39

About Sunni-Shia split. My impression is that this is mostly KSA + UAE obsession. For example, there is a substantial Shia minority in Pakistan, but the dominant thinking among the Sunnis seems to be "Muslim solidarity". There is a minority that is virulently anti-Shia, but they are politically isolated and despised exactly on the account of breaking that solidarity. After all, Pakistan forms the boundary of the Umma with non-Muslim India. I base that opinion on comments in online Pakistani newspapers, and what I have heard from an acquaintance who was a religiously conservative Sunni Pakistani. To him, the attack on Yemen by KSA was wrong "because they are Muslim". So even if Pakistan is to a certain extend in Saudi pocket, and its deep state has an extremist Sunni component, overt siding against "fellow Muslim" is out of the question.

Egypt is another case. One can find rather isolated anti-Shia outbursts, like writings of some fossils in Al-Azhar (who are responsible for the state religion), but the government steers away from that, and in spite of hefty subsidies, it joined Yemen war only symbolically and for a very short time (unlike Sudan that really needs the cash for its mercenaries). As you move further away from the Persian Gulf, the indifference to the "split" increases. As far as Qatar and Aljazeera are concerned, probably no one detests them more than Egyptian elite, as they were valiantly fighting Muslim Brotherhood for the sake of progress with some occasional large massacres (killing several hundreds of protesters, issuing hundreds of death penalties to participants in a single protest, in absentia! incredible idiocy+cruelty). That explains why al-Sisi joined KSA against Qatar.

However, the civil war in Libya that embroils Egypt is a classic case of unexpected alliances. Egypt with a help from Russia, KSA and UAE supports the "eastern government" that bases legitimacy on democratic parliament re-assembled in Tobruq on Egyptian border, and dominated by military strongman Haftar. The latter has the best chance of all people to become a military strongman of all Libya, but apparently has meager popularity and thus, too few troops. He patched that problem by an alliance with a Salafi group that had a numerous militia, currently partitioned into smaller units and incorporated into Haftar's brigades. Even with that, his progress on the ground is very, very gradual. Against him is the government in Tripolis, legitimized by a more fresh parliament and UN/EU, plus a military force that includes several militias. Part of the parliamentary support stems from Muslim Brotherhood, and some part of military support comes from Salafi militias. There are also aspects of a "war of all against all", seems that Saharan tribes collected a lot of fresh blood feuds.
Thus Qatari+Turkish support for Tripoli government is aligned with EU, and Egyptian support for Tobruq government is aligned with Russia and KSA.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 23 2017 23:34 utc | 40

I thought I might just throw this out there and see what sticks. US policy is based on power and control. Saudi Arabia has been a good ally but it does not serve use policy or strategic goals any longer. Not really. I think the grand prize for destabilizing the middle east is Saudi Arabia. It would be the only way to truly control the development of other nations or more specifically, to control their rivalries and save the the US from complete economic breakdown. The Saudi's are being plumbed by the best of them, telling them they are you friends, we have your back and so long as Saudi Arabia loses more money and keeps lossing money in needless wars etc. The only hope for Saudi Arabia is to re-denominate oil sales in multiple currencies such as the WTO drawing rights, of course based on another formula, perhaps based on the countries that purchase the most oil. This would be the only way for the royalty to gain longevity as rulers of the country. Any other scenario spells disaster. Of course, it would be a rough go for them for a while, but in the end, a slight change in outlook and the unfair advantage given to the US would go a long way, economically to stabilizing large blocks of countries. They also could of course change their outlook on the world, but that is certainly a difficult challenge. If the Muslim world came together based on their similarities, they could be a very powerful block. The US no longer has the financial velocity it once maintained and this is much more due to insane ideas about being a hegemon. I never thought revolution would be possible in the US, but it is coming and it won't take much. The country does not appear to have intelligence peddle back a number of policies, drunk on its own poison, it makes capitalism look disgusting. A new business model is needed, one that developes mutual trade based on respect from within the exchange itself. Saudi Arabia needs to cultivate multi-channel support for its biggest resource so that when the returns are no longer there, they will have also developed multiple avenues to prosperity. Just a thought.

Posted by: Dusty | Jun 23 2017 23:38 utc | 41

KSA could not have taken this course of action all by itself. Someone somewhere must be egging them on. But who? The US seems to have no interest in a Saudi-Qatari conflict. Israel might, but only if said conflict is resolved in Saudi favor.

I am therefore coming to the conclusion that there is no longer clear leadership of US policy and there are different factions within the US government. The white house and CIA are supporting the Saudis while the Pentagon supports Qatar. This is just a hunch, but it seems like it could make sense. Perhaps this is what happens when a government is in a state of decompensation.

Posted by: lysander | Jun 23 2017 23:43 utc | 42

Encouraging the people of the ME to squabble then fight each other has been the primary tool of exploitation for close on a thousand years, at least since since the crusades maybe earlier.
I set no store whatsoever on the seeming fall out between the white house and the state department over qatar, such apparent disunity is often a deliberate attempt to confuse the target and leave them grasping at straws when for all we know the huge imperial fortress amerika foisted on qatar is currently getting prepared to be the trojan horse designed to destroy the state of qatar.
amerika could be making all sorts of preparations for the base to 'host' tens of thousands of troops from egypt saudi & the uae plus their amerikan puppetmasters advisors.
The ultimate goal of all this very likely has nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood whose leadership right down to street gang bosses has been absolutely destroyed in Egypt over the past two years and apart from Turkey with whom conflict is considered too 'problematic' the MB has been rendered impotent for a decade or so.
That scenario explains why saudi & uae was so easy about giving Sisi upwards of $20 billion when he first ran his undemocratic coup which I am sad to say far too many dingbats around MoA supported.
A much more likely goal is the destruction of Iran's economy by using qatari's share of the South Pars gas field to sabotage the entire reserve putting it out of commission for years.
Does anyone really imagine that the qatari decision to restart South Pars development after a 12 year hiatus is purely serendiptous a coincidence unrelated to the amerikan puppets attack on qatar?

The plan will be to fuck the Iran economy in a different was since europe has refused to join in more sanctions.

It is highly unlikely that the englander government is happy with this latest amerikan project and they have probably been left outta the loop since qatar own big chunks of england and the grubs who run the tory party are seriously entangled in big qatari projects from emirates airline to profiting via 'development' out of the next soccer world cup.
Speaking of that - the amerikan attempt to destroy fifa makes a lot more sense now than back when it seemed to be just about stopping fifa from penalising israel's soccer mob for complicity in the oppression of Palestinian athletes.
That was a bonus sure, but the world cup finals provide a major problem for the qatar hate strategy; which is likely why it has been executed a little prematurely.
Much work will be done to make qatar seem like an unsafe environment for bourgeois sports tourists.
Otherwise if the world cup final works, everyone has a good time, then too many 'joe citizens' may consider their positive experience in qatar if & when it gets the bejeezus bombed outta it. Remeber the qataris allow alcohol even if it is frowned upon. Any visitor to the touristy parts of indonesia knows that tourists' drunken awfulness is normally tolerated and while I don't expect qatar to be quite that lax I have no doubt that if the world cup goes ahead in qatar unimpeded by the wahabi puppets of amerika, most will be pleasantly surprised to discover that many of the shibboleths about islam western media foists upon whitefellas about 'all muslims' is totally untrue, at least in qatar.

Normal assholes who advocate bombing ragheads may decide that qatar doesn't 'deserve' such treatment - after all 'one never knows how the mob will react nowdays does one?"

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jun 24 2017 0:06 utc | 43

b, 'Turkish troops have arrived to protect the sheikdom'

how many? i don't think there are 1000 there yet, are there?

@2 jean, 'I don't get why they joined the KSA bandwagon so eagerly'

money. egypt is structurally insolvent.

@3, xor 'Israeli troops were called in and stationed on Saudi soil'

got a link?

@9 juggs, 'some sort of interest between Russia, Turkey, Qatar, and Iran on a coup in Saudi Arabia'

more likely on the part of the usa and israel, from my pov.

@10 harrylaw

very topical, resonant talk by gaddaffi. thanks.

@42 lysander, 'there is no longer clear leadership of US policy'

i certainly agree there ... financiers, fusiliers, fossil-fuelers, all at odds.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 24 2017 0:42 utc | 44

William Engdahls views. "In my view this is a deep power struggle between Qatar and Saudi Arabia that has little to do with stated reasons regarding Muslim Brotherhood and Iran. The action to isolate Qatar was clearly instigated during US President Trump’s recent visit in Riyadh where he pushed the unfortunate idea of a Saudi-led “Arab NATO” to oppose Iranian influence in the region.

The Saudi move, clearly instigated by Prince Bin Salman, Minister of Defense, was not about going against terrorism. If it were about terrorism, bin Salman would have to arrest himself and most of his Saudi cabinet as one of the largest financiers of terrorism in the world, and shut all Saudi-financed madrasses around the world, from Pakistan to Bosnia-Herzgovina to Kosovo. Another factor according to informed sources in Holland is that Washington wanted to punish Qatar for seeking natural gas sales with China priced not in US dollars but in Renminbi. That apparently alarmed Washington, as Qatar is the world’s largest LNG exporter and most to Asia.

Moreover, Qatar was acting increasingly independent of the heavy Wahhabite hand of Saudi Arabia and threatening Saudi domination over the Gulf States. Kuwait, Oman, as well as non-Gulf Turkey were coming closer to Qatar and even Pakistan now may think twice about joining a Saudi-led “Arab NATO”. Bin Salman has proven a disaster as a defense strategist, as proven in the Yemen debacle.

As to the future, it appears that Qatar is not about to rollover and surrender in face of Saudi actions. Already Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani is moving to establish closer ties with Iran, with Turkey that might include Turkish military support, and most recently with Russia. Kuwait and Oman are urgently trying to get Saudi to backdown on this, but that is unlikely as behind Saudi Arabia stands the US and promises of tens of billions of dollars in US arms. This foolish US move to use their proxy, in this case Riyadh, to discipline those not “behaving” according to Washington wishes, could well be the turning point, the point of collapse of US remaining influence in the entire Middle East in the next several years."

Posted by: Pft | Jun 24 2017 0:43 utc | 45

Good analysis and some interesting points being raised. For non-Arabic speakers (such as myself) As'ad AbuKhalil's Angry Arab News Service blog offers wry commentary on what Arab leaders and media are saying about geopolitical issues in the region...and sometimes the gulf between what they say in English and Arabic is quite wide. For example when speaking to US/UK media Saudi and GCC commentators and leaders tone down the sectarian rhetoric which is often dialed up to 11 in Arabic press friendly to the Saudi/GCC monarchies. And the sectarian nature of the "rebels" in Syria is also openly acknowledged in some Arabic media but almost always downplayed in the western press. Well worth checking out.

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Jun 24 2017 0:48 utc | 46

@45 pft

This foolish US move to use their proxy, in this case Riyadh, to discipline those not “behaving” according to Washington wishes, could well be the turning point, the point of collapse of US remaining influence in the entire Middle East in the next several years
that's a cheerful thought, isn't it? and israel's hubris as well. hope engdahl's right.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 24 2017 0:48 utc | 47

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 23, 2017 6:42:14 PM | 36

Al Jazeera is BBC.

Muslim Brotherhood is MI6.

Islamic Republic would not have a leg to stand on if it weren't for the irrational behavior of US. It is also the original "takfiri" government. (Proof: As a Shia Muslim go to Iran and reject "Jurisprudence" of Clerics. Sometimes they translate this as "Guardianship". Actually "Velayat" is precisely and exactly Arabic for the role of a messianic Khalif, such as David or your know a designated son of Imam Ali. As the saying goes "Ali Vali Allah". Observe what happens to you. QED.)

Russia has a BIS central bank. Russia is also insisting on being a superpower. They are yet another "exceptional" nation. God's very own instrument for salvation. Didn't you know?

Turkey. Why bother.

"Saudi" Arabia. These cretin actually removed the pillars representing "the enemy of mankind" -- they were obelisks, go figure -- and replaced them with vaginal graft with a wall penetrating it from below. The Hajjis now go and stone that apparently. You can not make this shit up. It's real.

Speaking of "enemy of Mankind" and obelisks, then we have the animated corpse of the once promising "Western" civilization and its current stewards the beasties who are so vile some actually suspect they are reptiles. That how vile they are.

Oh well. Who to root for here.

Posted by: nobody | Jun 24 2017 0:54 utc | 48

Jean : The explanation is Grase. Grease consisting of 100 dolars bills in copious amouts, to all sort of Generals in Egipt and elsewhere, from the Comoany in Langley, Virginia secret funds.

Posted by: opereta | Jun 24 2017 1:04 utc | 49

Offer to be refused. Yes.

But can Qatar refuse without Iran's help?

Saudis can then paint Iran as "aggressor"? Promoting Qatari defiance and breakaway from the Sunni fold.

Rising tensions then provide excuse for military re-positioning.

This is a possible scenario that I describe here: Saudi-Qatar: Gambit du Roi (King's Gambit)

PS That Saudi-Qatar-US-Israel might collude will strike some as crazy conspiracy theory, while others will see it as plausible (they have already colluded to support anti-Assad jihadis). But Qatar's being a part of the conspiracy (if there is one) isn't strictly really necessary.

What is necessary is to secure Gulf shipping before getting tough with Iran. Israel wanted to oust Hezbollah prior to anti-Iranian actions. That hasn't happened. Now if Saudis/GCC would take the lead in anti-Iranian actions, it would be logical that they would want to secure the Straits of Hormuz.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 24 2017 1:21 utc | 50

karlof1 raises the issue of an english translation of Nasrallah's latest Al Quds day speech. I have been long irritated and perplexed why it is that Nasrallah's great and important speeches are frequently almost impossible to find in English, sometimes never. Press TV, frequently runs them, with the excellent voice-over translation of Ali Risq, but they are never to be found afterwards on Press's site. Someone needs to remedy this haphazard and unfortunate omission. Hello Press, Al Manar...?

Posted by: John Gilberts | Jun 24 2017 1:58 utc | 51

Jen@31 writes about the legendary Qatari pipeline. That story made its appearance early in the conflict, and if anybody knows its origin, I would be keen to be let know.
That story goes that Assad would not let Qatar have its pipeline because, presumably, Russians wanted to retain their stranglehold on European gas supplies. The subtext is that those Russians must be very hard task masters and Assad, the lowliest of low lives, a terrified thug. And when the troubles started, Assad did not go back to the Qataris to discuss the matter over.
Sorry, I cannot square that.
A pipeline through Syria would have been a great boost to national economy for a number of years & could raise a port of the country to one of global importance, just at a time that Turkey started turning the spigot of Euphrates off (this is a sense I have, do not know if it is right) & a protracted drought and economic hardship all hit the country at the same time. Consider that Qatar would have been a captive ally for Syria, a commodity rather in short supply for that country. The best part of it is, perhaps, that Syria presumably had a natural aversion to the transit fees.
There is another interesting story in this regard, which is to do with (at least) three rounds of exploration for gas in Saudi Arabia, all failed, and the special need for gas to service its petrochemical industry. If memory serves, the reason is they want to upgrade the heavy crude portion of their production, which has steadily been growing, and which the Saudis might have to sell as bunker oil at great discount, if they fail to find gas.
The story was run in the English papers of the Gulf circa 2012, whereby the Qataris were told in no uncertain terms that their gas 'had to remain in the peninsula' (Arabian subcontinent) for consumption, to serve the oil sector.
Once I chanced on an article on the educational proclivities of the thousands of the Saudi princes. Any guess? Yes, a good portion of them goes in for religious studies! Somehow I do not think they aspire to be lowly priests; but if not, where might they wish to have their sees? What if the other principalities of the Gulf have nobilities with similar outlooks & hopes?
If this is right (honestly, I do not know), it might explain quite a bit about the rivalries of the extremist Moslem clergy, and their activities both within the Moslem world and abroad, why not, even developments in Europe & the States.

Regards, Vec.

Posted by: atVec | Jun 24 2017 2:14 utc | 52

@36 & @31 I think you are both right. The Pipelinistan angle is a major part of this feud. A probable change of heart from Qatar who has seen the light that no regime change will happen in Syria therefore making a Fars --> Iraq --> Syria -> Lebanon LNG pipeline a realistic endeavor is causing panic in KSA/US/IS who are trying to pressure Qatar to back-off from any deals with Iran.. If Turkey is firm on protecting Qatar then the ultimatum will come to pass and be null and void..

Posted by: Lozion | Jun 24 2017 2:24 utc | 53

Saladin2 addresses his ministers

Posted by: ruralito | Jun 24 2017 3:45 utc | 54

Having skimmed Whitaker's summary of the 13-point ultimatum, I'd love to hear Saudi Barbaria's excuse for specifying US definitions in Conditions 1 & 6. If that doesn't smell of Saudi Vassal-ism, I don't know what would. It also makes the State Dept's public expressions of mystification/confusion over the Saudi demands sound either hollow or dishonest.
I suspect that this asinine Qatar non-issue is the best ploy the Yankees could dream up at short notice to draw attention from the fact that the Christian Colonial "Assad must go" plot is collapsing under the weight of its own bullshit, bigly. Zio Jazeera did an on the spot report from Damascus yesterday and Damascans have been led to believe that Syria's troubles are coming to an end.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 24 2017 4:01 utc | 55

Posted by: nobody | Jun 23, 2017 8:54:33 PM | 48

Oh well. Who to root for here.

Well, when in doubt, go for quality.

Posted by: hopehely | Jun 24 2017 4:19 utc | 56

@ Vic
Y'know, when I read a comment such as yours: "~ I don't reckon its got anything to do with a pipeline ~"
I immediately think of that old trope:
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open ones mouth and remove all doubts"
Vic: instead of visiting here to blatantly display your ignorance, how about more usefully spending that typing time to research the topic, hmmm?

The Imperial drive to crush Syria has been in play since the early 1980s, when Assad senior was in power.

Here's a link:

And another

And another

And here's your bonus link, cause I'm feeling the karma burst of sharing

Now, go and do your homework: you may be able to raise your F to a C, for a pass grade, once you've done some actual reading on the topic.

Posted by: Don Bass | Jun 24 2017 5:34 utc | 57

@34 karlof1 @39 harrylaw - thanks guys!

@42 lysander... seems like a neo cons wet dream.. i suspect bozos in the neo con dept. of the usa, egged on by whackjobs from israel... not much else explains it, oh and twitter kings absence, as he is busy domestically or on twitter at the moment, i guess..

Posted by: james | Jun 24 2017 6:33 utc | 58

@ james who shouted out to commenter karlof1 "thanks guys"

I think karlof1 is a woman james and we should be sensitive to that in our writing....I am sure you meant no disrespect.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 24 2017 6:49 utc | 59

In a large part of the english speaking world, 'guys' is a gender neutral term in the plural.

When I read 'thanks guys' I do not picture a group of people with penises being thanked.

Posted by: Køn | Jun 24 2017 7:20 utc | 60

Køn | Jun 24, 2017 3:20:53 AM | 60

Indeed, for at least the last 25 years.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jun 24 2017 7:39 utc | 61

There are so many different opinions here and at other blogs on what caused the Saudi Qatar spat, it seems like a competition to guess how many jellybeans are in a jar.
The result of much confusion or warring factions within within the US Empire?

Posted by: Peter AU | Jun 24 2017 7:49 utc | 62

An interesting take here
You don't see Yemen or Qatar or even Iran lobbying against the 9/11 JASTA law : Only the UAE & Saudi Arabia seem terrified by it. Ask : Why?
The United Arab Emirates suggested it might withdraw intelligence cooperation with the US in an attempt to block legislation allowing families of September 11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia and UAE for compensation.

Leaked emails seen by the Telegraph show how Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE's ambassador to Washington DC, privately warned senators that countries at risk of being sued in US courts would be "less likely to share crucial information and intelligence".

The communications reveal how UAE joined Saudi Arabia's work to lobby against the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (Jasta), with Mr Al Otaiba coordinating his efforts with Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister.
Two of the 19 hijackers who flew planes into the World Trade Center towers in 2001 came from the UAE while 15 others were Saudi.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jun 24 2017 8:17 utc | 63

Posted by: Jean | Jun 23, 2017 1:34:45 PM | 2

Sisi hates the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Jazeera, too. Al Jazeera supported a Muslim Brotherhood color revolution in Egypt. Egypt has imprisoned one of their journalists a long time ago.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 24 2017 9:07 utc | 64

xor @3 jfl @44

This link claims 18 Israeli aircraft, including F16I, F15CD and F16CD, along with two Gulfstream aircraft, two tanker airplanes and two C130 planes, special for electronic warfare.

Given the nature of Zionists, this is not for the benefit of anyone other than Israel. How does Israel benefit? It now has IAF assets close to Iran, ready for the decision to launch a strike. Presumably the intent is to use to confusion of circumstances to give 'plausible deniability' over who attacked - Saudi, US or Israel.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 24 2017 10:27 utc | 65

the spat is about where MB fighters should be transfered after Syria: back home (Egypt, Libya, Tunisa, Kuwait, KSA, UAE, Yemen...) or only to Afghanistan?

Latest! next step, Adam and Eve were Turks

Posted by: Mina | Jun 24 2017 10:37 utc | 66

The Saudis have been laying siege to the largely Shiite city of al Awamiya, preventing people leaving. Like any good Zionist entity, they have created wall around the place to keep the population in, with tanks guarding exits. The ostensible purpose is to fight supposed terrorists hiding in the city.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 24 2017 10:40 utc | 67

BBC weekend special, i quote: "They left behind personal photos and documents which reveal the extraordinary story of their private lives."

Posted by: Mina | Jun 24 2017 10:45 utc | 68

@65 anon

i posted that link myself a couple of days ago, and its the only one i've seen. that's the reason i asked if anyone had seen another. it seems to me now to be most likely an israeli leak, trying to push the saudis further along the path they've already pushed them ... or just cut to the chase and push them over the cliff. i don't think there are any israeli planes in saudi arabia.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 24 2017 11:06 utc | 69

This Pepe Escobar piece has been linked to before on this thread, here is his take on the possibility of Qatar throwing in their lot with Iran.
"Qatar’s quiet pivot towards Iran – the key reason that drove the cornered House of Saud absolutely bonkers – revolves around the common exploitation of the largest gas field in the world, North Dome/South Pars, which they share in the Persian Gulf.

It took a while for Doha to realize that after the “4+1” established facts on the ground a gas pipeline from Qatar to Turkey via Saudi Arabia and Syria for the European market will never happen. Ankara also knows it. But there might eventually be an Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline – even with a possible extension to Turkey — with gas jointly provided by North Dome/South Pars.

That would revolutionize the entire energy equation in Southwest Asia; and a key casualty might be petrodollar hegemony, to which Saudi Arabia and the UAE duly abide.

Imagine Qatar/Iran selling their future Europe-bound gas in euros, not in US dollars, just like the Chinese will adamantly move to pay Qatar – and Saudi Arabia – in yuan for their energy supplies.

Make no mistake; the – inexorable – future spells out trading energy not in petrodollars but in yuan, which is convertible to gold".

Posted by: harrylaw | Jun 24 2017 11:34 utc | 70


That gold trade stuff is interesting.

China has been on track to make the yuan freely usable for quite a while.

plus here
China makes convertability of yuan a priority

China is being fully integrated into the globalized economy.

"Doha" exists by Western powers and was used for Obama's Middle East "brotherhood strategy". Reread his Cairo speech.

Saudi has used Trump as an opportunity to get rid of that. But Trump does not control the US deep state.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 24 2017 11:56 utc | 71

- There was another "Offer to be refused" more recently. And that was the demands that were targeted to Serbia in 1999. (think: Rambouillet, Kosovo war). It was so insulting to Serbia that it had to be and was refused by Serbia. And the rest is history.

Posted by: Willy2 | Jun 24 2017 12:13 utc | 72

- Addition to post #72:

It gave the US & UK (+ NATO) an excuse to start attacking Serbia.

Posted by: Willy2 | Jun 24 2017 12:15 utc | 73

They attacked and bombed Montenegro too, but that is all forgotten and forgiven now.
Who said that spanking does not work.

Posted by: hopehely | Jun 24 2017 13:45 utc | 74
A senior United Arab Emirates (UAE) official said on Saturday that if Qatar did not accept an ultimatum issued by Arab states which imposed a boycott this month on the tiny Gulf Arab nation, "the alternative is not escalation but parting ways".
The 13-point list of demands from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE, which Doha has said are not reasonable or actionable, include closing Al Jazeera television network, curbing ties with Iran, shutting a Turkish base and paying reparations.
"The alternative is not escalation, the alternative is parting of ways, because it is very difficult for us to maintain a collective grouping," UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told reporters.

Posted by: okie farmer | Jun 24 2017 13:54 utc | 75

Contrary to the appearances,I believe that the US is seeking a rapprochement with Iran, despite the noise about sanctions and negative rhetoric.
I think this is all a cover up to give the impression to the rich Arab countries that Iran is the main US enemy.
In fact the US priority has been to weaken the GCC so they stop funding Sunni Islamists in the region. After Obama's debacle, the USA has lost hope that anything good may come from a Sunnis, except their money.
Iran is Shia, it has a semi democratic and progressive political system and it has rich and stable institutions. Contrary to the Sunnis, there has been no Shia "terrorists" operating in the West. In fact Shias are the enemies of extremist Sunnis. Therefore Iran could be a reliable and huge commercial partner for the USA should it renounce its aggressive stand toward Israel.
It seems that the US first wants the three main supporters of the Sunnis, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to get entangled in conflicts among them that would consume their money and become more enslaved to the USA.
Thus the USA has exploited the stupidity and greed of Turkey, Saudi Arabia in pushing them into expensive quagmires where they have exhausted themselves, Yemen and Syria. Now it is trying to squeeze Qatar.
Once the Sunnis have been tamed to the satisfaction of Iran, the USA may start a strategy to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and lure Iran. That would be the next challenge.
Maybe I attribute too much intelligence to the US foreign strategy in the ME, but more signs indicate that this is the case.

Posted by: virgile | Jun 24 2017 14:00 utc | 76

@76 virgile, 'Maybe I attribute too much intelligence to the US foreign strategy in the ME ...'

yeah. maybe you do :) i can buy the destruction of the pgcc, but not the alliance with iran ... israel will not allow it ... 'the USA may start a strategy to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and lure Iran' ... the usofa has been 'solving' the israeli-palestinian 'conflict' for more than 50 years, and now they and the israelis are almost done ... the usofa has no allure for the iranians. unlike the usofa, the iranians can freely pursue their own interests, and they know that dealing with the usofa as anything other than the great satan that it is is a fool's errand.

Iran, world countries mark Quds Day with rallies

Millions of people have taken to the streets across Iran and other world countries to show their solidarity with the Palestinians and condemn Israel’s decades-long occupation and atrocities.

The rallies are held to mark Quds Day, which falls on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The occasion is a legacy of the late founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini, followed by Muslims in other countries to support the Palestinian struggle against Israel.

In the early hours of Friday, Bahraini people held anti-Israel rallies in different areas to commemorate Quds day.

Elsewhere in eastern Saudi Arabia, people braved a military siege on the Shia town of Awamiyah in the Qatif region and held a rally in solidarity with Palestine.

Anti-Israeli demonstrations were held in many other countries across the world, including Yemen and the occupied Palestinian territories.

Thousands of Yemenis demonstrate in Sanaa on Al-Quds Day

Thousands of protesters gathered in Sanaa, Friday, to mark the annual international Al-Quds Day, to show their solidarity with Palestine.

Protesters marched through the city bearing the flag of Palestine, and holding banners condemning Israel and chanting anti-Zionist slogans.

Palestinians head to al-Aqsa in droves on Quds Day

The final Friday of the Islamic month of Ramadan marks International Quds Day. Palestinians commemorated the occasion by holding Friday prayers at the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem al-Quds. While many couldn’t enter the city due to tight Israeli restrictions, a large number still showed up for the event.

Americans in Washington, D.C. Mark Al-Quds Day

Scores of protesters have gathered in the US Capital to voice their condemnation of Israeli atrocity against Palestinian people. They also voiced support for the Palestinians as they mark the International Quds Day.

Thousands of UK protesters mark Quds Day in London

Scores of protesters have taken to the streets of London to mark International Quds Day in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

al-quds day is an opportunity to show support for palestine and palestinians ... and now, also, to show opposition to the nascent israeli/saudi axis in arabia.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 24 2017 14:22 utc | 77

Who said the Gulfies have no humour?
The demands on Qatar were "leaked" and not supposed to be made public!!

Posted by: Mina | Jun 24 2017 14:42 utc | 78

The Israeli air force and their takfiri terrorist ground forces have made a coordinated attack against SAA ground forces in the Golan Heights.

Israel needs its terrorists to fully consolidate the parts of the Golan it covets, then they will be declared an existential threat to Israel, 'justifying' IDF ground action to remove the threat. Israel gains a resource rich 'security buffer' next to the annexed Golan.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 24 2017 16:24 utc | 79

There are few, if any, indications that the USUKIS NATO UN borg will discontinue its efforts to engage the Yinon Plan by whatever means necessary (via ISIS, Sunni Arab Freedom Fighters, False Flag events, Media Complicity, and etc). Nor will it back way from its clearly stated demand for its world neighbors to be dominated fully in a yoodge spectrum of dominance. This obviously includes upholding the petro-dollar and predatory capitalism.

Looks doubtful that the borg can succeed as the RU China ME alliances in opposition are making significant progress.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Jun 24 2017 16:30 utc | 80

@70 harrylaw & 71 somebody

China has all along been a part of the globalized community. What she plans for now is to take her rightful place as economic world leader. This is undoubtedly the Chinese century, just as the last century was undoubtedly the American Century, so called. The US cannot let go of that old century even though all the winds and tides of history are against it. Order will come. The US will retire to its sunset place and regather itself. Eurasia will be the world culture in this century. In my view.

It's not really off-topic to discuss this, I think, because Qatar has become a clearing house for the Yuan now, as mentioned in a comment above, and there will be many spats and frictions as the US Dollar loses some of its value and gives way to other currencies. Just look what they did to Iraq and Libya for trying to bypass the Dollar. This time it's China, and history, which no force can withstand, but little players can easily get caught in the cross-currents.

So I think not only pipelines but currencies also are the prime elements of realpolitik now. And since those hydrocarbons have to be priced in some unit of currency, they are intimately connected.

Useful links you both supply. We could add some more for curious readers. The global policy of the world's banks and nations is to convert from the US Dollar to the IMF Special Drawing Right (SDR) as the global reserve currency. A commenter somewhere was kind enough to give me this link recently, I'd like to pass it along: The Financial New World Order - by Andrew G. Marshall [2009] - not everyone trusts Voltairenet but I think this article stands on its own feet.

And then it's useful to see how China in her own private thinking regards the US strategic use of its Dollar: America’s financial war strategy - Alasdair Macleod, and especially the source document from the Chinese general and analyst Qiao Liang: PLA Strategist: The U.S. Uses Its Dollar to Dominate the World

For what it's worth Jim Rickards has said that with the rise of the SDR (the basket of currencies of which the Yuan is an increasingly important member), something like a 100 trillion dollars worth of additional liquidity can enter the global economy, soaking up a lot of central banking sins. In this regard, I personally don't see such a thing as a "crash" of the US or its Dollar, simply a gradual changing of the guard. But as stated, in that transition, the US will resist its replacement, and small players will need to be nimble and perhaps simply lucky not to get crushed in the wheels.

I think Qatar's positioning right now may turn out to be a text-book illustration of a small - but by no means powerless - player trying to chart its future survival within this global situation. Qatar is all about money and hydrocarbons - it would be strange if she didn't understand these forces at work in the world.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 24 2017 16:52 utc | 81

jfl @69

It may well be a false story. Similar reports were made in Israeli media, based on Iranian souces, in 2010 and 2012. These led to nothing were clearly rumors. The silence of Israeli media this time is intriguing. One other variation is that this report, unlike the earlier ones, mentions specific aircraft types and numbers.

If the aircraft are there, they would be visible on current high resolution satellite imagery.

The current actions regarding the ultimatum to Qatar have a reliable historic trajectory. If that outcome is the desired end result for these psychos, I can't imagine Israel passing over the opportunity to use the chaos for its own ends.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 24 2017 17:01 utc | 82

Trump’s vision which was spelled out during the campaign: an end to islamic terrorism, thus détente with Russia who is fighting same, plus support for Isr. Imho, somehow this all cristallized into “against the Muslim Brotherhood.” (See DT’s speech in KSA. And that is why he first tweeted his approval of the crack-down on Qatar, cos MB.)

The MB was declared a ‘terrorist organisation’ by Russia (2003), Syria and Egypt (2013), KSA, Bahrein, UAE (2014.) Ted Cruz (USA) tried to effect same and failed, though I didn’t really follow that (?) The opposition was Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Clinton machine, (Dems - muslims are cute bunnies), various Muslim ‘inclusive’ orgs etc. McCain was/is pro-MB?, the cut is not uniquely along pol. partisan lines. The tribes need to be better defined. A gingerly neo-con-neo lib marriage. France is also split on this matter, but in another way, with Socialists, or what used to be the Socialists, against the MB (…go figure… >see Laguerre at 14.)

The raprochement between Isr. and KSA which will soon become official -it will be strong- (I believe they have been meeting in secret for at least a year) hinges on this point as well. (Many of these changes pre-date Trump, or rather stem from similar causes that saw Trump elected.)

All this gets very complicated, cracks and fissures and new alliances, new compositions, but as b writes “but there is also danger in such a fight.”

Imho, though, this major Gulfies acrimonious upset will be absorbed and resolved…soonish. Momo - Mohamed bin Salman is kind of a stupid crazy fool, and also the type who does not see things through, it is busy work for show etc. His rise to power is a prototypcial symptom of a ‘failed state/régime.’ And Qatar knows where its red line is.

In fact the US priority has been to weaken the GCC so they stop funding Sunni Islamists in the region. - virgile at 76 post is sorta along this line as well.

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 24 2017 17:44 utc | 83

@ #68

Indeed Mina! I was going to past the very same link, the key part being:

...But he takes pride in his work. He notes practice runs in converting coordinates from Google Maps to actual targeting coordinates. He draws compass degrees as well as the curved graph course of mortar rounds.

Importantly, in the munitions section and in his own handwriting, he lists “chemical munitions” as a weapon..

Burying the lede indeed!

There’s been much debate over whether IS has used chemical weapons in Mosul. Here at least, we know they are trained and prepared to use them.

Posted by: et Al | Jun 24 2017 18:13 utc | 84

The Saudi spat wider than just Qatar?
Washington (CNN)The top Republican and Democrat on the Senate armed services committee are asking Defense Secretary James Mattis to investigate accusations of torture at prisons in Yemen run by United Arab Emirates forces where US forces were also interrogating prisoners.

Saudi puppet Hadi...
DUBAI(Reuters) - President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's government said on Saturday it was investigating reports that forces backed by the United Arab Emirates were running secret prisons in southern Yemen where detainees are subjected to torture and abuse.

@ Grieved 81
The world moving to Special Drawing Rights and trade in national currencies ... is what we are seeing now US in confusion on how to tackle it/acting in desperation?
Re Russia China letting the US down softly - I think this can only happen if the US itself recognises the inevitable and also takes actions to soften the blow. At the moment, it looks as though the US will fight the inevitable until at some point it must crash.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jun 24 2017 18:50 utc | 85

@81 grieved quote "So I think not only pipelines but currencies also are the prime elements of realpolitik now. And since those hydrocarbons have to be priced in some unit of currency, they are intimately connected." absolutely... a small group of us here at moa have been yammering on about this for some time.. it is a BIG deal.. i could definitely explain some of the dynamics going on with regard to qatar and etc... it also explains much more too.. folks who discount the importance of oil being denominated in us$ and etc. etc. are missing a key part of what is going on here as i see it..

@85 peter au.. last line - that might still be a long ways off and a couple of world wars later..

Posted by: james | Jun 24 2017 18:59 utc | 86

i - it...

Posted by: james | Jun 24 2017 19:00 utc | 87

@ james
A decade? The way the world and China's economy is moving and considering world wars now only take about thirty minutes or so...

Posted by: Peter AU | Jun 24 2017 19:04 utc | 88

Posted by: Peter AU | Jun 24, 2017 2:50:53 PM | 85

UAE and Saudi are supporting different groups in Yemen. Seems UAE via Egypt/Dahlan has picked up the Hamas Gaza tap.

Gulf is complex.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 24 2017 19:23 utc | 89

et Al
and instead of calling it "IS bursting number by recruiting child soldiers" they had to put one of their "wanna be a hero" picture and a glamour title

Posted by: Mina | Jun 24 2017 19:27 utc | 90

Virgil 76
Perhaps you are right about the overall - that there is an overall strategy - to the U S in the M E .
Both Israel and Diego Garcia are eastern and western goal posts essentially set up by the U S to control the flow of forces in key geo-strategic areas . The Europeans and Americans have needed CHEAP oil that they can control for their material prosperity over the last century.
As younger , better educated groups emerged in these hydrocarbon rich locales the 'west' was always going to divide and conquer and seek to destroy them . In such an equation of forces China is and will be crucial .
She has her long term interests as also the Americans and from this perspective there are real possibilities for an explicit clash between them .

Posted by: ashley albanese | Jun 24 2017 19:37 utc | 91

KSA. Public, eng. version of the 2017 budget: PDF

The national transformation program. eng, PDF (the famed 2030 vision.)

Foundations. Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Philanthropic Foundation “MiSK” is a non-profit foundation devoted to cultivating learning and leadership in youth for the Saudi Arabia of tomorrow.

The handicapped. An overview of the Prince Salman Center for Disability Research scientific outcomes

Sports. New Saudi initiative for giant entertainment and sports city welcomed

ok enough....

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 24 2017 20:12 utc | 92

Peter AU 63
I was thinking about this yesterday with the accusations of terrorist support. It was Richard Clarke who alerted UAE that we knew they were visiting bin Laden in Afghanistan for their hunts. And in 2007, it was known that Rudy Giuliani's firm did work for Qatar (alleged to have protected KSM). Strange but not surprising bedfellows. These Gulf State leaders (to adapt a Teddy Roosevelt saying) speak softly but carry big PR/Legal firms.

Posted by: Curtis | Jun 24 2017 22:01 utc | 93

Erdogan slams Saudi ultimatum to Qatar, against international law

“We welcome (Qatar’s position) because we consider the 13-point list against international law,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu news agency.

“What we are talking about here is an attack on the sovereign rights of a state,” Erdogan further elaborated.

“There cannot be such an attack on countries’ sovereignty rights in international law,” he added.

erdogan seems down with qatar, eh? i'm sure he's made a big deposit to his bank account ... and will keep talking trash as long as the money keeps flowing.

Erdogan: Saudi-led group's demands 'unlawful intervention'

Erdogan dismissed calls for Turkey to close the military base in Qatar, calling it a "disrespect" to his country.

Turkey has sent two contingents of troops with columns of armored vehicles to Qatar since the crisis erupted on June 5, with Defense Minister Fikri Isik saying further reinforcements would be beneficial.

According to Hurriyet newspaper, the two countries will hold a joint exercise following the Eid al-Fitr holiday which started on Sunday.

The report said the number of Turkish troops sent to Qatar could eventually reach 1,000, with an air force contingent also envisaged.

turkey's intervention on behalf of qatar is both lawful and ineffectual. cosmetic, not unlike the flammable 'cladding' on the council towers in london.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 25 2017 12:27 utc | 94

Just imagine if there is an assassination or an attempt at the life of a Saudi Crown Prince, one that would be blamed on could be June 1914 all over again...a system of alliances dragging world into war that nobody claims they really wanted but all were preparing for.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jun 25 2017 12:53 utc | 95

Does a country with 300,000 citizens, occupied by foreign trops, amnd totally dependent on the goodwill of the country from which those troops come for its well-being have a foreign policy or does it pretty much do as it's told? Is it reasonable to think that, if the Saudi charge of Qatar financing terrorist groups and those groups inculde the Islamic State, we would sit idly by while our planes take off wihtin sight of the Emir's palace to bomb the very peoole Qatar is supporting? We've effected regime change in country's much larger (Libya, Panama, Serbia, and one slightly smaller, Grenada) for much lesser sins. Why not Qatar? Could it be we have no complaint with Qatar financing IS; that in doing so it is acting as a proxy? An emir, a flag, a national airline, even untold wealth does not a sovereign country make.

Posted by: Ken Meyercord | Jun 28 2017 12:47 utc | 96

@95 rb

i think it would have to be a failed attempt to spur retaliation ... my bet is that everyone else in ksa would sigh in relief if it were successful.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 28 2017 12:57 utc | 97

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