Saudi-Qatari conflict and Donald Trump

This video from the USA says about itself:

Max Blumenthal – What’s Really Going on In Iran & Qatar?

7 June 2017

Big Picture Interview: Max Blumenthal, Senior Editor-AlterNet‘s Grayzone Project. Iran is blaming Saudi Arabia and by proxy the United States today after ISIS killed 12 people and wounded 42 more in a brazen attack in [the] heart of Tehran. In a statement, Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards drew a direct connection between this morning’s slaughter and Donald Trump’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia – and said that “the fact that the Islamic State [ISIS] has claimed responsibility proves that they [the Saudis] were involved in the brutal attack.” So – were they?

This video from the USA says about itself:

Saudí Soccer Team Refuses Moment Of Silence For London Attack Víctims

11 June 2017

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Trump contradicts Tillerson with line on Doha blockade

Monday 12th June 2017

SAUDI-aligned Arab states that have laid virtual siege to Qatar praised US President Donald Trump at the weekend for supporting them when he told Doha to stop “the funding of terrorism.”

His intervention positioned Washington firmly in the camp of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which severed ties with Qatar last week, accusing the Gulf state of sponsoring terrorism.

President Trump said that Qatar “has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level.

“The time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding — they have to end that funding — and its extremist ideology in terms of funding.”

Mr Trump’s comments contradicted his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who sent a different message from Washington earlier, telling Qatar’s neighbours to ease their blockade and urging “calm and thoughtful dialogue.”

Qatar denies backing extremist groups but is implicated — as are its principal critics — in arming various jihadist outfits fighting to overthrow the Syrian government, including Isis and al-Qaida affiliates.

Turkey, whose government is rooted in the Muslim Brotherhood, which the Qatari monarchy supports, has offered to provide food and medicine to help ease its isolation.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Ankara hoped that the rift between the “Muslim countries” would end “through peaceful dialogue before the religious holiday,” referring to Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, welcoming his Qatari counterpart to Moscow, said that his country would make every effort to help ease the tensions.

This Al Jazeera video from Qatar says about itself:

10 June 2017

Inside Story – Blockade on Qatar is ‘toying’ with people’s lives

Human righhts group Amnesty International has condemned the blockade taken by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain against Qatar, saying the countries are toying with the lives of thousands of Gulf residents as part of their dispute with Qatar.

On Monday, the three Gulf countries ordered Qatari nationals to leave their countries within 14 days.

Their citizens were also given the same time to leave Qatar.

As a result, hundreds of mixed families are facing the grim prospect of being separated from their loved ones.

So, how can human rights be protected in the political crisis?

Presenter: Jane Dutton


Saad Sultan al-Abdulla – Director of the International Co-operation Department at the Qatar National Human Rights Committee.

Sultan Barakat – Director at the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies at the Doha Institute.

James Lynch – Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Global Issues Programme.

By Jordan Shilton:

Gulf crisis could lead to war, says German foreign minister

12 June 2017

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned over the weekend that the Gulf crisis, triggered by the decision by a Saudi-led coalition of Persian Gulf sheikhdoms and Egypt to break off diplomatic ties with Qatar over accusations of funding terrorist organizations, could lead to war.

Referring to the “dramatic harshness” in relations between the Gulf States, Gabriel told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, “There is a danger that this dispute could lead to war.” Noting his involvement in talks over the past week to resolve the situation, including face-to-face meetings with his Saudi and Qatari counterparts and phone calls with the foreign ministers of Iran and Kuwait, Gabriel added that he saw “good chances” for reaching a solution.

Gabriel’s remarks underscore the explosive geopolitical conflicts rapidly emerging over the Gulf crisis. His warning about the threat of war has nothing to do with a German commitment to pacifism, but is in fact part of Berlin’s strategy to extend its imperialist interests in the region at the expense of the United States.

Gabriel spoke less than two days after US President Donald Trump indicated his full backing for Riyadh’s measures, which have included the breaking of all diplomatic ties, the expulsion of all Qatari citizens from the territories of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain within 14 days, the closing of these countries’ airspaces to Qatari aircraft, and the placing of 59 individuals and 12 charities with links to Qatar on a “terror watchlist.”

Trump declared Friday that the moves were “harsh but necessary” and according to a White House official added that Qatar “deserves it.” His comments exposed sharp divisions within the US state over its policy in the Gulf, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging a de-escalation of the crisis only an hour prior to Trump’s comments. Tillerson speaks on behalf of sections of the military, which is concerned that the largest US base in the region, from which the wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are directed, could be under threat due to the isolation of Qatar.

Saudi Arabia felt emboldened to act against Qatar following Trump’s visit to Riyadh three weeks ago, during which he demonized Iran as the main source of terrorism in the region and urged Sunni states to form an alliance to push back Teheran’s influence. The Saudi move also seeks to consolidate Riyadh’s dominance in the Gulf, with its government demanding that Qatar abandon any semblance of an independent foreign policy by dropping its economic and diplomatic engagement with Iran and support for political groups in the region like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Gabriel and the German ruling class are increasingly hostile to this agenda. Earlier last week, the SPD Foreign Minister took a direct shot at Washington, criticizing the “trumpification” of relations between the Gulf States in an interview with Handelsblatt. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who clashed with Trump at last month’s NATO and G7 summits over trade and defense spending in an expression of the deepening rift between the US and European imperialist powers, attacked Washington’s policy in the Gulf by calling Friday for all nations, including Iran and Turkey, to work to resolve the dispute. In a visit to Mexico City, she stated, “We have to see that the political solution of conflicts…such as the situation in Syria, such as the situation in Libya or the situation in Iraq, won’t happen if certain players are no longer even included in the conversation, and that includes Qatar, it includes Turkey, it includes Iran.”

Gabriel and Merkel are determined to defend and expand German access to the Middle East and the broader region, which offer important markets for exports. In 2016, German companies sold goods worth $47 billion to countries in North Africa and the Near and Middle East. Berlin is firmly opposed to the ratcheting up of tensions by the Trump administration with Iran, including threats to abandon the 2015 nuclear deal with Teheran, which the German ruling elite views as a potential area of expansion for its corporations. Given such substantial economic interests and in light of Germany’s drive over recent years to remilitarize and adopt a more aggressive foreign policy, Gabriel’s raising of the prospect of war in the region should not be taken as an idle threat or an exaggeration.

The conflicts between the major imperialist states are exacerbating the tensions between the regional powers involved. Evidently egged on by Trump’s support, the Saudi-led coalition is reportedly drawing up a list of demands Doha must follow if relations are to be reestablished. These include a scaling back of the country’s Al Jazeera media network, which Riyadh and its allies accuse of promoting political opponents like the Muslim Brotherhood, and a commitment from Doha not to finance political organizations deemed to be extremist by Saudi Arabia.

Turkey and Iran are backing Qatar in the dispute. On Sunday, Teheran announced that its 47th naval flotilla, consisting of a destroyer and logistics warship, would make a stop in Oman on its way to patrol the sea route between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Oman, another member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), has like Kuwait not joined the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar and is seeking to mediate the dispute.

Turkey is to send an increased number of military personnel to Qatar and began supplying supermarkets in the country with groceries after panic buying and trade restrictions led to shortages.

The dispute is already having devastating consequences for the region’s population, which is closely connected by family and other ties. Thousands of mixed families living in all of the states involved have been torn apart by the travel bans, with some instances of parents being separated from their children. Amnesty International issued a report criticizing the violation of human rights for thousands of Gulf States residents, including large populations of guest workers from countries like Nepal, India and Pakistan who could end up losing their right to remain in the region.

The authoritarian regimes in the UAE and Bahrain have adopted laws stipulating that anyone who shows “sympathy” for Qatar will face a lengthy prison sentence of up to 15 years.

Chief responsibility for the Gulf crisis lies in Washington. US imperialism’s reckless drive to assert its control over the energy-rich Middle East and sideline all potential rivals has not only escalated tensions with its imperialist competitors, but inflamed regional divisions. Its attempt to mobilize a Sunni axis to marginalize Iran and its regional allies not only threatens to trigger a regional bloodbath and deepen already widespread sectarian violence that has claimed millions of lives, but also to draw in the major powers on opposing sides in a desperate struggle for economic and geostrategic dominance that poses the direct danger of a global conflagration.

Across the Middle East, there are a growing number of flashpoints that could provoke such a clash. In Syria, where around half a million people have been killed as a result of the US-instigated war for regime change in Damascus, the major powers and their proxies are moving to carve up the country. The US has conducted three attacks in as many weeks on pro-government forces in the south of the country under the pretext of enforcing a “deconfliction zone,” which Russia has refused to recognize.

Washington’s goal is to block the establishment by the Assad regime of a land bridge using territory recaptured from ISIS that would stretch from Teheran through Iraq to Syria and Lebanon. To this end, it is arming and training proxy Islamist forces at the al-Tanf base near the Iraqi and Jordanian borders with the aim of establishing control over territory in eastern Syria.

Pro-government troops, backed by Russian air power, struck a blow at Washington’s plan of pushing north to retake ISIS territory from al-Tanf by reaching the Iraqi border Friday in battles with ISIS.

Regional and global powers stand behind all of these forces. Iranian fighters and Russian air power are backing the Syrian government, including by carrying out air strikes close to the US’s unilaterally declared “deconfliction zone.” US Special Forces are being assisted at al-Tanf by British and Norwegian military personnel and will be relying on the so-called international anti-ISIS coalition, which includes all of NATO’s members. The Times described the emerging battle as “even more decisive” with “far more geopolitical import and risk” than that going on in Raqqa.

Saudi-Qatar conflict becomes Saudi-Turkey conflict

This video says about itself:

8 June 2017

The Turkish Parliament has ratified an accord to deploy additional troops to Qatar. The move came a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan voiced support for Qatar and criticized other countries’ moves to isolate it. Turkey has also pledged food and water supplies as fears of shortages have mounted since the closing of land, sea and air access to Qatar.

Already in 2014, the regimes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on one side, and Turkey and Qatar on the other side, started fighting a proxy war in NATO’s brave ‘new’ Libya, each side killing many civilians.

By Halil Celik and Alex Lantier:

Turkey prepares to send troops to Qatar in conflict with Saudi Arabia

9 June 2017

After a coalition of Persian Gulf sheikdoms led by Saudi Arabia presented an ultimatum to Qatar on Monday and blockaded its economy, the Turkish parliament approved two military deals with Qatar, enabling deployments of the Turkish military to Qatar. Turkish forces will also train the Qatari gendarmerie.

As part of an agreement signed between Ankara and Doha in 2015, Ankara is already building a military base in Qatar, where between 500 and 600 Turkish troops are to be stationed. The facility is reportedly able to house up to 3,000 troops.

The bill was brought to the parliament by Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), right after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the Saudi sanctions on Qatar. Speaking at an iftar dinner on Tuesday, June 6, Erdogan said, “I want to say clearly that we disapprove of the sanctions on Qatar.”

The bill passed with 240 votes in favor and 98 against, with support from deputies of the AKP and the fascistic Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

The pro-European Union (EU) Republican People’s Party (CHP) criticised the bill for its “timing,” however. The CHP parliamentary group deputy chairman, Levent Gok, stated that his party was ready to support the government in every way its policies benefit the people. He asked, “Was it, however, really necessary to bring the Qatari deal forward, from the rank number 100 to the first row?”

The Turkish government has given a clear sign that it is siding with Qatar against diplomatic and trade sanctions and the threat of military intervention by five Arab countries: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Yemen.

Really, the Saudi puppet Yemeni government in exile.

They have accused Doha of supporting terrorism and having a “soft” attitude toward Iran. The Gulf sheikdoms had previously recalled their ambassadors from Qatar in 2014, over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

As in 2011, when the Saudi armed forces invaded Bahrain to put down mass protests shortly after revolutionary struggles of the working class in Egypt toppled Hosni Mubarak, Saudi Arabia could [only] if it had tacit support from Washington, ultimately intervene militarily in Qatar. The Turkish decision makes clear that such an intervention could involve Saudi Arabia in a direct military confrontation with Turkey, however.

Turkey’s apparently good relations with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf sheikdoms have badly deteriorated since Washington and the European powers backed a military coup in Egypt that toppled President Mohamed Mursi. Mursi is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is backed by Turkey and Qatar.

The Saudi move against Qatar is an extension of US aggression against Iran, aiming to whip the small sheikdom, which has economic ties to Iran, into line with Trump’s Mideast policy. On Tuesday, Trump wrote on Twitter, “So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!”

During his first foreign trip in May, Trump went to Riyadh and gave Saudi Arabia his full support, accusing Iran of supporting terrorism and adding that Arab states should not let “terrorists find any sanctuary on their soil.”

Following Saudi Arabia’s aggressive move against Qatar, however, US Defense Secretary James Mattis called his Qatari counterpart Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah. Mattis reaffirmed that there was no change in military cooperation between the United States and Qatar, whose Al-Udeid airbase is home to the forward headquarters of US Central Command and some 10,000 American troops. Nonetheless, a conflict has clearly erupted over Persian Gulf policy between Turkey and the Trump administration.

The danger of a major regional war in the Middle East is rapidly growing, amid deep tensions between Washington and the European powers over Trump’s policies, including in Iran, the NATO intervention in Syria, and the Saudi-Qatari dispute. As it moves to check Saudi Arabia, Ankara is relying on at least tacit consent from the European powers.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has already accused the US president of stirring up conflicts in the Middle East and risking a “new spiral in arms sales,” saying that isolating Qatar “is the completely wrong policy and certainly not the policy of Germany.”

It appears that Turkey is coordinating its policy with the newly-elected French president, Emmanuel Macron, who is a close ally of Berlin. Macron called Qatar’s leader, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the day after Saudi Arabia issued its threats and, according to press reports, said that France aimed to maintain stability in the Persian Gulf and speak to all parties involved. Macron also telephoned Erdogan on the same day in order to discuss the crisis in the Persian Gulf.

The European powers have repeatedly come into conflict with Washington as they seek to re-establish trading relations with Iran. France’s energy company Total wants to exploit the massive South Pars natural gas field, the world’s largest, which is shared between Iran and Qatar.

Turkey and Qatar were also reluctant to participate in the last international embargo imposed by Washington on Iran, in 2008, which Turkey repeatedly violated. For now at least, both Turkey and Qatar are opposed to severe sanctions or possible military action against Iran, which would have at a minimum a devastating impact on their own economies.

On Wednesday, the same day that twin attacks targeted the Iranian parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini in Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif visited Ankara to exchange views on the latest developments in the region. “There are concerning developments in the region for us. We need to have a close exchange of ideas with Turkey regarding these incidents,” Zarif told reporters, before meeting with his Turkish counterpart and Erdoğan.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards accused Saudi Arabia and the Trump administration in the terrorist attacks, stating, “This terrorist attack happened only a week after the meeting between the U.S. president and the [Saudi] backward leaders who support terrorists. The fact that Islamic State [ISIS] has claimed responsibility proves that they were involved in the brutal attack.”

On the same day, Reza Nourani, head of the National Union of Iran’s Agricultural Products, stated that Iran was prepared to provide Qatar with whatever food products the Arab country needs. “Considering the outbreak of tension in Qatar’s relations with Arab states, it is possible [for Iran] to satisfy all demands of Qatar for agricultural products,” he said.

According to the Iranian daily Tasnim, negotiations between Iran and Qatar are underway and “a decision on food exports will be finalized by next week.”

See also here.

How Leaked Emails Explain The Qatar Crisis. The United Arab Emirates led the anti-Qatar campaign. Messages from a suave UAE diplomat show how it may have become too confident: here.

Saudi backers of ISIS, Al Qaeda and the Al Nusra Front accuse Qatar of terrorism: here.

Saudi Arabia failed to stand for a minute’s silence for victims of London attack. The national soccer team didn’t follow the directive ahead of World Cup qualifier. Players were seen getting in formation as Australian team stood in a line. Their bench players allegedly also remained seated during the minute. Saudi team officials said they would not be taking part prior to the football match: here.

Opinion: Is the Qatar-Gulf rift a product of President Trump’s brand of Middle East Diplomacy? Here.

Shockingly, Trump aligns the U.S. with ISIS over terror attack in Iran. Terror attacks in Tehran signal the launch of a foolhardy U.S.-Saudi war alliance: here.

Qatar-Saudi gas conflict, Trump and Britain

This video from the USA says about itself:

6 June 2017

Max Blumenthal of Alternet’s Grayzone Project says President Donald Trump’s backing of the Saudi Arabian campaign against Qatar could be the “pilot program” for a wider regional agenda of U.S.-backed Saudi hegemony.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

With friends like these …

Wednesday 7th June 2017

FOR Saudi Arabia to claim that its decision, backed by regional allies Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain,

and Libya. Which one of the various governments killing each other’s fighters and civilians in NATO’s brave ‘new’ Libya? It turns out to be the government of warlord Khalifa Haftar.

to break off relations with Qatar is because of Doha’s support for terrorism is beyond parody.

Qatar does indeed support a variety of jihadist groups across the greater Middle East region just as Riyadh does, but they can’t agree on which to back.

Doha has a soft spot for al-Qaida-linked groups, not least in Syria where it has supplied the Nusra Front, since mutated into the Levant Conquest Front and latterly Hetesh, while its fellow Wahhabi dictatorship in Riyadh opted to back Isis.

The Qatari absolute monarchy has also thrown its weight behind the shadowy Muslim Brotherhood, which has a long record of opposing progressive secular movements in the Arab world.

Palestinian resistance movement Hamas was affiliated to the brotherhood but has broken that link as its headquarters has been transferred from Doha to Gaza.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP outfit emerged from the same stable, as did Mohammed Morsi’s Freedom and Justice Party, which won Egypt’s 2012 general election before being overthrown in a military coup the next year after huge demonstrations demanded Morsi’s removal for imposing an Islamist constitution on the country.

US President Donald Trump appears supportive of the Saudi-led gang-up on Qatar, which hosts around 10,000 US military personnel and the al-Udeid US air base, while its new antagonist Bahrain provides accommodation for the US Fifth Fleet.

This could reflect his recent aggressive rhetoric directed against Iran, which acquires significance after Qatar’s message of congratulations to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on his recent re-election.

Qatar began development in April of the South Pars/North Dome natural gas field — the world’s largest and jointly owned with Iran — just a month after Tehran announced that it would boost production.

Given Riyadh’s status as the leading exporter of crude oil, this indicates a potential market conflict in the arena of hydrocarbons.

Saudi Arabia and its allies declared a total ban on transport links, including transit, with Qatar, effectively driving its fellow Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) member — at least for now — into the arms of Tehran.

Doha will also be forced to ask Iran to step into the breach over food since half of its supplies normally arrive via Saudi Arabia.

While Qatar puts a brave face on its peremptory isolation from the GCC club, neither Riyadh nor Washington will take kindly to its cosying-up to their arch-foe Iran.

Kuwait says it will seek to mediate between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, but it is difficult find common ground between a tiny but extremely wealthy kingdom and its infinitely more powerful neighbour reinforced by the world’s only superpower.

The Iraqi government, to which Riyadh is also hostile, seeing it as a puppet of Tehran, has ordered its border with Saudi Arabia to be beefed up.

Saudi Arabia has already bombed Yemen into a state of ruin, with a cholera epidemic and massive civilian casualties, but it blames Iranian support for the Houthi Shi’ite rebel forces for its inability to subdue them.

Who knows where the mailed fist of this flailing giant, armed and supported by the US and Britain, will land next?

This latest upsurge of regional tension underlines how wrong Washington and London have been to back absolute monarchies as long as they sign lucrative arms deals and calls for a diplomatic intervention.

This 6 June 2017 video is called Is Saudi Arabia preparing an annexation of Qatar?

By Keith Jones:

The Saudi offensive against Qatar and the global intensification of geopolitical conflict

6 June 2017

Backed by Egypt and its closest Gulf State allies, Saudi Arabia has launched a diplomatic and economic offensive against Qatar, a tiny, energy-rich neighbor. This offensive is aimed at forcing the emirate to fall fully in line with the Saudis’ belligerent stand against Iran and other of its predatory policies, including unstinting support for Egypt’s military regime.

US President Donald Trump gave the Saudi autocracy and its plan to forge a Sunni-Arab military coalition against Iran Washington’s full-throated support when he visited Riyadh last month.

This support, as even many Western news reports on the Saudi-Qatari confrontation acknowledge, has “emboldened” Saudi Arabia. Yesterday, it, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Yemen

rather: the Saudi monarchy’s Yemeni puppet government in exile

announced a series of measures against Qatar that stop just short of war.

They include: severing all diplomatic relations, travel, and economic ties with Qatar; denying Qatari aircraft, including all Qatar Airway[s] flights, the right to use their airspace; closing their ports to all Qatari vessels; and shutting down all broadcasts by Qatar-based al-Jazeera.

Saudi Arabia and its closest Gulf State allies are also closing their borders to Qataris and ordering all Qatari citizens currently in their countries to leave within two weeks.

These measures threaten to roil the emirate’s economy. A peninsula state whose only land border is with Saudi Arabia, Qatar is heavily reliant on food shipments from Saudi Arabia. News agencies report that long lines have formed at supermarkets in Doha as residents—fully 80 percent of the 2.3 million people living in Qatar are non-citizen foreign workers—scramble to stock their shelves and refrigerators.

In 2014, the Saudis and several of their allies suspended diplomatic relations with Qatar because Riyadh was rankled by the emirate’s opposition to the military coup that overthrew Egypt’s elected president, Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi.

The current dispute is of a qualitatively different character, as exemplified by the Saudis’ imposition of an economic blockade that threatens to strangle Qatar’s economy.

Qatar, not without reason, has charged that Saudi Arabia is seeking to subject it to “guardianship,” i.e., to reduce it to the status of a vassal state.

The Saudis are accusing Qatar—as they have long accused Iran—of supporting “terrorism.” They claim it is backing the opposition to the royal family in Bahrain, the anti-Saudi Houthi rebels in Yemen, and the opposition to Saudi rule in the country’s largely Shia Al-Qatif region. Qatar has vehemently denied these claims.

Riyadh is also charging that the emirate is in league with ISIS in Syria. In fact, the ruling families of both sheikdoms have played a major role in the US regime-change war in Syria, helping finance, organize and arm various reactionary Islamist forces, including many of those that came together in ISIS.

The Saudis’ overriding objective is to force Qatar to distance itself from Iran, which it considers its principal rival for regional influence.

Qatar has developed extensive economic ties with Iran, including in the co-development of the massive South Pars Persian Gulf natural gas field. Until its ejection yesterday, Qatar was a reluctant member of the Islamic Military Alliance, the international coalition Riyadh formed ostensibly to fight terrorism, but which more and more openly has assumed the shape of a Sunni Arab alliance for waging war on predominantly Shia Iran.

Last weekend, in an attempt to placate the Saudis, Qatar reportedly ordered several leaders of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group that has ties to Iran, to leave the country. But the Saudis are treating this as too little, too late.

It cannot be excluded that the Saudis will threaten Qatar with military action in the coming days or weeks. They are already waging war, with US logistical support, in Yemen, causing an ever-widening humanitarian disaster, and in 2011 they led a military intervention in Bahrain so as to stave off the popular overthrow of its autocratic regime.

Trump and the cabal of generals who head his administration have repeatedly made clear that Washington has Iran in its cross-hairs. And whilst serious differences persist within the US political establishment over the Iran nuclear accord, the Democrats, no less than the Republicans, support America continuing to enforce sweeping economic sanctions against Tehran and threatening it with military action.

That said, nothing suggests Washington wanted, let alone encouraged, Riyadh to move against Qatar.

Nothing? Donald Trump on Twitter took credit for the Saudi-Qatari escalation. It looks like the United States establishment is divided on this.

Qatar is the forward headquarters of the US Central Command and thus a pivotal staging area for the US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, and the cockpit for war-planning against Iran. Bahrain, which is part of the Saudi’s anti-Qatar coalition, is the home base of the US Fifth Fleet.

The escalating conflict between Washington’s Gulf allies, complained the New York Times, “presents a fresh and unwelcome complication for the United States military.”

That the Saudis, with the support of Egypt’s US-backed military regime, acted independently of Washington in no way takes away from America’s primary responsibility for the growing aggressiveness of the Saudi regime, let alone the wars and sabre-rattling that threaten the people of the Middle East.

On the contrary, the Saudi offensive against Qatar should serve as a salutary warning as to the reckless and incendiary role of US imperialism. In its drive to offset the decline in its economic power through aggression and war, the US is arming and “emboldening” all sorts of right-wing, crisis-ridden regimes. Any one of these, in the pursuit of its own reactionary interests, including mere survival, could lash out at its rivals, provoking a crisis that quickly develops into a military conflict, drawing in the US and other world powers, daggers-drawn.

No less significantly, the sudden clash between Qatar and Saudi Arabia points to the explosive geopolitical tensions that run through the region and are ever more enmeshed in the conflicts between the major imperialist and great powers.

The series of predatory wars Washington has waged in the Middle East since 1991 has shattered whole societies, killing millions, rendering millions more refugees, and engulfing ever greater areas in war and destruction. Their cumulative impact has been the effective collapse of the state system French and British imperialism imposed on the region at the end of World War One and the fueling of a new struggle for the redivision of the Middle East.

The developments in Syria reveal most clearly that the repartition of the Middle East has already begun. While nominally a joint struggle against ISIS, the war in Syria has drawn in a host of great and regional powers—including the US, Russia, France, Germany, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel—each pursuing its own strategic interests. For US imperialism, Syria is a key front in its military-strategic offensive against Russia and Iran.

And it is not just Syria, but the entire region that is in flames. Given the Middle East’s economic significance as the world’s most important oil-producing region, and its pivotal geographic position as the hinge between Europe, Asia and Africa, all of the imperialist and great powers are increasingly compelled to intervene to assert their respective interests.

The US views its drive against Iran through the prism of its world strategy. This includes the need to prevent China from leveraging its plans to develop Eurasian economic corridors to forge a strategic partnership with Iran, and the need to prevent European capital from beating out corporate America in capturing Iran’s markets and oil concessions.

As Trotsky explained in the run-up to the second imperialist world war of the last century, the only alternative to the war maps of the great powers is the map of the class struggle. The only answer to the incendiary struggle of the rival capitalist ruling elites for natural resources, markets and strategic advantage is the mobilization of the international working class against war and the outmoded capitalist social order.

Donald Trump flip-flop on Qatar

This video says about itself:

Trump Pitches “Lots Of Beautiful Military Equipment” To Emir of Qatar

21 May 2017

President Donald Trump meets with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Trump says they have been friends for a long time and then says they are discussing Qatar buying “lots of beautiful military equipment because nobody makes it like the United States.”

That was two weeks ago. Apparently, two very long weeks.

First, there was Donald Trump‘s flip-flop on Saudi Arabia. From naming some of the issues of the Saudi absolute monarchy while debating Hillary Clinton to denial of these issues while selling lots of weapons for killing Yemeni civilians to the dictatorship.

Now, today, there is Trump‘s flip-flop on the smaller absolute monarchy Qatar.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Trump: Boycott of Qatar is a follow up to my visit to the Middle East

Today, 17:14

President Trump welcomes the boycott of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other countries in the Middle East. In a series of tweets, he says that his recent visit to the region has already paid off.

Trump was in Riyadh last month and spoke with several regional leaders. He was told there, he says, that the countries would follow a hard line against financing extremism: “Leaders pointed to Qatar – look! … all reference was pointing to Qatar.

Only some of the reference points to Qatar. Other reference points to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, etc.

In his tweets, Trump expressed the hope that the measures against Qatar mean the end of terrorism.

During his visit to Riyadh, Trump also had a meeting with the emir of Qatar. “We are friends, we’ve been friends now for a long time, haven’t we?” said Trump. “Our relationship is extremely good.” Whether this has changed now, the American president does not say.

Air Force base

Qatar, like Saudi Arabia, is a major ally of Washington. The US has a major military base in Qatar, with about 11,000 US military personnel. From Qatar air operations are being undertaken throughout the region, including to Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. …

Food imports

Not only diplomatic relations have been broken, countries have also stopped all land and air traffic and told their subjects to leave Qatar.

Only Egypt is an exception to the last point.

contrary to an earlier report

There are about 250,000 Egyptians working in Qatar. The boycott has led to a crisis situation in Qatar, which is heavily dependent on food imports.

How Trump Made the Qatar Situation Worse: here.

If the Saudi etc. vs. Qatar crisis would escalate further, then there would be, apart from the Saudi-Yemeni war also a Saudi-Qatari war; in which both sides would kill each other with the ‘beautiful military equipment‘ sold to them by Trump. Probably, Trump personally would profit from that.

IN QATAR CRISIS, TRUMP SHOWS DISREGARD FOR ALLIES President Donald Trump tweeted support for the condemnation of Qatar by several of its Middle Eastern neighbors. Qatar is a longtime U.S. ally and home to a major U.S. military base, and the Pentagon is already distancing itself from the president’s remarks. [HuffPost]

Egyptian workers in Qatar victims of conflict between dictators

This video says about itself:

Qatar’s Filthy Labour Camps

8 March 2014

The Qatari authorities say they are working to improve living and working conditions for the tens of thousands of migrant workers. But many labourers, mainly from South Asia, find their dream of coming to this rich nation to improve the lives of their families is more of a nightmare. The BBC reports.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Uncertainty and panic among Egyptians in Qatar

Today, 16:43

Among the many Egyptians living and working in Qatar, panic broke out. They have suddenly been told that their motherland breaks the ties with Qatar and calls on countrymen in Qatar to leave that country.

Some report to Reuters press office that they are already packing their suitcases, fearing that Qatar will deport them. They wonder how to leave, now that all aviation traffic with the other Arab countries has been shut down. Qatar only shares a border with Saudi Arabia.

White sugar

In addition, the inhabitants of Qatar have immediatelyly noticed that there is less food in the shops due to the breaking of ties with neighboring countries. Photos of shops in the capital Doha confirm that.

In prosperous Qatar

prosperous mainly for the princely family

about 1.6 million foreigners work. About 350,000 of them are Egyptians. At least 40 percent of the food in Qatar is imported from Saudi Arabia. The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia immediately stopped exports of white sugar to Qatar. Qatar is dependent on that import and its consumption is high during the fasting month Ramadan.

Saudi-Qatar absolute monarchies quarrel

This video from the USA says about itself:

Trump says “Saudi Arabia and Qatar are killing women

20 October 2016

That video is from when Donald Trump was not yet president, but was campaigning against Hillary Clinton who has financial and other ties to the Saudi and Qatari absolute monarchies. A time when Trump sometimes told the truth, like a broken clock which is correct twice a day.

However, now that Trump has sold so many United States weapons to the Saudi government to kill civilians in Yemen

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Gulf states break diplomatic ties with Qatar

Today, 05:49

Four Arab countries have broken all diplomatic ties with Qatar. Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia state that Qatar destabilizes the region by supporting terrorists like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Qatari diplomats are getting two days to leave.

Saudi Arabia has closed the borders with Qatar. Diplomats say to the Saudi state press office that this is needed to protect “national security against the dangers of terrorism and extremism”.

Saudi Arabia has sent all soldiers of the Qatar army active in the war in Yemen home. Egypt also has closed its airspace and waters immediately for carriers from Qatar. The other countries have taken similar measures.


Concrete reasons for the quarreling are possible statements by the emir of Qatar. He is said to have said that Iran is an Islamic power “that can not be ignored”. That comment angered the other Gulf states, which see Iran as the biggest enemy in the region. Qatar later denied that the emir had actually said that.

There has been a longer disagreement between the countries about the approach to extremism in the region. A few months ago, Egypt blocked websites funded from Qatar and said to be linked to terrorism. Qatar is also home to Al Jazeera, the international news channel. Arab leaders often get angry about the news that Al Jazeera brings.

Qatar maintains ties with all terrorist movements in the region such as Al Qaeda and IS [ISIS] …

The absolute monarchies of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, etc. are often accused of the same.

Western countries could also come into contact with representatives of Islamic terrorist movements via Qatar.

Qatar is on a peninsula and shares a border with Saudi Arabia. The country is predominantly Sunni but has a large Shia minority. …

In Yemen, Saudi Arabia is fighting in a coalition

including Qatar until now

with other countries against Shiite rebels …

and against civilians, including Somali refugees, women, children and blind people

Qatar has grown explosively over the last two decades and now has nearly 2 million inhabitants, of whom more than 80 percent are not citizens. Since the announcement that the country is organizing the [football] World Cup of 2022, 750,000 new residents have come.

LEAKED EMAILS SHOW HOW QATAR CRISIS DEVELOPED The leaked emails of United Arab Emirates Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba showcase the level of tensions among U.S. partners. [HuffPost]

Uber drivers in Qatar strike

This 3 August 2016 video is called Qatar taxi drivers’ strike continues,

Let us go from 2016 till now.

From the World Socialist Web Site today:

Strike of Uber drivers in Qatar

Taxi drivers using the Uber phone app in Qatar stayed away from work Monday, in a protest against Uber cutting the price of taxi fares and requiring drivers to present an upfront cost prior to the journey.

Uber drivers say the upfront pricing can leave them out of pocket if a client requests detours or additional stops. Uber is imposing the lower fares in an attempt to compete with local firms. Many taxi drivers in Qatar are immigrant workers, many from Ethiopia, Nepal and India.

This strike is courageous; as in the dictatorial Qatari monarchy workers are often oppressed badly.

ERIC HOLDER TO SPEARHEAD OUTSIDE INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGATIONS ABOUT UBER’S CULTURE The former U.S. Attorney has been tapped to investigate former employee Susan Fowler’s allegations that Uber fostered an environment of sexual harassment. You can read Fowler’s original post here. [HuffPost]

New labour law, still old exploitation in Qatar

This video from Britain says about itself:

Qatar killing Nepal workersWorld Cup 2022 FIFA

6 October 2013

Qatar is slaughtering Nepalese and other workers from various nations after its corrupt 2022 football world cup bid won through thanks to bribes passed onto FIFA officials including president Sepp Blatter.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Amnesty: risk of exploitation continues with new legislation in Qatar

Today, 00:08

Changes in the labour laws in Qatar are not improving things for migrant workers, says Amnesty International. Workers remain vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, the human rights organization concludes in a new report.

Qatar replaces a controversial 2009 law allowing workers to be completely at the mercy of their employers or ‘sponsors’. But Amnesty says that the new legislation offers little improvement. The organization calls on FIFA to intervene and remind the international football organisation of its own principle to talk to countries on human rights violations. In 2022 the World Cup will be held in the oil state.

Passports taken away

Employees should also under the new legislation have permission from their employer to change jobs, says Amnesty. Employers can also block a flight from Qatar. This will become even easier because it will now become legal for employers to take workers’ passports away.

This exploitation will hurt the reputation of FIFA and the World Cup if nothing changes in Qatar, Amnesty warns. Clubs also have a responsibility, says the organization. Amnesty points out that Barcelona will soon play a match in Doha. The club should make clear to its host that it wants to play in a “human rights friendly environment”. “Players and clubs cannot live in a bubble.”

See also here.

Qatar World Cup: Air-con stadium opens as worker abuse continues: here.

Pakistani province stops Qatari princes killing endangered birds

This video is called MacQueen’s Bustard on a mating dance.

Note: the article below here mentions “houbara bustards“. Meanwhile, biologists consider the MacQueen’s bustards of Pakistan and elsewhere in Asia, as a species, separate from the African houbara bustard.

From Dawn daily in Pakistan today:

KP refuses to let Qatari princes hunt houbaras

Ali Akbar — Updated 23 minutes ago

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Saturday rejected the request of the federal government to allow Qatari princes to hunt the houbara bustard in the province.

MPA Ishtiaq Urmar, an advisor to CM Pervaiz Khattak for Environment, Forests and Wildlife, told DawnNews he had received a letter from the interior ministry seeking permission for Qatari princes to hunt the protected bird which was refused.

The federal government’s request was refused as the houbara bustard is a rare and protected bird, Urmar said.

“Following the 18th Amendment, provinces are sovereign in taking such decisions,” Urmar said, adding that “strict action will be taken against those found hunting rare animals and birds.”

The houbara bustard is not only protected under various international conventions and agreements signed by Pakistan but its hunting is also banned under the local wildlife protection laws.

Sources earlier told Dawn newspaper that while the other three provinces — Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan — allowed Arabs with permits to hunt the houbara bustards, KP did not. They added that a while ago, a Qatari who had been hunting in the province had been caught and fined.

Clinton Foundation admits receiving Qatar dictatorship’s money

This video from the USA says about itself:

Qatar Human Rights Official Defends Life Sentence For Poet Who Praised Arab Spring Uprisings

7 December 2012

Three days after the United Nations climate change conference began here in Doha, a Qatari court sentenced a local poet to life in prison, a move that shocked many activists in the Gulf region and human rights observers. The sentencing of Muhammad Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami came nearly two years after he wrote a poem titled, “Tunisian Jasmine”, supporting the uprisings in the Arab world. “We are all Tunisia in the face of repressive elites!” al-Ajami wrote. “The Arab governments and who rules them are without exception thieves, thieves!” We speak to his attorney and a member of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee.

From Reuters news agency:

Clinton’s charity confirms Qatar‘s $1 million gift while she was at State Dept

By Jonathan Allen | NEW YORK

The Clinton Foundation has confirmed it accepted a $1 million gift from Qatar while Hillary Clinton was U.S. secretary of state without informing the State Department, even though she had promised to let the agency review new or significantly increased support from foreign governments.

Qatari officials pledged the money in 2011 to mark the 65th birthday of Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton’s husband, and sought to meet the former U.S. president in person the following year to present him the check, according to an email from a foundation official to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta. The email, among thousands hacked from Podesta’s account, was published last month by WikiLeaks.

Clinton signed an ethics agreement governing her family’s globe-straddling foundation in order to become secretary of state in 2009. The agreement was designed to increase transparency to avoid appearances that U.S. foreign policy could be swayed by wealthy donors.

If a new foreign government wished to donate or if an existing foreign-government donor, such as Qatar, wanted to “increase materially” its support of ongoing programs, Clinton promised that the State Department’s ethics official would be notified and given a chance to raise any concerns.

Clinton Foundation officials last month declined to confirm the Qatar donation. In response to additional questions, a foundation spokesman, Brian Cookstra, this week said that it accepted the $1 million gift from Qatar, but this did not amount to a “material increase” in the Gulf country’s support for the charity. Cookstra declined to say whether Qatari officials received their requested meeting with Bill Clinton.

Officials at Qatar‘s embassy in Washington and in its Council of Ministers in the capital, Doha, declined to discuss the donation.

The State Department has said it has no record of the foundation submitting the Qatar gift for review, and that it was incumbent on the foundation to notify the department about donations that needed attention. A department spokeswoman did not respond to additional questions about the donation.

According to the foundation’s website, which lists donors in broad categories by cumulative amounts donated, Qatar’s government has directly given a total of between $1 million and $5 million over the years.

The Clinton Foundation has said it would no longer accept money from foreign governments if Clinton is elected president and would spin off those programs that are dependent on foreign governments.


Foundation officials told Reuters last year that they did not always comply with central provisions of the agreement with President Barack Obama’s administration, blaming oversights in some cases.

At least eight other countries besides Qatar gave new or increased funding to the foundation, in most cases to fund its health project, without the State Department being informed, according to foundation and agency records. They include Algeria, which gave for the first time in 2010, and the United Kingdom, which nearly tripled its support for the foundation’s health project to $11.2 million between 2009 and 2012.

Foundation officials have said some of those donations, including Algeria, were oversights and should have been flagged, while others, such as the UK increase, did not qualify as material increases.

The foundation has declined to describe what sort of increase in funding by a foreign government would have triggered notification of the State Department for review. Cookstra said the agreement was designed to “allow foreign funding for critical Clinton Foundation programs” to continue without disruption.

The State Department said it has no record of being asked by the foundation to review any increases in support by a foreign government.

Asked whether Qatar was funding a specific program at the foundation, Cookstra said the country supported the organization’s “overall humanitarian work.”

“Qatar continued supporting Clinton Foundation at equal or lower levels” compared with the country’s pre-2009 support, he said. He declined to say if Qatar gave any money during the first three years of Clinton’s four-year term at the State Department, or what its support before 2009 amounted to.

In another email released by WikiLeaks, a former Clinton Foundation fundraiser said he raised more than $21 million in connection with Bill Clinton’s 65th birthday in 2011.

Spokesmen for Hillary Clinton’s campaign and Bill Clinton did not respond to emailed questions about the donation.

Norwegian cycling official says Qatar police ‘deliberately’ hit female rider with car over her shorts: here.

U.S. voter turnout is low compared to other developed countries. Here are some reasons why: here.

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made a campaign stop in Detroit Friday to shore up support in a Midwest industrial state the Democrats had just a week ago considered firmly in their camp. The fact that the Clinton campaign felt it necessary to visit Detroit, with its large working class and African-American population, reflected concerns that a lack of enthusiasm for Clinton and a lower than anticipated turnout, particularly by black voters, could tip Michigan, with its 16 electoral votes, into the column of Republican candidate Donald Trump: here.

Fears of a Trump victory are also reflected in public opinion. One poll in Germany this week showed that only 4 percent would vote for Trump if they were eligible to vote in the US election. Some 77 percent said they would vote for Clinton. This is not due to any enthusiasm for the Democratic candidate, however, but rather an overriding desire to stop Trump: here.