Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 05, 2017

The Saudi-Qatar Spat - Qatar And Iran Are Winning - MbZ, MbS Lose Face

The Saudi/UAE campaign against Qatar quickly turned into a mess. Qatar did not fold as had been expected. There was no plan B. The instigators of the plan have now to fear for their head.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar have all build up and pamper extremists groups fighting in other countries. They supply money, weapons and political and media support to various kinds of murderous Takfiris. Unlike the other three, Qatar not only supported arch-conservative Salafists but also groups aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood. The MB do not accept the primacy of the Arab absolute monarchs. They provide an alternative way of governing by adopting some democratic participation of the people. That makes them an imminent danger to the Saudis and other family dictatorships. The military dictator of Egypt, which joined the Saudis on the issue, had led a coup against the elected MB government of his country.

In the view of the Saudis and the other three Qatar had to be reigned in. While its media arm Al-Jazeerah Arabic promotes the sectarian and anti-Iran positions the Saudis support, it also promotes the Muslim Brotherhood. That needed to be stopped.

On June 5 the four countries launched a boycott and blockade of Qatar. Three weeks later they issued a list of demands to Qatar which could be summed up as "surrender your sovereignty or else ...". The "offer" was designed to be refused. It practically demanded total capitulation while threatening more sanctions and even war.

As MoA predicted on June 7, two days after the spat started, Qatar did not fold. It has hundreds of billions in monetary reserves, international support from its liquefied gas customers and allies, and it secured supplies and support from Turkey and Iran. It simply did not response to the "offer" in time for the ultimatum's end.

The Saudis blinked first. On Sunday the ultimatum was prolonged for two days. Yesterday Qatar responded with its own demands which were, like the "offer", designed to be refused. It also announced that it would increase its liquefied gas exports by a third which threatens to take market share and income away from the Saudis. It reminded the UAE that 80% of its electricity supplies depend on natural gas delivered from Qatar.

Today the Saudis, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain met to discuss further consequences and new measures against Qatar. The Gulf media predicted more sanctions.

But the gang of four decided to do ... nothing:

The foreign ministers of four Arab countries, meeting in Cairo, said they regretted Qatar's "negative" response to their list of demands.
The Saudi foreign minister said further steps would be taken against Qatar at the appropriate time, and would be in line with international law.
The meeting came as the deadline for Qatar to accept the list of demands or face further sanctions expired.

This is a huge embarrassment for the clown princes of the UAE and Saudi Arabia. They, Mohammad bin Zayed and Mohammad bin Salman, are the instigators of the campaign against Qatar. The meeting today had to deliver some penalty against Qatar for not giving in to any demand: some additional significant sanctions , a more intense blockade, some threat of military strikes. But the meeting came up with ... nothing.

The clown princes had shot their wad on the very first day. They could not come up with any new measures that were agreeable. Kuwait and Oman reject to push Qatar out of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the UAE would lose all its international businesses in Dubai should the Qatari gas supplies, and thereby its electricity, shut down. An additional blockade of Qatar is impossible without the agreement of the U.S. Russia and other big states.

Such a huge loss of face will have consequences. When the Saudi clown prince launched the war against Yemen he expected, and announced, that Sanaa would fall within days. Two years later Sanaa has not fallen and the Saudis are losing the war. Qatar was expected to fold within days. But it has enough capital and income to sustain the current situation for many years to come. The war against Yemen and the sanctions against Qatar were indirectly aimed against Iran- the Saudis' cpsen arch-enemy. But without investing even a dime Iran is now the winner from both conflicts. MbS, the Saudi clown prince, has twice proven to be a terrible strategist who endangers his country.

The Saudi King Salman and his son said that neither of them will take part in the upcoming G-20 meeting in Hamburg. Rumors have it that they fear an imminent coup should one of them leave the country.

No one should be surprised if the Salman era finds a bloody end within the next week or month.

Posted by b on July 5, 2017 at 18:40 UTC | Permalink


Unless the Saudis can reconfigure their economy and train their populous to do actual work, their kingdom will sink into the sands and die by 2100. Qatar may avoid that fate as it's been more forward looking and pragmatic. But I think the biggest Dunce in this affair is Trump and his team.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 5 2017 19:06 utc | 1

The US Regime is currently:

* Actively supporting its terrorist proxies in Syria

* Playing chicken with China in the South China Sea

* Getting closer and closer to war with a new nuclear power, North Korea

* The never ending Afghanistan fiasco

Can the Saudi dictatorship be dumb enough to think the US Regime is ready or even capable of coming to the aid of a coup? One would think the US Regime would be desperate to quickly stage a coup just to get these clowns out of power and someone reliable as dictator of Saudi Arabia so they can get back to the myriad other wars they are waging or on the verge of waging.

Posted by: R Winner | Jul 5 2017 19:12 utc | 2

@karlof1 #1

"the biggest Dunce in this affair is Trump and his team"

I think it is safe to assume Trump had no clue there was a large US military base in Qatar. Or the details of Turkey and Pakistan's relationships with Qatar. Or that Qatar is responsible for 80 percent of the natural gas used for power in the UAE. And most likely every other detail of this showdown during his visit to the Saudi Regime.

Posted by: R Winner | Jul 5 2017 19:17 utc | 3

nice touch calling them "clown" princes. I hope the non native English speakers get it.

still I wonder what the end game is, can the Sauds really be that stupid? are they reading their own press releases too? I thought that echo chambers did not affect heads of state.

I am keeping my cupboard stocked with plenty of popcorn. I doubt the show is over just yet

Posted by: dan of steele | Jul 5 2017 19:38 utc | 4

Do you think the Americans are telling the Saudis to end their support for terrorism and the Saudis are just ignoring that to engaging in futile, internecine conflict?

If true, I would think that the US is misguiding or angling for an opportunity to over-throw Saudi rulers (as has been mooted at MoA several times).

But I read an plausible analysis (linked at MoA, I think) that speculated on MbS recognition for Israel - reasoning that that is why US supported his elevation to crown prince.

In that case, I would think that US would want to guide KSA to better outcomes.

Seems suspicious for this to occur just before the G-20.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Putin-Trump at G-20: Birth of Sunnistan?


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 5 2017 19:51 utc | 5

The clownprince can only recognize israel if theres no opponent voice in the arab world, qatar wont give in but neither will Israel with their big plans. So the prince and his buddy the presidents son in law got himself in another mess just to be the next king, but people died for less, and i dont underestimate the militairy, financial and mediapower of this new alliance.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jul 5 2017 20:02 utc | 6

Seeing the Saudis walk out of this dispute with a big black eye is good news. However, I find it difficult in the extreme to root for the MB. They are the ones who had strong organizations in Homs and Aleppo at the beginning of the Syrian "Arab Spring" and pushed the conflict into military violence. And didn't Morsi call for Egyptian volunteers to go to Syria to fight against the Assad government? That was three days before Sisi orchestrated the coup to remove Morsi. I think that was a good move as much as anyone would detest military dictatorship over a democratically elected government.

This current conflict is producing some strange alliances but I would be very hesitant to support the MB in any case. I can see why Iran will enter an alliance of convenience with Qatar but that is for the iranians to work out, not for us to cheer on.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jul 5 2017 20:06 utc | 7


I think it is safe to assume Trump had no clue there was a large US military base in Qatar.

Well that should not be a problem, as long as his adviser knows that...that's what advisers are for after all. His adviser is IIRC general McMaster.
Therefore, is it safe to assume that Mr General had no clue about it, or that Trump did not seek his advice?

Posted by: hopehely | Jul 5 2017 20:09 utc | 8

i've been hoping for anything to take the saud family down...either a few notches or all the way. they seem headed down that path for all the reasons you mentioned here and others (e.g. being BFFs with israel is short sighted, arrogant and beyond stupid in that part of the world).

i've also wondered if the - artificial due to saudi overproduction - low price of oil will backfire...usually the only reason major events and disruptions don't occur in the "middle east" is fear of a spike in oil and gas prices. at this point even saudi "allies" would like to see that happen (and it would have the hilarious unintended effect of boosting russia to "screw your little sanctions" levels).

we'll see. it's hard to predict what will happen in a family with 100,000,000 members and a collective ingrained mental illness on the level of wahhabism.

Posted by: the pair | Jul 5 2017 20:09 utc | 9

re 1

"Unless the Saudis can reconfigure their economy and train their populous to do actual work, their kingdom will sink into the sands and die by 2100. "

This is impossible. There are no other resources, and the loyalty of the people is very stretched, as b indicates.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 5 2017 20:32 utc | 10

- But the coupe is likely to come from the ruling clan inside the Saudi "government".
- Who will guarantee that the Moslim brotherhood who have been supported by Qatar will not turn on the government in Doha ?

Posted by: Willy2 | Jul 5 2017 20:35 utc | 11

- I would use different words: The Saudis are NOT winning the war. A victory is not insight. Even after a war that lasted for 2 (??) years. Indeed, highly embarrasing for the new "king" Salman and his minister of "defense".

Posted by: Willy2 | Jul 5 2017 20:38 utc | 12

Posted by: hopehely | Jul 5, 2017 4:09:01 PM | 8

Presumably the adviser was Jared Kushner and he had no clue about it or did not care.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 5 2017 20:48 utc | 13

- Also think of the embarrasment of the people in the US who have supported the saudis. Think: Jared Kushner & Steve Bannon (??).
- There's talk that the generals in the Pentagon "don't like" a new "intervention" in the Middle East.


Posted by: Willy2 | Jul 5 2017 20:51 utc | 14

Just after the venerable Henry Jackson society named the Saudis as the prime sponsor of terrorism. Next stage in stirring a little neocon chaos in the Arab world?

Posted by: Pvp | Jul 5 2017 20:54 utc | 15

Oh my Thanks b for todays good news and LOL;-)

Posted by: jo6pac | Jul 5 2017 21:13 utc | 16


The MB do not accept the primacy of the Arab absolute monarchs. They provide an alternative way of governing by adopting some democratic participation of the people.
Yet their main support come from Qataris Wahhabi-infused Monarchy and a Sultan wannabe?

Wikipedia tells me that MB believes in Jihad and Sharia Law. What a swell bunch of community organizers./sarc

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 5 2017 21:22 utc | 17

By the way, there is a LNG price war between Qatar and the United States.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 5 2017 21:33 utc | 18

'The military dictator of Egypt, which joined the Saudis on the issue, had led a coup against the elected MB government of his '

the reference here is to Morsi , a member of MB who ended diplomatic relations with syria, backed jihadhis flocking TO syria to kill syrians, wanted to send egypts army to invade syria and finally made governmor of Luxor a man who belonged to a party that masacred foreign tourists in 1997.

so did i miss something in Bernies umbrage at Sisi??

Posted by: brian | Jul 5 2017 21:41 utc | 19

Laguerre @10--

Yes, I agree, but that doesn't negate the challenge to the al-Sauds if they wish to continue in control. I see much of what the Sauds have done since 1990 as a huge wastage of wealth and deep indulgence in debauchery displaying absolutely no future foresight. I thought Twilight in the Desert would have jarred them awake, but it didn't as far as I can see.

Other news of import: Press statements by Putin and Xi after their summit, Joint statement by Russia and China on North Korea, and discussion of that statement,

Also, Pepe Escobar gives us insight as to Hong Kong's role in OBOR,

And a very good article on Russia's Far East land giveaway,

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 5 2017 22:05 utc | 20

Trump did a good "coup". Trump pumped Saudi Arabia and the UAE by assuring them of US support whatever they decide to do about stopping the funding of Al Qaeda and ISIS.
Saudi Arabia thought they could get away by making tiny Qatar the scapegoat for the Islamist terrorists in the region and abroad.
They fell in one more trap that the US has been pushing them into: Libya, Syria, Yemen. All ending by weakening further the Sunni kingdom to the point that it may consider a deal with Israel in exchange of US tough measures against Shia Iran.
The US has been backstabbing Saudi Arabia under Obama and under Trump for years and they don't even notice.
Of course Qatar will not yield and the pathetic MBS looks dumber than ever. Yes a coup is needed in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.. The collapse of the GCC is next.

Posted by: virgile | Jul 5 2017 22:08 utc | 21

The Saudis tried to make a public IPO of Aramco a while back. This has fizzled, probably in recognition of the fact that Saudi is almost running on empty. One reason behind the Qatar lunacy by be a wish to take over Qatar's resources to keep Saudi solvent for a while at least.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jul 5 2017 22:14 utc | 22

@ karlof1 who provided the Xi/Putin joint statement link

Thanks for that. The Korea situation is another example of where military might is no longer a viable option but continues to be threatened by the US in this case. The threats around Iran by the Saudi's and other players being indirectly applied to Qatar show how impotent that line of action can be.

The world is at war folks but the sides are still being drawn. It hasn't gone nuclear yet but remains an option according to US spokespeople. I think we will start to see economic war in addition to the proxy wars we have been seeing.

And I will state it again that this is all about ongoing control of global finance and continuation of power by the elite families that "own" our world......I hope that the elite loses and total sovereign finance becomes a reality.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 5 2017 22:25 utc | 23

Redirect perhaps, if I may be so bold: there exists no evidence that the amalgamated USUKIS and its string of subservient allies intend to do anything to eradicate any brand of "rebel" head choppers. They snipe at them around the margins, but they also pay them, arm them, and permit them to do (oil) business and much more.

The new SA Clown Prince is still entitled to all the membership benefits of the U.N. Human Rights Council even as he slaughters civilians in Yemen and publicly chops off the hands and heads of his own citizens.

Posted by: fast freddy | Jul 5 2017 22:30 utc | 24

Doha needs healthy, constructive relationship with Tehran: Qatari FM

Speaking at the Chatham House international affairs think tank in London on Wednesday, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said Qatar and Iran had to live alongside each other, noting that the two countries share a giant gas field.

saudi arabia has 'played into qatari hands' ... that's a joke. but that's more nearly the way it's turned out, isn't it.

i think the whole us 'adventure of the glowing orb' had its roots in israel. the rump may well not have known of the us central command's headquarters in qatar ... but the israelis certainly did. they've just done 'what the us would have done if it were as smart as the israelis'.

flooding the lng market as someone points out above - party-time for asian consumers - ought to shake loose fence-sitters in support of qatar ... and iran.

so who will pick up the pieces in saudi arabia? the us or the israelis? given the constitution of the rump's 'brain trust', i'd guess the israelis.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 5 2017 22:38 utc | 25

I begin to admire your optimism B. My experience is that almost in any case the final outcome is the worst possible. Sometimes it looks brighter in between, but in the end... ist es schlimmer als man denkt.

Posted by: Pnyx | Jul 5 2017 22:43 utc | 26

the elite families "own" our world

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 5, 2017 6:25:49 PM | 23

This is the only analysis that is free from contradictions and coherently explains the geopolitical events of the past 2 to 3 centuries.

Posted by: nobody | Jul 5 2017 22:50 utc | 27

@20 karlof

thanks for the link to the putin / xi speeches in moscow. it's clear that any us attempt - and was there one, even - has gotten nowhere at all. and it is equally clear that russia and china together - both on the way up - dwarf the us - on the way down - completely.

also interesting to contrast say, us-german relations, with russian-chinese.

and it sounds like most things of import have been sorted out before the g20 meeting. we may watch to see what happens there. clearly russia and china are ascendant, jointly pursuing the bri. the us, under israeli / neocon sway for two decades, is still on the road everyone else can see is a cul-de-sac.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 5 2017 23:13 utc | 28

Iran- the Saudis' cpsen arch-enemy

Posted by: mauisurfer | Jul 5 2017 23:25 utc | 29

interview with Chas Freeman last week

Qatar Crisis Could Lead to War: Veteran US Diplomat

if you don't know who Chas is, please wiki
was ambassador to Saudi, was Nixon's interpreter in China,
that's right, he speaks mandarin and arabic
not just knowledgeable, also very funny
remember when AIPAC vetoed his appointment by Obama?

more Chas here:

Posted by: mauisurfer | Jul 5 2017 23:33 utc | 30

@ nobody that wrote about my comment: "This is the only analysis that is free from contradictions and coherently explains the geopolitical events of the past 2 to 3 centuries."

I want to be clear that I am not against any group of people but the "institutions" of finance that they "own and operate" that are, IMO, better "owned and operated" by sovereign governments of nations.

My base argument for taking away their control is that they do not make good risk management decisions for our species or the world we depend on for survival......Fukushima as example.....time will tell if this risk management stupidity leads to our extinction.

And I don't like their God of Mammon.....

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 5 2017 23:36 utc | 31

@20 karlof

thanks, too, for the link to the joint statement on korea ...

Joint statement by the Russian and Chinese foreign ministries on the Korean Peninsula’s problems

The DPRK, by way of a voluntary political decision, announces a moratorium on the testing of nuclear explosive devices and ballistic missile tests, and the United States and the Republic of Korea should, accordingly, refrain from large-scale joint exercises. Simultaneously, the conflicting parties begin talks and assert common principles of their relations, including the non-use of force, the renunciation of aggression, peaceful coexistence and determination to do all they can to denuclearise the Korean Peninsula with a view to promoting a complex resolution of all problems, including the nuclear issue. During the negotiating process, all parties concerned push forward, in a format suitable to them, the creation on the peninsula and in Northeast Asia of a peace and security mechanism and consequently normalise relations between the countries in question.

The Parties urge the international community to support the aforementioned initiative that paves the real way for resolving the Korean Peninsula’s problems.

... the rump government in the us is unlikely to join in ... but south korea might do so despite / because the us refuses to do so. there can be no 'us-south korean joint-exercises' without the participation of south korea. that would be beneficial for all involved. it would make a real dialogue between the 'koreas' possible. it would isolate the usa in northeast asia. it would put the solution of 'a' northeastern asian problem in northeast asian hands. it would hold out the promise to the whole world of a real solution to a real problem, and with it the possibility of a new, rational, order of action worldwide.

i hope president moon is up to the challenge. surely he will be rewarded by the undying gratitude of the korean people, south and north, if he is. and that goes as well for supreme leader kim jong-un.

unlike the rump, putin and xi have shown that leadership can make a difference ... president moon and kim jong-un can do the korean people and the world a favor by following their example.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 5 2017 23:36 utc | 32

@31 psycho, 'I want to be clear that I am not against any group of people but the "institutions" of finance that they "own and operate" that are, IMO, better "owned and operated" by sovereign governments of nations.'

forgive all of us for thinking that you were after 'the elite families that "own" our world'. perhaps you need to change your slogan.

frankly, i think you ought to abandon the 'sloganeering' ... it identifies your 'crusade' with those of the traditional, habitual sloganeers. it offers a sound byte, like 'private finance', and no insight into what you are really proposing, and how your proposals might be implemented ... i mean, there are proposals and paths to their implementation, right?

Posted by: jfl | Jul 6 2017 0:06 utc | 33

ToivoS 7
Egypt. My understanding at the time was 2 reasons for Morsi to be tossed. For one thing he tried to gather more power for the MB and people resumed their protests since they had not bargained for that. And second, Morsi wanted to jump into the war in Syria. Those are surface reasons that made it to MSM but were not emphasized. Since social media (by many outside parties) played a big role, western interests were present (maybe including via Abedin). The anti-MB Egypt joined with the anti-Qatar states in Riyadh. Looking back I wonder if al Sisi's speech against Gulf funders of terrorism targeted Qatar or included the Saudis.

MB/Morsi ran on a plank of moderation but al Sisi attacked and prosecuted them as terrorists. Sadly mucho details of this are lacking in US MSM.

Posted by: Curtis | Jul 6 2017 0:08 utc | 34

@18 somebody

Yes, that's exactly how that Reuters story reads to me too. The prime target is the US. Extraordinarily powerful move by Qatar, using a weapon that it knows and owns completely and in massive scale, and with an understanding of the damage it can do to its enemies. Asymmetrical warfare indeed. Priceless.


I'm really hoping that over the years, as Qatar rubs shoulders with the multi-polar world, it will reform itself to renounce and atone for its former support of terrorism. As I watch its moves in this situation I'm struck with a certain admiration. It would be nice to be able to root for it someday as one of the good guys.

Posted by: Grieved | Jul 6 2017 1:26 utc | 35

I want to be clear that I am not against any group of people but the "institutions" of finance that they "own and operate" that are, IMO, better "owned and operated" by sovereign governments of nations.

My base argument for taking away their control is that they do not make good risk management decisions for our species or the world we depend on for survival......Fukushima as example.....time will tell if this risk management stupidity leads to our extinction.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 5, 2017 7:36:07 PM | 31

We're nearly in full agreement. They have without a doubt demonstrated that they are unfit for the station they have assumed. It is a regrettable fact that the human masses, equally demonstrating their lack of fitness for self governance, require oversight. However these beasties most certainly do not have the right, nor are they qualified, and now, in making war against God they have conclusively shown themselves to be utterly devoid of requisite reason.

They are history.

Posted by: nobody | Jul 6 2017 1:34 utc | 36

Here's last year's NatGas industrial review, so you can determine just how sane Qatar's move is. The link is to a modestly sized pdf file,

The report's loaded with info. Production can certainly be increased, but it's all the other infrastructure that's required for the market to expand, particularly regasification terminals.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 6 2017 2:04 utc | 37

Right on time Russian-made S-300 air defense missile systems assume combat duty in Iran

Posted by: ProPeace | Jul 6 2017 2:51 utc | 38

@17 Jackrabbit

Wikipedia tells me that MB believes in Jihad and Sharia Law. What a swell bunch of community organizers.

Well, they are Islamists after all. The Shariah (the "law" is redundant as it means God's law) and Jihad (righteous struggle) are core tenets of Islam and a practicing Muslim must follow the former and practice the latter (if and when required) or he or she isn't much of a Muslim. What these terms encompass depends on who you ask. Scholars representing the main schools of Islamic jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali for Sunni Muslims and Twelver, Zaidiyyah, and Isma'ili for Shia Muslims) differ in their interpretations of these concepts as do traditionalists and reformers and there is no one size fits all version.

In the west these are extremely loaded terms and anyone who has a quick and easy answer as to what they "mean" likely doesn't know what they are talking about. Thankfully, we have the interwebz and a curious mind will find a wealth of information pertaining to these and other aspects of Islamic jurisprudence.

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Jul 6 2017 4:51 utc | 39

I find it quite humorous jfl that you, who currently comments at MoA more than anyone else, IMO, is telling someone else to get their own blog.

If I understand the gist of your attacks on me I believe you are in the TINA camp when it comes to global finance and yes, I strongly disagree with the TINA position when it comes to private/totally sovereign finance.

And I continue to read here and elsewhere the ignorance about how our world really works and will continue to call that ignorance out when moved to do so.

I would suggest jfl that you resort to the effort that many of have to make here at MoA and find out who the commenter is before reading and skip mine so you won't continue to be offended.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 6 2017 5:19 utc | 40

Erdogan: Saudi list of demands from Qatar not acceptable

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stressed that his country will remain loyal to Qatar and that a list of demands by Saudi Arabia and its allies from the Persian Gulf country are under no circumstances acceptable.

"When it comes to this list of 13 items... it's not acceptable under any circumstances," said Erdogan in an interview with France 24 television on Wednesday.

He added that such demands are the equivalent of “stripping" Qatar of its statehood.

The closing down of a Turkish military base in Qatar is one of the demands on the list. Erdogan stated the he was willing to close the base if Doha requested to do so.

“The Americans are also there, with 9,000 soldiers, and so are the French... Why are the Saudis disturbed by us and not by that? This is unacceptable," he added.

speaking to the french, not to those nasty germans ...

'Why are the Saudis disturbed by us and not by that? This is unacceptable ...'

mentioning the saudis by name ...

the 'loyal' erdogan lumps turkish forces with the us' forces, smells saudi blood in the water?

Posted by: jfl | Jul 6 2017 6:41 utc | 41

thanks b....

i can't believe these folks are so crazy to make unreasonable demands on others like this.. i guess it goes with the role of being clown princes or something. al a kazzam... they are supposed to snap their fingers and everyone does accordingly...

the saudi arabia regime can't die soon enough for my liking... they can take the usa regime down the toilet with them while they are at it too..

Posted by: james | Jul 6 2017 6:50 utc | 42

Non-negotiable, unreasonable demands are often made when war is planned and a pretext is desired.

Posted by: Perimetr | Jul 6 2017 8:07 utc | 43

"Clown Prince" - great description, fantastic.

Posted by: hayder | Jul 6 2017 8:14 utc | 44


b. should not use the word democratic. Neither Islam nor political Islam has a central authority, the only authority is the Koran, which is contradictory in many respects, in that sense the Muslim Brotherhood are as democratic as protestants or evangelicals whose only authority is the bible.

But you are at the mercy of the interpretation of theologians if you are one of the "people of the book" i.e. Jewish or Christian, or worse an "unbeliever". Whilst the early part of the Koran preaches some kind of religious tolerance, the latter part dating from the time of Islam's power struggles condones oppression and annihilation.

Egyptian liberals/left felt threatened by a Muslim Brotherhood power grap so they teamed up with the army. Turkish liberals/left decided against the coup and it costs them dearly in prison terms. The last elections for the referendum were in all likelyhood forged, whether Turkish people will ever again get a clean election is doubtful.

Political Islam is very much a top down affair by the "Supreme Guide" who is elected for life by his equals. So you might vote for Muslim Brotherhood officials, but the official answer to the Supreme Guide, not to you. Same applies for Iran where Khamenei controls who can stand for elections and who cannot.

Theocracy would be the word. Saudi is - still - a monarchy legitimized by theology.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 6 2017 12:50 utc | 45


Sunnis and Shias differ greatly on the leadership. Sunnis have no religious hierarchy and do not look for a religious 'supreme leader'. Historically the king or the Sultan took that role. We see this in all Sunni lead countries. That is the main reason of Sunnis worldwide internal disunity and conflicts as each group decide on his leader. The Shias have always accepted the leadership of a religious man who is from the line of the prophet. Because of the unity behind a religious leader, Koran is constantly re-interpreted in the light of the modern life, while Sunnis consider the Koran as a final law and reject any interpretation as a heresy. In that sense Shias are more democratic as they accept that the country be lead by multiple entities with various authorities , president,parliament, Guardian council and a supreme leader in a complex check and balance system.
Guide: How Iran is ruled

Posted by: virgile | Jul 6 2017 13:18 utc | 46

Hollande and the Fr neocons have been moved to shelves. Nice speakers in this program on the KSA Qatar rivalry

Posted by: Mina | Jul 6 2017 16:08 utc | 47

The Egyptians have a long memory. When the puppet Faruq was put on a throne and considered the Egyptian nationalists as his enemies more than the British, the Muslim Brothers sided with Faruq against the Nationalists.

Posted by: Mina | Jul 6 2017 16:14 utc | 48

Same vein, new guys get invited to radio programs
Cost of getting rid of 1 djihadist for the French army: 1 million dollar per head. Frankish genius.

Posted by: Mina | Jul 6 2017 16:32 utc | 49

Unless the Saudis can reconfigure their economy and train their populous to do actual work, their kingdom will sink ..
karlof1 at 1

This is impossible. Laguerre at 10. > see also response from karlof1 at 20.

The curse of black gold + a rentier economy coupled with an authoritarian repressive State that enslaves the ‘people.’
The two are often soldered: dominating class capts the profits and co-opts slave labor, and pays off citizens with ‘stipends.’
Escaping or changing such a template is imho incredibly difficult or impossible in the case of KSA.

The rentier class, aka Royals and hangers-on is several tens of thousands of ppl, not detailed on wiki.
(Comp. with US not the 1%, but the 20%..) In fact it is one of the problems of such arrangements,
some gang of ‘hangers on’ has to be appeased and maintained, they have quite some power.
Because the ‘authoritarian’ schema deploys in a clear top-down, to down further, a fixed ladder - way,
and once some lower layer is stiffed, objections and obstructions may fly and richochet to the top.
For the system to endure, these HAVE to be appeased.

A power sharing scheme like this also mandates that women are kept from acting in any way.
The easiest and cheapest way to control half the population, plus all children, ask the MB, the Taliban, KSA. (reverses pay cuts)

The crazed moves of the new Prince are vain attempts to escape the self-constructed trap.
Floundering, flailing, about, considering that killing others, war, (e.g. Yemen), engaging in aggro (Qatar) might help
- as that might please the USA, who encourages all aggro and sells arms, etc.

Won’t end well for KSA for sure all Internationals are wondering who will grab what when collapse it is.

Posted by: Noirette | Jul 6 2017 17:48 utc | 50

Big Time loss of face for Saudis as neither MBS or father will attend G-20,

Noirette @50--

Agree with your description, but think there are still ways for the Sauds to escape if they look to past examples of how authoritarians appeased their masses to stay in power--Russia's emancipation of its Serfs and Bismarck's giving Commoners a stake in the system are two that come to mind.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 6 2017 18:29 utc | 51

Posted by: virgile | Jul 6, 2017 9:18:49 AM | 46

My assumption is that "sunnis" and "shias" as in "religion" are independent from "political Islam".

Wilayat al-Faqih was Khomeini's idea and he was connected to the tradition of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood plus a few Iranian ideas.

Indeed, ties between the Brotherhood and Iran predate 1979. Hassan al Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, believed that Sunnis and Shiites should overcome their differences to face their common enemies. So, too, did Ayatollah Khomeini, who openly advocated an alliance between the two main branches of Islam. Al Banna and Khomeini were also linked by a prominent Iranian scholar named Nawab Safawi. Khomeini was close to Safawi and al Banna also embraced the Iranian cleric. As others have written, Safawi introduced Khomeini to the Brotherhood and its political ideology.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 6 2017 19:06 utc | 52

add to 46)

Iranian liberals/the left did not survive the Iranian revolution, at least not in Iran.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 6 2017 19:10 utc | 53

Well karlof idk one can hope, i doubt it though. To veer off, but important imho:

Another aspect that is little taken into account, is that the KSA ‘export’ and funding of terrorism, seen by the West as religious extremist propaganda and action (wahabism..) and/or as furnishing bodies to fight in several proxy wars - mostly against Iran, fulfills a very important function at home.

It props up the clergy - one of the pillars that control the population - giving them a ‘force’ to project, radiate, far, and thus keeping them quiet and on board. More importantly it provides an outlet, paid and sanctioned, for ‘rebels’ who are violently inclined. Rather than contest the powers at home, they can go, and be paid, to fight elsewhere. In the name of Allah (or whatever) and meanwhile their wives and children will not be punished.

In a way, the poor volunteers in the US army are in a similar spot. Outcasts at home, no future, they attain some kind of pay and status, even the possibility of marriage and children, and citizenship, to fight - for the US and ‘against’ various savages, infidels (aka not democratic), tow-heads, terrorists, scoundrels, etc.

Potentially dangerous, explosive, and effective young men are co-opted and paid to ‘fight abroad.’

Posted by: Noirette | Jul 6 2017 19:46 utc | 54

Noirette @54--

Thanks for your reply. I see most of the Saudi populous as victims of an enforced ignorance, as is the fate of far too many people globally, thanks to the Saud's rigorous Indoctrination, Propaganda, and Enforcement Systems. Absolutism is easy to maintain when zero dissent is allowed. Yet, the populous must be appeased lest it revolt because the boot cannot constantly stay pressed to the face.

What I find amusing in my old age is that Russia or China are lest likely to become Police States, while that's the exact direction the Outlaw US Empire and its vassal states are headed as their elite will never willingly cede their power or ill-gotten wealth--it will literally need to be wrested from their cold, dead hands.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 6 2017 20:22 utc | 55

Posted by: somebody | Jul 6, 2017 3:10:21 PM | 53

Iranian liberals/the left did not survive the Iranian revolution, at least not in Iran.

If you're talking about the pro-Western librul "left-wing", yes, it was defeated in Iran.
Bona fide Socialism, not so much.

Posted by: Lea | Jul 6 2017 21:36 utc | 56

Looking at the wording of this, it seems the US or an American advisor is now trying to get the Saudi's out of their own mess.
....Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain released a joint statement carried by the countries' state media saying their initial list of 13 demands was now void and that they would take political, economic and legal steps against Qatar.

The Qatari government sabotaged diplomatic efforts to solve the rift, the four states said, and its refusal affirmed its continuing sabotage of the region's stability and security.

The measures taken by the four states were aimed at the Qatari government but not its people, they said.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jul 6 2017 22:29 utc | 57

"Washington Post's Disgusting Guest List At Hamptons Party"

Posted by: Chauncey Gardiner | Jul 6 2017 23:02 utc | 58

Chauncy Gardiner 58
Birds of a feather. Strange bedfellows. etc.

Posted by: Curtis | Jul 7 2017 0:41 utc | 59

karlof1 @:

Big Time loss of face for Saudis ...
IMO all part of Trump's negotiating for Sunnistan.

See: Putin-Trump at the G-20: The Birth of Sunnistan?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 7 2017 3:03 utc | 60

The seals begin to fail. The monster strains. Good will, the last tether, fraying

Posted by: Amanita Amanita | Jul 7 2017 5:26 utc | 61

I am talking of the Tudeh party for example.

This includes the following fun fact that should clear up any illusions the US are not cooperating with Iran and vice versa when interests meet

In 1983, the U.S. helped bring to the attention of Tehran the threat inherent in the extensive infiltration of the government by the communist Tudeh Party and Soviet or pro-Soviet cadres in the country. Using this information, the Khomeini government took measures, including mass executions, that virtually eliminated the pro-Soviet infrastructure in Iran.

Iran's economy runs on private enterprise, the "socialism" you detect is welfare which has been used against socialism since Bismarck.

This here is the TUC on Iran

Iran has a long tradition of trade unionism which, after the trade union movement played a free osanlooleading role in overthrowing the Shah at the end of the 1970s, was replaced by state-sanctioned trade unions (known as Workers' House) and repressed by the Revolutionary Guard and special courts which operate outside the laws of the Republic.

The TUC supports the rebirth of free and independent trade unionism in Iran, and works in solidarity with the trade unions in sectors like baking, teaching and transport, calling for jailed trade unionists to be freed.

Iran is a developed, industrial economy, but workers often find their wages unpaid for months, and profitable workplaces closed down because of corruption. We oppose military intervention in Iran, and believe that the attempt to demonise Iran only serves to allow the Government to justify the repression of its people in the name of anti-imperialism.

There is no gender equality either,

You can find positive sides in the Iranian system but only by comparing places where things are worse not places where things are better.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 7 2017 8:17 utc | 62


In this context it is interesting how Trump tries to define political Christianity in Poland.

In a speech to cheering crowds in Warsaw on Thursday, Trump described the West’s values in terms of religion and culture and called for the defense of its civilization against radical Islam. It amounted to a manifesto for his foreign-policy vision.

The address included repeated invocations of God, faith, tradition, national sovereignty and family. It made only passing reference to what are usually cited as core Western values: the rule of law, democracy and freedom of speech. Religious tolerance did not get a mention.

“The people of Poland, the people of America, and the people of Europe still cry out ‘We want God,’’’ said Trump. “We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the center of our lives.’

As Trump is unlikely to speek out of conviction on these topics there must be some motive ....

Posted by: somebody | Jul 7 2017 10:37 utc | 63

karloff @ 55, I agree. You write of ‘enforced ignorance’ - yes, but on this point I’m the one who is a tad more optimistic. Imho internal oppo. to the Royals is quite or even very strong - utterly silenced. Many Saudis are very poor and are not presented with any opportunities to change that or their status or their ‘work’ (not) or opportunities for their children. When cracks start to show they will (hopefully) exploit them, heh, critical mass type argument. Of course the Royals know this.

I saw a good doc. on poverty in Riyad some years ago but now could only find a 10 min excerpt (not the best parts)

Gulf news, 2014: “To address the housing shortage and public grumbling, the Red Sea city of Jiddah is a testing ground for a plan that includes getting rid of most of its roughly 50 unplanned settlements, which comprise a third of its built-up area, according to municipality figures. /my ital./ …. In 2011, Saudi blogger Feras Bugnah was detained for several days with his crew for making a video on poverty that showed slum housing in the capital, Riyadh…” (see link above..)

Housing! - as it is a fair indicator of Gvmt. / community / authority etc. efficiency / fairness.

Posted by: Noirette | Jul 7 2017 14:26 utc | 64

It would be congenial to Israel if Qatar were brought to heel.

Therefore, I wouldn't call this one a win for Qatar just yet. Indeed, Israel may find in the whole imbroglio a way to bring about her long-sought war between the US and Iran.

Posted by: Colin Wright | Jul 7 2017 19:49 utc | 65

It's hilarious to watch tiny Qatar telling the Saudis to go pound sand. Qatar has figured out that the coveted pipeline through Syria isn't happening, and that war with Iran would not be in its best interests. Short of intervention or a coup, there isn't much that the Saudis can do to force Qatar to its will.

Posted by: dervish | Jul 9 2017 11:43 utc | 66

to #3.. there is little doubt TRUMP and his RUMPS know, knew, and fully intended to remove the big USA-tax-payer-made-and-paid-for-Global Corporate Gas and Oil Business Monopoly (GCgoBM)-protector-called -the-base-in-QATAR.. The base has long been planted in Qatar to preserve and protect the GCgoBM enjoyed by the traditional holders of such monopolies. but things have changed, and now it would be self-defeating to protect Qatar as Qatar has become a major competitor.
Trump and Rumps created (or allowed) this Arab rift in order to truncate the growing Liquefied Natural Gas[LNG] price-leadership presently enjoyed by Qatar(high-priced, tanker-vs-pipeline transported) USA Sabine Pass LNG cannot compete in Europe against the cheap LNG from Qatar, Iran and Russia. The QATAR thing is about business, LNG business
BRICS, China's rising economic voice, the NORDII pipeline, undersea and overland pipelines that connect Russia to Europe, Germany and China [all challenge tanker delivered LNG want-a-bees], and the growing economic pressure being applied by Iran's internally-generated economic and technical successes are chilling GCgoBMs. The GCgoBM gigi is up, the outrageous oil and gas pricing gig is up, unless QATAR, IRAN, Syria, Iraq and Russia "as suppliers of LNG and traditional gas and oil" can somehow be subdued.. I think reestablishing the GCgoBM may be the job Israel laid out for the Trumps to accomplish? and the "Make America Great Again" is a slogan reflecting that goal?

Posted by: truthsayer2 | Jul 16 2017 12:27 utc | 67

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