This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Disruption in the Arab League

"A lot of it [clash between Saudi Arabia and Qatar] does come down to personality. When the new emir comes in, he really does have a chip on his shoulder."
"From the late 1990s on, Qatari foreign policy is a combination of: 'What can we do to get ourselves on the map'?, and 'What can we do to annoy the Saudis'?"
"From 2011 to 2013 they're [Saudis and Qatar] in open warfare across the region."
Marc Lynch, political scientist, George Washington University

"Just like the presence of other foreign military bases or units in other countries of the region, our military presence in Qatar is principally based on a decision taken by the two countries relying on their sovereign rights."
Huseyin Muftuoglu, spokesman, Turkish foreign ministry
Nations cut ties with Qatar
Doha, Qatar. Still from video: CNN
There's the Arab League in disagreement among themselves again. They met years earlier to discuss what to do with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after booting Syria out and couldn't agree among themselves. Former Libyan strongman Moammar Qaddafi, when he was still around, used to roil those Arab League meetings with sneering contempt. At one time Gamal Abdel Nasser dominated the Arab League when Egypt had pretensions of leading the Arab bloc and their fundamental purpose was the destruction of the State of Israel.

Several years ago when Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was being sought by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Darfur, he was greeted warmly by his peers in the League; perish the thought of handing over another Arab mass murderer to 'Western' interests of justice. More latterly from among its Arab members, Saudi Arabia sought a consensus and support for its military assault in Yemen against the Houthi rebels supported by Iran; a proxy war by an Arab nation against an Aryan theocracy both of which seek the ultimate leadership role of the Middle East.

Qatar, friendly with Iran, and an ongoing thorn in the side of Saudi Arabia, not to mention its Arab nation peers thanks primarily to its 'independent' state news arm, Al Jazeera which has enjoyed pricking the sensitivities of Arab states resentful of criticism is now feeling the heat, being quarantined in essence because of its nuisance meddling and stirring the pot. An Arab Sunni state supporting a non-Arab Shiite state with pretensions of conquest was looking for trouble.

Gulf carriers including Emirates have suspended flights to Qatar for an indefinite period. Arabian Business.com
So accusing it of supporting terrorism was as handy a stick with which to beat it as any. As though Saudi Arabia's Wahhabist madrassas established globally haven't churned out the raw material for jihadists whose specialty is terrorism. But the controversial Muslim Brotherhood with its worldwide tentacles of fundamentalist Islam, now shunned by much of the Arab world (exception: Jordan and Turkey) and Iran's proxy terrorist militia, along with the Brotherhood offshoot Hamas, all supported by Qatar, proved a handy tool to isolate Qatar.

Qatar may be geographically tiny and traditionally a satellite of Saudi Arabia but immense gas wealth has given it the wherewithal to strike out on its own and make waves both within the Middle East and abroad. Since Qatar controls one of the world's largest gas reserves it has an immensely robust economy. And the country's emirs have gone out of their way to become influential interlocutors and aides to Western interests.

During the Arab spring Qatar used its diplomacy, money and weapons in aid of anti-government movements, whether secular or Islamist, to gain authority and influence. Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states were all interested in suppressing the upset of what is for the Middle East the natural order; rule by monarchies, theocracies, oil sheikhs and other tyrants. Turkey and Qatar had an especial bond in supporting one another, alongside the Islamic Republic of Iran with its own powerful plans for self-enhancement and influence.

Enter President Donald J. Trump, who has returned the United States presence in the Middle East as a major arbiter influencing outcomes in intricate historical political situations. The world power that has its own proxy cold war sizzling under the covers with resurgent Russia, installing itself as a friend of Iran and supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the butcher of Syria. Trump's assurances to Sunni Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan and the Gulf States in the wake of the previous administration's move toward Shiite Islam re-installed confidence.

Paving the way for the current contretemps wobbling the Middle East into its traditional insecurity of  disagreements while part of it is being consumed in the flames of self-destruction. This, while Washington maintains its military bases in Qatar and Moscow theirs in Syria. Turkey is playing its usual middleman-role, conveying food and medicines to an embattled and defiant Qatar, isolated and unwilling to submit to the ultimata issued by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan and Bahrain.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani speak, with unidentified Turkish translator at centre, during a meeting in Doha, Qatar (File)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodan and Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani speak with an unidentified Turkish translator (centre) during a meeting in Doha, Qatar (file) AP Photo/ Yasin Bulbul, Presidential Press Service, Pool

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