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<nettime> Roland Francis: Quatar - the Drama
Patrice Riemens on Tue, 4 Jul 2017 19:28:34 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Roland Francis: Quatar - the Drama

Date: Tue, 4 Jul 2017 12:26:40 -0400
From: Roland Francis <roland.francis {AT} gmail.com>
(bwo Goanet)

There's more to the Qatar problem than what is splurged in the media.

Here's the cast:

The GCC: A grouping of 6 Gulf countries (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and the UAE) that was intended as a local cooperative and to show they were all brothers. With the current hostilities, the group is being rent apart

Saudi Arabia: The elephant in the room with a King (who once changed his title to the Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques) and about 3,000 princes, major and minor. America's best ally after Israel in the Middle East no matter how much financing goes to terrorism and the propagation of Wahhabism (a destructive and strict form of Islam) privately. Afraid to the core of the Royal family being overthrown and thinks the solution is strict repression.

Qatar: a country that has completely changed in the past two decades and sitting on not only oil reserves, but more importantly the world's second largest deposit of natural gas. Much to SA's chagrin, they want to bring about a more equitable Arab world by financially supporting people's movements like Hamas, Hezbollah, the Governments of the post Arab Spring. Though they themselves are a form of benevolent monarchy, they are not fearful of being overthrown.

Qatari Tribalism: the Al-Thani rulers have effectively consolidated their power from the time of the current Emirs grandfather and after the marriage of an Emir with a daughter of the Al-Misnaads, a powerful tribe. Other powerful tribes like the Al-Attiyahs and the Al-Kuwaris have been won over with sharing some power and a lot of money.

Sheikha Moaza bint Nasser Al Misnaad al-Thani : second wife of the former Emir and mother of the current ruler is an educated and enlightened woman. She comes from the most important Qatari tribe after the ruling Al-Thanis and she has the complete confidence of her husband and persuaded him to abdicate in favour of her son. She has the authority over an unlimited purse and used it to start the Qatar Foundation. The Foundation has collaborated with US Ivy League colleges, getting them to open Qatar campuses. The result is highly educated Qatari youth and the high level of women liberated through education.

Yousef Al-Qaradawi: a radical Islamic preacher of non-Qatari origin a graduate of the revered Cairo Al-Azhar University, residing and preaching in Qatar for many years. Has a terrorist following and sympathy with many rich Qataris.

Al-Jazeera: a media empire founded and sponsored by Qatars royal family. The English edition is staffed by leading British and foreign journalists giving a fresh balanced and in depth view of Arab matters hardly expected from western media. Apparent it is the Arabic edition which is strident, calls a spade a spade and is a thorn in the side of other Gulf governments and undemocratic anti people Arab countries.

Iran: A thorn in the side of the Gulf countries who see it as an enemy. Iran is Shia, the Gulf countries are all Sunni but they have influential Iranian ethnicity businessmen and merchants who are citizens but have historical connections to Iran. Not all the ex-Iranians are merchants. The whole of SA's eastern provinces which contains all of the countries oil, for example, have a sizeable Shia population.

The US: Under Trump, the whole regional balance and calm has been upset. Although they have a huge airforce base in Udeid, Qatar having shifted one of their Commands from Florida during the Gulf War, Trump sees fit to name Qatar as a villain using terrorism financing as an excuse but in reality targeting Qatar's increasing friendliness with Iran whom he sees as one of America's great foes (needlessly in my opinion).

The UK: Being a historical colonial power of the region, this country still has tremendous influence over the Gulf countries except Saudi Arabia which was from its early years pro-American and did not have the British colonial experience. Although the Gulf countries send their youth for further studies to the US, the lesser achievers go to the UK. Also the Arabs prefer the UK as a home for their investments. Almost all the ruling elite have graduated from the Sandhurst military academy and thus have a military bias for that country.

Turkey: Under Erdogan, Turkey dreams of pushing their influence back to that region. Remember the Ottoman Empire until WW1 was the ruling power in Saudi Arabia. However the Arabs have no regards for their brother Muslims the Turks and would rather deal with India due to historical ties, its nearness, its non communist structure (which ruled out China) and its rising world status, offering an investment alternative to the US.

Pakistan: The country is being wooed by the Saudis to take their side, but so far has remained neutral, a wise decision probably prompted by big brother the US. Pakistani workers and expatriates form a large part of the Gulf workforce and their armed forces brought from Pakistan on deputation. If they decide to take sides they will be a major factor.

Perhaps in a future post, I will put together the cast that comes together to play out the current crisis that is occurring.

These views represent my own opinion and no body else's.

Roland Francis
<roland.francis {AT} gmail.com>
We get old too fast, wise too late.
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