In a climate of outright confrontation, even the Gulf monarchies have been overtaken by a series of unprecedented events. The differences between Qatar on one side, and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on the other, have escalated into a full-blown diplomatic crisis with outcomes difficult to foresee.
Officially, everything started with statements made by Qatari emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani that appeared on the Qatar News Agency (QNA) on May 23, 2017. A few hours before the conference between the 50 Arab countries and the US President, Al Thani was reported to have said the same words that appeared on QNA. The speech was very indulgent towards Iran and described the idea of an «Arab NATO» as unnecessary. The exact words are not known because the event in which Al Thani had made such incendiary remarks concerned military matters and was thus not accessible to the general public. Especially to be noted is that QNA denies having published words in question and attributed them to a cyber-attack.
The public dissemination of the Emir’s words on QNA promptly provoked an unprecedented diplomatic crisis in the Gulf. Immediately, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Egypt and the Maldives took advantage of the confusion created by Al Thani’s alleged words by enacting a series of extreme measures while accusing Doha of supporting international terrorism (through Hamas, al Qaeda, Iran and Daesh). Qatar’s ambassadors in the countries mentioned were requested to return home within 48 hours, and Qatari citizens were given 14 days to leave Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. At the same time, Riyadh proceeded to close its airspace as well as land and sea borders to Qatar, effectively isolating the peninsula from the rest of the world.
Realistically, what interest would Qatar have had in promulgating the words of Al Thani in order to antagonize Riyadh and Abu Dhabi? Even if the Emir had made such remarks, Doha would certainly not have given them to QNA to publish on its website. If it was not a cyber-attack, it was certainly a miscalculation on Doha’s part or, worse, possibly internal sabotage to damage the Al Thani family.
To explain the dynamics that have officially created this unprecedented situation, it is necessary to sift through the facts in order to discern reality from fiction.
There is no difference between Saudi Arabia and Qatar
The Saudi charge that Qatar supports terrorism is well supported by the facts, Doha having long supported terrorist groups in North Africa and the Middle East, from Libya to Syria through to Egypt and Iraq. The problem is that the one throwing the charge, Saudi Arabia, is as guilty of it as is the accused. Both countries have provided the financial backing for much of the extremism that has been infesting the globe for decades. The Saudi royal family is the ultimate expression of the Wahhabi heresy that historically corresponds to the ideology of al Qaeda. Riyadh’s support for terrorist organizations was complemented by the US neoconservative strategy designed to destabilize Afghanistan in the context of anti-USSR geopolitics, as admitted by the recently deceased Zbigniew Brzezinski.
The rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Qatar has deep roots and affects not only the ideological difference between Wahhabis and the Muslim Brotherhood, but also the increased religious tolerance of Doha as opposed to the ideological intransigence of Riyadh.
Qatar, through the Muslim Brotherhood, has supported the Arab Spring that deposed Mubarak and placed Morsi in charge of Egypt, creating in the process strong tensions with the Saudis. Riyadh supported al Sisi to remedy the situation in Egypt, financing the coup that sent Morsi to jail. In 2014 this prompted a crisis between Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, with Qatar’s ambassadors being expelled from the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Differences were soon patched up by the convergence of interests in destabilizing Syria and Iraq with extremist terrorism funded by both nations together with Turkey’s important contribution.
The Neocon Zionist and Wahhabi plans
What is interesting to note in connection with the Gulf crisis is the change in strategy in recent months by the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Washington’s plan, shared by Tel Aviv and supported by Riyadh, is to pin the blame for sponsoring international terrorism on Tehran and Doha, fingering Qatar as the key financer of Hamas, al Qaeda and Daesh. The reason and purpose behind this are manifold.
The problem of Islamic terrorism has become a subject of focussed attention for European and American citizens because of frequent attacks. Security agencies are incapable of preventing terrorist attacks from the same elements they have for years funded and supported as part of their anti-Iranian and anti-Syrian strategy. The difficulties faced by secret services in halting such attacks (as opposed to rogue secret services who aid terrorist networks a la Operation Gladio) have made people question.