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The QATAR ‘Diplomatic Crisis

NOVANEWS
The QATAR ‘Diplomatic Crisis’: Understanding a Tangled Web of Pantomime/Hypocrisy

 

It was difficult to work out exactly what is behind the ‘Qatar Diplomatic Crisis’ that seemed to suddenly emerge early in June.

The Qatar diplomatic crisis apparently began on 5th June when several countries – principally Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE – abruptly cut off diplomatic relations. This included trade and travel bans.

Subsequent to this, the Saudi-led group of governments has issued an ultimatum to Qatar in the form of a list of demands that the Gulf State will have to meet.

Why? On the surface of it, Saudi Arabia and the other countries have criticised Qatar for funding terrorist organisations. There has also been criticism of Qatar’s relations with Iran and criticism too of the Al-Jazeera broadcaster that is based in Qatar.

Donald Trump joined in, endorsing the isolation of Qatar and accusing it of being a state sponsor of terrorism.

My immediate thinking was that this is all a scripted pantomime being played out for public consumption.

When President Trump was in Saudi Arabia a few weeks ago and his big, dramatic summit was held, he gave a big speech – directed at Muslim governments – about stopping all support for extremists and terrorist groups. ‘With God’s help, this summit will mark the beginning of the end for those who practice terror and spread its vile creed,’ the president had said. ‘At the same time, we pray this special gathering may someday be remembered as the beginning of peace in the Middle East—and maybe, even all over the world. But this future can only be achieved through defeating terrorism and the ideology that drives it…’

It seems likely that this plan to ostracize Qatar was already on the cards before Trump even made the speech: what has immediately played out (in regard to Qatar) might simply have been a related script in which Trump gets to look like he’s taking hard action against terrorists and their supporters in the Middle East; and then, by sanctioning and condemning Qatar, the Saudis get to look like they’re cooperating with the US President and acting against state-sponsors of terrorism in the region.

Essentially, everyone (accept Qatar) gets to look good and it seems like decisive action is being taken.

The cleverness of this is that no one can dispute Qatar’s activities in state-sponsored terrorism. The problem with it is that the Saudis aren’t exactly innocent bystanders.

That Qatar has been a key player in funding and supporting terrorism and extremism in Syria (as well as in Libya and elsewhere) is beyond dispute. Qatar played a major role on the ground in Libya in the operation to overthrow Gaddafi and a major role in supporting jihadist militias in Syria in the programme to overthrow the Syrian state. In addition to this, of course, its broadcaster – Al-Jazeera – played a major, central propaganda role in the Arab world in facilitating the collapse of Libya and the demonisation of both the Gaddafi government and the Assad government.

And Qatari money has been behind much of what has been tearing up the Middle East.

However, to suggest that Qatar has been doing all of this alone is a joke. The Saudis and Qatar have appeared to be hand-in-hand the entire time. Both were directly supporting Salafist/jihadist groups in Syria and pumping billions of dollars into the war. Both, for example, made the grand gesture of donating over a billion dollars to militias that were trying to overthrow Gaddafi in Libya in 2011.

Moreover, Qatar has been deeply allied to the United States, Britain and others in its sponsoring and facilitation of Islamist extremist groups and terrorism: in Libya, for example, Qatari agents and British special forces were operating hand-in-hand on the ground.

And Donald Trump, and everyone in the Trump administration and US military, knows all of this.

The Saudis, in the meantime, seem to have come to an agreement with the Trump administration that its own role in supporting terrorist/extremist groups could be forgotten (including involvement in 9/11), in exchange for vast flows of Saudi money into the US military-industrial complex. President Trump and the Saudis apparently just signed defense contracts worth somewhere in the region of 100 billion dollars.

And then, suddenly, Qatar was being sacrificed on the altar of bloodstained ultra-capitalism: suddenly, Qatar alone was responsible for all the terrorism.

There are likely other things behind this move against Qatar too.

As a number of observers highlighted very quickly, Qatar maintains relatively good relations with Iran, certainly compared to the Saudis and the other Gulf Arab states. Qatar and Iran share ownership of South Pars/North Dome Gas-Condensate field – the world’s largest natural gas field.

In April this year, the Qataris lifted a self-imposed ban on developing the gas field with Iran, requiring better cooperation between the two countries around their mutual interest. Qatar might simply be being punished – not for its sponsoring of extremist or terrorist activity, but for contradicting Saudi, Israeli and US interests in regard to Iran.

Most of what is happening in the Middle East seems to revolve around the Saudi/Iran proxy war or the Israel/Iran conflict.

The other problem, of course, is that Qatar doesn’t only fund and support Muslim Brotherhood organisations and various Salafist/Wahhabist jihadist groups across the region, but it also supports Hamas in Israel.

It is well worth noting an item of US legislation – something called the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act of 2017.

As a Journal of America piece notes, the legislation specifically included threats to sanction Qatar for its support of ‘Palestinian Terror’. It was sponsored by various US lawmakers who, according to Al-Jazeera, received more than $1 million from lobby groups all linked to Israel, Saudi Arabia or the UAE.

Concerning Al-Jazeera, the international news broadcaster features prominently in the list of demands that have been issued to Qatar – specifically, a demand that Al-Jazeera be shut down.

As much as Al-Jazeera has acted as a propaganda broadcaster (its role in both the Libyan and Syrian crises qualifies it as one of the worst propaganda machines of this century), it is no more or less so than most other broadcasters, includingCNN, FOX, the BBC and others.

And, like the BBC, although Al-Jazeera has been guilty of major propaganda activity (and ‘fake news’, essentially), it has also – like the BBC – produced some genuinely high quality journalism at times too (in regard to investigating Lockerbie, for example, or uncovering the fact that Yasser Arafat was assassinated and didn’t die naturally).

I am not trying to sing Al-Jazeera’s praises here: but singling out Al-Jazeera for condemnation or a total shut-down seems dubious, given the comparable activities of most other major broadcasters.

Also, the one thing Al-Jazeera doesn’t do is follow a pro-Israel script. In fact, Al-Jazeera has a record of being highly critical of the Israeli government, the occupation and of the activities of Israeli lobbies in the US, and it has produced or financed serious investigative journalism over the years in regard to uncovering things relating to Israel.

This fact may be significant.

This is how convoluted and twisted the entire state of geopolitical relations and proxy terrorism/warfare has gotten.

Because, while Israel may oppose Qatar for its sponsorship of Palestinian extremist groups, in other areas Qatari and Israeli policy has previously coalesced – in Syria, for example, where both governments have been supporting Al-Qaeda and ISIS related jihadist groups fighting to overthrow the Syrian state and establish a ‘caliphate’.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have seemingly been of one mind until now. And, even more jarringly, Qatar and Iran are seeking to develop a lucrative, shared project, even as Qatari money is funding Sunni militias and extremists who are at war with Shia militias and extremists, many of whom are Iranian-backed.

In any case, what seems to be evident here is the ongoing hypocrisy and fakery concerning the ‘War on Terror’.

In this instance, Saudi Arabia’s links to extremist ideology and terror has become so widely known (or at least so widely believed to be the case) that something has to be done to shift the blame or focus off of the Saudis. At the same time, President Trump needs to live up to his self-made image of the big tough guy who was going to do something about Islamist-related terrorism.

And since Qatar is actually guilty of all those things, this becomes easy to do – the fact that it also serves Israel’s interests in cutting off support to Palestinian militants and serves Saudi-US-Israel interests in stopping Qatari cooperation with Iran is probably what pushed this action to be taken.

As the AntiMedia has also pointed out, over the passed two years Qatar has also been conducting major business (allegedly to the tune of over $86 billion) with China and in Chinese Yuan, signing agreements designed to established further economic cooperation with China: which may have given the US all the more incentive to punish or isolate Qatar.

Even taking all of that into account, it is hard to imagine that this seeming action against Qatar is going to amount to much. For one thing, there is just too much Qatari money invested in the UK and the US.

The BBC reports that ‘The UK is Qatar’s single largest investment destination, with £35bn in place and another £5bn on its way in the next five years.’

The same report reminds us that ‘At the height of the financial crisis in 2008, Qatar and Abu Dhabi pumped some £7.3bn into Barclays bank as it attempted to avoid being bailed out by the UK government, Qatar paying £4bn.’

It is also looking to invest some $35bn (£27bn) into the US economy over the next few years.

Britain has also in recent years increased the sale of arms to Qatar, identifying the rich Gulf state as a “priority market”for its weapons, according to documents witnessed by The Guardian. In 2014 the Qatari Amiri Guard was reported to have ordered more than £3m of British-made Heckler and Koch assault rifles, according to a copy of a “purchase order” document exposed by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).

The UK approved export licences for the sale of £23 million of weapons to Qatar since 2008, including assault rifles and components for machine guns. Given that Qatari agents have been found supplying weapons to Islamist terror groups in Syria and Iraq (including ISIS/Daesh), these arms sales become even more dubious.

Britain also recently, and for the first time, set up a national UK pavilion at the annual Milipol military equipment exhibition in Doha, the Qatari capital.

What’s worse – and this really just demonstrates what a buffoon ‘President’ Trump is – less than a week after siding with the Saudis and accusing Qatar of funding terrorism, Trump signed off on the sale of $12 billion worth of weapons to Qatar (!).

Qatari Defense Minister, Khalid Al Attiyah, met with Trump’s Defense Secretary James Mattis just a couple of weeks ago: what they signed was only the first part of a deal that is supposed to result in the Qatari purchase of over $21 billion of American weapons overall.

This was barely a week after Trump had accused Qatar of funding terrorists.

Which should demonstrate beyond any doubt that (1) whatever this diplomatic crisis is about, it isn’t about stopping terrorism, and (2) it’s all massive hypocrisy and deception all around.

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Qatar: ‘Neighbors’ leading economic siege hacked our news agency

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Qatar says it has evidence showing the same “neighboring” countries that are leading a boycott campaign against Doha had a hand in the alleged hacking of its state news agency, an incident that triggered an unprecedented diplomatic crisis in the Persian Gulf region.

Attorney General Ali bin Fetais al-Marri Ali bin Fetais al-Marri told a press conference in Doha on Tuesday that the hacking incident originated in “neighboring countries,” without naming them.

“We have evidence to show that iPhones originating from the countries laying siege to us have been used in this hacking. We have enough evidence to point the finger of blame at these countries,” Marri said.

Last month, the Qatar News Agency (QNA) released comments attributed to Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, describing Iran as an “Islamic power,” praising the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas and criticizing US President Donald Trump.

Qatar said hackers had broken into the QNA website and published the fake news, but the denial did not convince the Riyadh regime and its Persian Gulf Arab allies.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Qatari attorney general said it was “very soon” to give specific phone numbers for those he said were responsible for the hacking.

He also noted that Qatari investigators had traced the internet service providers used to the Saudi-led allied countries.

“We have sent the information to the countries concerned and we are awaiting their response,” Marri pointed out, adding, “As far as we are concerned, the case is very clear.”

Following the hacking report, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic ties and cut off transport links with Qatar in early June, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism, an allegation rejected by the Qatari government.

They put 12 organizations and 59 people associated with Qatar on a terror sanctions list.

Marri said the blacklist was “baseless” and stressed that Qatar would legally pursue those who had done harm to it.

Qatar has long been at odds with other Arab countries about the Muslim Brotherhood, which the UAE and Egypt regard as a terrorist group.

Back in March, 2014, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain temporarily recalled their ambassadors from Doha after alleging that it has been interfering in their domestic affairs. The diplomatic relations resumed eight months later when Qatar ordered some Muslim Brotherhood members to leave the country.

The recent dispute, however, is said to be the worst to hit the Persian Gulf since the formation of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in 1981.

Observers say the fresh rift surfaced in the wake of Qatar’s break with past policies and its leaning toward Russia and Iran.

Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said lately that Doha would not “surrender,” vowing to keep “the independence of our foreign policy.”

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Qatar hacked by Arab neighbor states, not Russia, as previously reported by CNN

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CNN busted by Qatar for spreading more fake news

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By Alex Christoforou 

The reason cited by CNN for the ongoing Saudi-Qatari conflict, in which a coalition of Saudi-led states cut off diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar, originates with a CNN report (via its always handy anonymous sources bullwhip), that Russia is believed to have been behind a Qatar news hack.

CNN propaganda word-play is highlighted in bold…

US investigators believe Russian hackers breached Qatar’s state news agency and planted a fake news report that contributed to a crisis among the US’ closest Gulf allies, according to US officials briefed on the investigation.

The FBI recently sent a team of investigators to Doha to help the Qatari government investigate the alleged hacking incident, Qatari and US government officials say.

Intelligence gathered by the US security agencies indicates that Russian hackers were behind the intrusion first reported by the Qatari government two weeks ago, US officials say. Qatar hosts one of the largest US military bases in the region.

The alleged involvement of Russian hackers intensifies concerns by US intelligence and law enforcement agencies that Russia continues to try some of the same cyber-hacking measures on US allies that intelligence agencies believe it used to meddle in the 2016 elections.

The goal of Russian hackers, according to CNN’s unnamed US officials…

US officials say the Russian goal appears to be to cause rifts among the US and its allies. In recent months, suspected Russian cyber activities, including the use of fake news stories, have turned up amid elections in France, Germany and other countries.

It’s not yet clear whether the US has tracked the hackers in the Qatar incident to Russian criminal organizations or to the Russian security services blamed for the US election hacks. One official noted that based on past intelligence, “not much happens in that country without the blessing of the government.”

The FBI and CIA declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the Qatari embassy in Washington said the investigation is ongoing and its results would be released publicly soon.

Russian officials immediately denied the allegations, and they were correct to do so, as moments ago Qatar announced that the news agency cited by CNN as being “hacked by Russian” was in reality hacked by states linked to the boycott and blockade of Qatar.

According to a report cited by Reuters, Qatar’s attorney general has stated that Arab neighbor states (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates) were responsible for the hacking of Qatar’s state news agency…

Qatar’s attorney general said on Tuesday his country has evidence that the hacking of Qatar’s state news agency was linked to countries that have severed ties with Doha.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates cut their ties with Doha earlier this month over comments alleged to have been made by the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and posted briefly on the Qatar News Agency’s website on May 23 which Doha said had been hacked.

The comments quoted Sheikh Tamim as cautioning against confrontation with Iran and defending the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shi’ite movement allied with Tehran.

U.S. and European officials have said that while U.S government agencies and experts were convinced that the news agency and the Qatari government’s Twitter feed were hacked, they have not yet determined who did the hacking.

“Qatar has evidence that certain iPhones originating from countries laying siege to Qatar were used in the hack,” the Qatari Attorney General Ali Bin Fetais al-Marri told reporters in Doha.

Marri said it was too early to explicitly name the countries responsible for the hacking and declined to comment when he was asked if individuals or states were behind it.

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The blockade of Qatar may have more to do with Palestine than we think

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By Nasim Ahmed | MEMO 

Israeli officials must have been tripping over each other in their rush to endorse the Saudi-led blockade on Qatar. “The Sunni Arab countries, apart from Qatar, are largely in the same boat with us since we all see a nuclear Iran as the number one threat against all of us,” said Israel’s former defence minister Moshe Ya’alon. The blockade represented a “new line drawn in the Middle Eastern sand,” tweeted US-born former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, while revelling in the regional turmoil. “No longer [is it] Israel against Arabs but Israel and Arabs against Qatar-financed terror,” he added.

Defence minister Avigdor Lieberman described the crises as an opportunity for Israel and “certain” Gulf states. “It is clear to everyone, even in the Arab countries, that the real danger to the entire region is terrorism,” he insisted. The extreme right-winger added that the Saudi-led bloc had cut ties with Qatar “not because of Israel, not because of the Jews, not because of Zionism,” but “rather from fears of terrorism.”

Rejoicing over the punishment of a country which Israeli officials describe as a “pain in the ass” raises all sorts of questions, not least the connection between the siege imposed on Qatar and US legislation introduced by Republican Congressman Brian Mast to impose sanctions with respect to foreign support for “Palestinian terrorism”, and other purposes.

Introducing the bipartisan Bill (H.R. 2712 Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act of 2017) Representative Joshua Gottheimer said, “I’m proud to lead on this effort to weaken Hamas, a heinous terrorist network responsible for the death of far too many innocent civilians, both Israeli and American”. According to him, “Our bipartisan bill will ensure that anyone who provides assistance to this enemy of the United States and our vital ally Israel will face the strength and determination of our country.”

In their findings, the sponsors mentioned that Hamas had received significant financial and military support from Qatar. The sponsors cited the press conference at the Sheraton Doha in Qatar, where Hamas launched its new Document of General Principles and Policies, dubbed the movement’s new charter. “While this document was meant to convey a more moderate face to the world by referencing the 1967 borders,” the bill alleges that the “Hamas’ document, [which] neither abrogates nor replaces the founding charter… still calls for a continuation of terrorism to destroy Israel.”

The bill, which sets out to authorise sanctions on any foreign entity or government that provides support to Hamas, goes on to say that, “It shall be the policy of the United States to prevent Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), or any affiliate or successor thereof from accessing its international support networks.”

While noting the implications of the legislation, it is worth remembering that most of the proposals in this new bill are actually redundant, except for the section on Qatar. As the Arab Centre Washington DC – a research organisation furthering political, economic and social understanding between Arabs and the US — points out, the proposed law introduces sanctions already covered under existing legislation. Hamas and the PIJ are both designated as Foreign Terrorist Organisations (FTOs) and Specially Designated Global Terrorist entities (SDGTs) by the US State and Treasury Departments respectively. With that in mind, it is already illegal for US entities or institutions to support such groups. Thus, the sanctions proposed in this bill that pertain to US jurisdiction are superfluous.

Furthermore, the Arab Centre points out, formally targeting Iran is also unnecessary because Tehran has already been declared a state sponsor of terror by the State Department and prohibitions against arms export, financial and technical services and US aid to Iran are already in place. This only leaves Qatar, which would be the only new target under this legislation. The stealthy manner of the attack on Qatar did not hide the true intention of supporters of the Bill. “I am proud” said Gottheimer, “to support the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act that will make countries like Qatar pay a price for their support for terrorism. In the fight against terrorists there is no middle ground. If you support terrorism, justice will eventually be served.”

So what has that got to do with Israel? While Israel has been unable to join the Saudi-led move to impose a blockade on Qatar directly, it hasn’t stopped it from taking part in substantial lobbying behind the scenes, with the UAE, to get what in reality is an anti-Qatar piece of legislation passed and carry out the necessary groundwork for a blockade of this magnitude.

It is alleged that the bill’s sponsors in the House include a number of lawmakers who have received substantial donations from pro-Israeli lobbyists as well as from those advocating on behalf of Saudi Arabia. Indeed, it is reported that ten US legislators sponsoring the anti-Qatar Bill have received more than $1m over the last 18 months from lobbyists and groups linked to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Author and commentator Trita Parsi believes that the similarities between the US-allied Arab nations’ “terror list” and the H.R. 2712 bill show growing cooperation between Gulf Arab states and Israel. “The coordination between hawkish pro-Israel groups and the UAE and Saudi Arabia has been going on for quite some time,” Parsi told Al-Jazeera. What is new, he continued, is seeing pro-Israel groups such as the Foundation for Defence of Democracies “coming out with pro-Saudi [articles] and lobbying for them [the Saudis] on Capitol Hill.”

The cultivation of a political narrative to support the siege was also reported earlier this month by The Intercept. It said that emails released by a group called “Global Leaks” had shown that the UAE ambassador to the US, Yousef Al-Otaiba, and the foundation — a pro-Israel neoconservative think tank — have been working together on demonising Qatar. The emails obtained by The Intercept show FDD and UAE collaboration with journalists who published articles accusing Qatar and Kuwait of supporting “terrorism”.

It is no surprise then that the main reason given for this blockade makes little sense. For Saudi Arabia and the UAE to accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism is like the pot calling the kettle black. If there was any substance to the allegation, then the US would not have endorsed a recent arms deal with Qatar and nor would Washington maintain a major military base there. The stated reasons for the blockade have no merit whatsoever. Moreover, the blockade of Qatar cannot be examined in isolation from efforts that have been underway in the US to suppress Palestinian resistance in the name of fighting terrorism. Neither Qatar nor any of the Gulf countries benefit from this standoff whatsoever; for the main beneficiary, we must look to Israel.

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Former Qatari Zio-Wahhabi P M: We Made a Mistake by Supporting Rebels in Syria

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Former Qatari Prime Minister: We Made a Mistake by Supporting Rebels in Syria
American Herald Tribune 

The accusation of financing terrorism levelled by some [Persian] Gulf countries against Qatar has “no solid base” , he said in an interview with the Charlie Rose show on PBS.

Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim demanded the countries that cut off relations with Qatar should provide evidence of their allegations.

The former Prime Minister demanded that international law should tackle the violations, including cutting off food supplies, separating families and closing of airspace, made by the countries that have isolated Qatar.

He expressed surprise at the position taken by Saudi Arabia and others soon after the participation of the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in the Riyadh Summit.

On Syria, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim said everybody including the US made mistakes while dealing with the crisis in that country. “As time passed we discovered that some groups have other agendas and we stopped dealing with them one after another.” He stressed that these mistakes were not intentional.

He pointed out that the punitive measures against Qatar were taken without convening the [Persian] Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC).

“If Saudi Arabia disagrees with any country, they will do what they want without referring to the GCC,” he said adding that he respected King Salman and Saudi Arabia, but the new situation has changed many things for the members of the GCC.

On Qatar’s alleged support for Iran, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim said: “This is a big joke,” stressing that there was not a single incident where Qatar supported Tehran. He added that the Qatar has normal relations with Tehran. He said Qatar is ready to hold an open dialogue if the problem is related to Iran.

On the presence of some members of the Taliban movement in Qatar, he said that there are five Taliban members, who are in Qatar at the request of the US.

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Qatar stood by Gaza when nobody else did

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Head of the Palestine Scholars Association, Dr Marwan Abu Ras, lauded Qatar’s pro-Palestine position and stressed Palestinians’ support for the government and people of Qatar.

“We are here today, in the blockaded Gaza Strip, to tell the world that our sole enemies are the Israeli colonizers who forced us out of our own and only lands,” said Abu Ras. “It is high time Arabs and Muslims combined forces in the face of the Israeli occupation.”

“We, Palestine Scholars, hail all those who have rallied round the Palestinian people and Gaza. We are most grateful to Qatar which has left its stamp in every street and at every home in besieged Gaza,” he said.

“Our homes have been lit, infrastructure rehabilitated, and hospitals equipped thanks to Qatar,”  added Abu Ras as he paid tribute to the Qatari government and NGOs.

He slammed the Israeli occupation and all the other parties who have been involved in underway schemes to tighten grip around Gazans’ neck and famish the Palestinians.

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Liars Lying About Nearly Everything

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Terrorism supporters in Washington and Riyadh close ranks against Qatar

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By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review 

The United States has been using lies to go to war since 1846, when Americans who believed in manifest destiny sought to expand to the Pacific Ocean at the expense of Mexico, acquiring by force of arms California and what were to become the southwestern states. In 1898 the U.S. picked up the pieces of a dying Spanish Empire in a war that was driven by American imperialists and the yellow dog reporting of the Hearst Newspaper chain. And then came World War 1, World War 2, and Korea, all avoidable and all enabled by deliberate lying coming out of Washington.

More recently, we have seen Vietnam with its Gulf of Tonkin fabrication, Granada and Panama with palpably ridiculous pretexts for war, Iraq with its nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, Afghanistan with its lies about bin Laden, Libya and its false claims about Gaddafi, and most recently Syria and Iran with allegations of an Iranian threat to the United States and lies about Syrian use of barrel bombs and chemical weapons. And if one adds in the warnings to Russia over Ukraine, a conflict generated by Washington when it brought about regime change in Kiev, you have a tissue of lies that span the globe and bring with them never-ending conflict to advance the American imperium.

So lies go with the American Way of War, but the latest twist and turns in the Middle East are bizarre even by Washington’s admittedly low standards of rectitude. On the 5th of June, Saudi Arabia led a gaggle of Arab and Muslim nations that included the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain to cut off all diplomatic, commercial and transport links with Qatar, effectively blockading it. Qatar is currently isolated from its neighbors, subject to sanctions, and there have even been Saudi threats of going to war against its tiny neighbor. Salman al-Ansari, the president of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee, even tweeted: “To the emir of Qatar, regarding your alignment with the extremist government of Iran and your abuse of the Custodian of the two sacred mosques, I would like to remind you that Mohammed Morsi [of Egypt] did exactly the same and was then toppled and imprisoned.”

It is the second time the Saudis have moved against Qatar. Two years ago, there was a break in diplomatic relations, but they were eventually restored. This time, the principal allegation being directed against Qatar by Riyadh is that it supports terrorism. The terrorist groups that it allegedly embraces are Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi’s affiliation. Hezbollah and Hamas are close to Iran which is perhaps the real reason for their being singled out as many would call them resistance movements or even legitimate political parties rather than terrorists. And the Iran connection is critical as Qatar has been under fire for allegedly saying nice things about trying to respect and get along with Tehran, undoubtedly somewhat motivated by its joint exploitation with Iran of a vast gas field in the Persian Gulf.

Qatar’s ownership of al-Jazeera also has been a sore point with the Saudis and other Gulf states as its reporting has often been critical of developments in the region, criticisms that have often rankled the Saudi monarchy and the Egyptians. It has been accused of spreading propaganda for “militant groups.” One of the Saudi demands to permit Qatar to again become a “normal” Arab Gulf state would be to close down the network.

The terrorism claims by the Saudis are, of course, hypocritical. Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia are well known as sponsors of Salafist terrorism, including the funding and arming of groups like ISIS and the various al-Qaeda franchises, to include al-Nusra. Much of the money admittedly comes from private individuals and is often channeled through Islamic charities, but both Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been extremely lax in their enforcement of anti-terror and money laundering regulations. In a 2009 State Department memo signed off on by Hillary Clinton it was stated that “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.” Qatar, meanwhile, has been described as a “permissive environment for terrorist financing.”

The Saudis also have considerable blood on their hands by way of their genocidal assault on neighboring Yemen. In addition, the Saudi Royal House has served as the principal propagator of Wahhabism, the virulently fundamentalist version of Islam that provides a form of religious legitimacy to terror while also motivating many young Muslims to join radical groups.

The falling out of two Gulf Arab regimes might be a matter of relatively little importance but for the unnecessary intervention of President Donald Trump in the quarrel. He has taken credit for the burgeoning conflict, implying that his recent visit to the region set the stage for the ostracizing of Qatar. His twitter on the affair, posted on June 6th, read “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!” And he again came down on Qatar on June 9th during a press conference.

Trump’s tweets might well be regarded as simply maladroit, driven by ignorance, but they could also provide a glimpse of a broader agenda. While in the Middle East, Trump was bombarded with anti-Iranian propaganda coming from both Israel and the Saudis. An escalation of hostilities with the intention of starting an actual war involving the United States to take down Iran is not unimaginable, particularly as the Israelis, who have already endorsed the Saudi moves, have been arguing that option and lying about the threat posed by Tehran for a number of years.

A war against Iran would be very popular both with the U.S. congress and the mainstream media, so it would be easy to sell to the American public. The terrorist attack in Tehran on June 6th that killed 17 is being blamed in some Iranian circles on the Saudis, a not unreasonable assumption. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack but it must also be observed that both the Saudis and Israelis have good connections with the terrorist group. But if the possibility of a possible Saudi hand is true or even plausibly so, it guarantees a rise in tension and an incident at sea could easily be contrived by either side to escalate into a shooting war. The United States would almost inevitably be drawn in, particularly in light of Trump’s ridiculous comment on the tragedy, tweeting that Iran is“falling victim to the evil they promote.”

There is also other considerable collateral damage to be reckoned with as a consequence of the Trump intervention even if war can be avoided. Qatar hosts the al-Udeid airbase, the largest in the Middle East, which is home to 10,000 U.S. servicemen and serves as the Combined Air and Space Operations Center for Washington and its allies in the region and beyond. Now the United States finds itself squarely in the middle of a fight between two alleged friends that it doesn’t have to involve itself in, an intervention that will produce nothing but bad results. Backing Saudi Arabia in this quarrel serves no conceivable American interest, particularly if the ultimate objective is to strike at a non-threatening Iran. So the fallback position is to lie about what the support for the aggressive Saudi posturing really means – it is alleged to be about terrorism, which is always a popular excuse for government overreach.

And the ultimate irony is that when it comes to terrorism the United States itself does not emerge without fault. As early as 2011, the U.S. was arming Syrian dissidents from the arsenals in Libya, flying in weapons to Turkey to hand over to the rebels. Many of the weapons, as well as those provided to Iraqi forces, have wound up in the hands of ISIS and al-Nusrah. U.S. advisers training rebels have conceded that it is impossible to determine the politics of many of those receiving instruction and weapons, an observation that has also been made by the Obama White House and by his State Department.

So watch the lies if you want to know when the next war is coming. If the House of Saud, the Israelis and Donald Trump are talking trash and seem to agree about something then it is time to head for the bomb shelter. Will it be Iran or an escalating catastrophe in Syria? Anything is possible.

Posted in QatarComments Off on Liars Lying About Nearly Everything

Nazi regime mulls closing Al Jazeera bureau in Jerusalem al-Quds

NOVANEWS
Image result for Al Jazeera LOGO

A report says Nazi Prime Minister Benjamin Naziyahu is considering shutting down the Jerusalem al-Quds bureau of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera broadcaster, as a diplomatic rift escalates between a Saudi Zio-Wahhabi led bloc of countries with Qatar.

Zionist daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Tuesday that Naziyahu had met with members of the foreign ministry, ministry of military affairs, and other institutions on Monday and discussed preliminary steps for closing the Al Jazeera office in Jerusalem al-Quds.

Saudi Zio-Wahhabi, the Zio-Wahhabi regime of UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt have already blocked several Qatari media outlets, including Al Jazeera. The four countries cut their diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing Doha of destabilizing the region with its support for terrorism, an accusation rejected by the Qatari government.

In a relevant development on Monday, Avigdor Lieberman, Nazi minister for military affairs, compared Al Jazeera to the Nazi- and Soviet-era propaganda apparatuses.

“Some [Arab countries’] interests overlap with Israeli interests, including the issue with Al Jazeera,” Liberman said. “Al-Jazeera is not media… It’s an incitement machine. It is pure propaganda, of the worst variety, in the style of Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia.”

Nazi Lieberman also accused Al Jazeera of supporting Iran, saying, “I’ve been tracking Al Jazeera for many years. You’ll never see a single article against Iran.”

The potential move to close the Al Jazeera office in Jerusalem al-Quds and the unprecedented remarks by Nazi Lieberman are indicative of how the Nazi regime and Saudi Zio-Wahhabi regimes may be increasingly tilting toward one another. There have already been signs that the ties between the Nazi regime and certain Arab regimes — traditionally putative adversaries — have been covertly expanding in recent years.

Naziyahu has on several occasions talked of the development of ties between the Jewish Nazi regime and certain Arab countries. So have other Nazi officials. Moshe Ya’alon, Nazi former minister of military affairs, in February 2016 pointed to open channels between the regime and some Arab states.

Back in January 2016, Naziyahu said during an interview with CNN that Saudi Arabia now saw Tel Aviv “as an ally rather as an enemy.”

Posted in Middle East, ZIO-NAZI, QatarComments Off on Nazi regime mulls closing Al Jazeera bureau in Jerusalem al-Quds

Saudi Zio-Wahhabi teams up with Nazi regime in anti-Qatar lobbying in the US Congress

NOVANEWS
Saudi Arabia teams up with Israel in anti-Qatar lobbying in the US Congress
Image result for SAUDI ZIONIST KING CARTOON
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali – Journal of America 

US proposed  legislation – Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act of 2017 – threatening to sanction Qatar for its support of the so-called “Palestinian terror” was sponsored by 10 lawmakers who received more than $1m over the last 18 months from lobbyists and groups linked to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, Al Jazeera reported Friday.

The HR 2712 bill was introduced to the US House of Representatives on May 25, but the text wasn’t available until Friday morning, hours after Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt put 59 people and 12 institutions linked to Qatar on a “terror list”, Al Jazeera said.

HR 2712’s sponsors received donations totaling $1,009,796 from pro-Israel individuals and groups for the 2016 election cycle alone, according data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics, an independent research group tracking money in US politics and its effect on elections and public policy, and then compiled by Al Jazeera.

Sponsors of the bill are: Congressmen Brian Mast (FL-18), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (CA-39) and Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel (NY-16). The bill is co-sponsored by Congressmen Brad Sherman (CA-30), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Ted Poe (TX-2), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Ted Deutch (FL-22) and Thomas Suozzi (NY-3).

Al Jazeera reported that Royce received $242,143 from pro-Israel sources for the 2016 election cycle, $190,150 went to Engel. Mast, who volunteered with the Israeli military after he finished serving in the US Army, received $90,178.

“Following my service in the U.S. Army, I chose to volunteer alongside the Israeli Defense Forces because our countries share the common ideals of freedom, democracy and mutual respect for all people. Hamas preaches destruction to Israel and death to the values we hold dear in the United States. They have murdered more than 400 Israelis and at least 25 American citizens.” Rep. Mast was quoted as saying.

According to Trita Parsi, the founder of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), a nonprofit that aims to strengthen the voice of US citizens of Iranian descent, there are similarities between the US-allied Arab nations’ “terror list” and HR 2712 show[ing] growing cooperation between Gulf Arab states and Israel.

“The coordination between hawkish pro-Israel groups and UAE and Saudi Arabia has been going on for quite some time,” Parsi told Al Jazeera. What is new, he continued, is pro-Israel groups such as the Foundation for Defense of Democracies “coming out with pro-Saudi [articles] and lobbying for them on Capitol Hill”.

Parsi was quoted as saying that the sponsors of the bill are traditional pro-Saudi lawmakers, however they are in the pro-Likud camp. Likud  is the party of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

President is required

The Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act requires the President to submit to Congress an annual report for the next three years identifying foreign persons, agencies or instrumentalities of a foreign state who knowingly and materially assist Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or an affiliate or successor of one of those organizations.

After identifying the organizations, the President must impose two or more sanctions, including denying

a) Export-Import guarantees,
b) defense support under the Arms Export Control Act,
c) export of munitions to any agreement to which a person identified is a part,
d) export of goods or technology controlled for national security reasons,
e) loans more than $10 million, or
f) seizure of property held within the United States.

The bill also requires the President to report to Congress on each government that provides support for acts of terrorism and provides material support to Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or any affiliate or successor organization, or the President determines to have engaged in a significant transaction to knowingly and materially provide support to Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad or any affiliate or successor organization.

After identifying the governments, the President must suspend U.S. assistance to that government for one year, instruct the executive directors of each international finance institution to vote against any loan or technical assistance to that government and prohibit any munitions export to that government for one year.

Additionally, the President must prohibit that government’s transactions in foreign exchanges that are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and prevent that government’s transfers of credits or payments between financial institutions subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

Important Sections of the HR 2712 Bill

Section 2: Findings and Statement of Policy

Subsections (a)(3) and (4) state that “Hamas has received significant financial and military support” from Qatar and that the Under Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence confirmed that “Qatar, a longtime US ally has for many years openly financed Hamas.” The bill also finds that Qatar hosts a number of high-ranking Hamas officials, including Khaled Mashal.

Subsections (a)(5) through (7) outline Iran’s material and financial support and subsections (8) through (10) detail Iranian support to the PIJ.

Section 3: Imposition of Sanctions with Respect to Foreign Persons and Agencies and Instrumentalities of Foreign States Supporting Hamas, the PIJ, or Any Affiliate or Successor Group

No later than 120 days after H.R. 2712 is enacted—then once a year for no more than three years—the president must report to Congress the foreign persons, agencies, and instrumentalities of foreign states that provide support to the aforementioned groups. Two exceptions are reserved for the president, however. If the president notifies Congress 15 days prior to completing a “significant transaction” with a foreign entity or agency that is in the “national interest” of the United States, the foreign entity or agency may be exempt from sanctions. The other exception is reserved for the president to issue waivers that would exempt a foreign entity or agency from sanctions for 120 days, as long as Congress is notified seven days prior.

Set forth in this bill are sanctions on the following:

  • Banking and financing (e.g., extensions of credit, guarantees, insurance, etc.)
  • Defense-related sales (including munitions, defense services, and construction services)
  • Goods and technologies regulated through the Export Administration or included in the US Munitions List
  • Medical, agricultural, and humanitarian goods and services are not included among sanctioned items.

Section 4: Imposition of Sanctions with Respect to Foreign Governments That Provide Material Support to Hamas, the PIJ, or Any Affiliate or Successor Thereof

Much like Section 3, Section 4 sets a 120-day deadline after enactment for the president to report to Congress any governments the Secretary of State has determined “repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.” This report must be resubmitted, with relevant information, every 180 days.

The sanctions set forth in this section include the prohibition or suspension of the following for one year:

  • US aid to the foreign government
  • Extension of loans and financial or technical services
  • Export of items on the US Munitions List or Commerce Control List
  • Transactions in foreign exchanges in which the United States has jurisdiction
  • Transfers of credit or payments between one or more financial institutions subject to US jurisdiction
  • Should the president determine it is in US security interests and notify Congress seven days in advance, he can waive any foreign government sanctions for 180 days.

Section 5: Report on Activities of Foreign Countries to Disrupt Global Fundraising, Financing, and Money Laundering Activities of Hamas, the PIJ, or Any Successor or Affiliate Thereof

This bill outlines a reporting requirement for the president, no later than 180 days after the bill’s enactment. The president must report a list of foreign countries providing support for the aforementioned organizations and further assessments including:

  • Steps the foreign government is taking to freeze assets of these groups
  • Any reasons the government is not taking adequate steps to freeze assets
  • Measures taken by the United States to freeze assets
  • List of countries where the aforementioned groups fundraise and steps those countries are taking to disrupt the fundraising efforts
  • List of countries from which the groups receive surveillance equipment and what measures are being taken to disrupt the acquisition.

To borrow from Marcus Montgomery, an Analyst at the Washington DC-based Arab Center, the language of HR 2712 is interesting since it introduces sanctions for actions likely already covered under existing legislation. Hamas and the PIJ are both designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) and Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) by the State and Treasury Departments, respectively. With that in mind, it is already illegal for US entities or institutions to support such groups. Thus, the sanctions proposed in this bill that pertain to US jurisdiction are redundant.

Formally targeting Iran is redundant as well because Tehran has been declared a state sponsor of terror by the State Department and prohibitions against exports of arms, financial and technical services, and US aid to Iran are already in place.

For Marcus Montgomery, Qatar would be the truly new target under this legislation, but as an ally with which the United States has economic and military ties, it is tough to see many in the Senate agreeing to label Qatar a de facto state sponsor of terror.

Erdogan vows to stand by ‘Qatari brothers’

Interestingly, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan Friday called for full removal of a Saudi-led blockade of Qatar after approving the deployment of Turkish troops there, saying Riyadh needed to put brotherhood ahead of animosity.

Erdogan said isolating Qatar would not resolve any regional problems and vowed to do everything in his power to help end the regional crisis. “We will not abandon our Qatari brothers,” Erdogan told members of his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party at a fast-breaking meal on Friday in Istanbul during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“I also have a special request from the Saudi administration. You are the largest and most powerful state in the Gulf. We call you the Custodian of the Holy Places. You especially should work for brotherhood, not animosity. You have to work for bringing brothers together. This is what we expect from Saudi, the Custodian of the Holy Mosques,” Erdogan was quoted by Al Jazeera as saying.

“I say it should be lifted completely,” Erdogan said of the embargo.

Turkey, which has maintained good relations with Qatar, as well as several of its Gulf Arab neighbors, offered food and water supplies to stave off possible shortages. “There are those who are uncomfortable with us standing by our Qatari brothers, providing them with food. I’m sorry, we will continue to give Qatar every kind of support,” Erdogan said, adding that he had never witnessed Doha supporting “terrorism”.

On Wednesday, Turkey’s parliament ratified two deals on deploying troops to Qatar and training the Gulf nation’s security forces. The deal to send Turkish soldiers in Qatar, aimed at improving the country’s army and boosting military cooperation, was signed in April 2016 in Doha.

After an initial deployment of Turkish soldiers at a base in Doha, Turkish fighter jets and ships will also be sent, the mass-circulation Hurriyet newspaper said on its website on Friday.

“The number of Turkish warplanes and Turkish warships going to the base will become clear after the preparation of a report based on an initial assessment at the base,” Hurriyet said.

A Turkish delegation will go to Qatar in the coming days to assess the situation at the base, where about 90 Turkish soldiers are currently based, Hurriyet said adding: there were plans send some 200 to 250 soldiers within two months in the initial stage.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Qatar, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Saudi Zio-Wahhabi teams up with Nazi regime in anti-Qatar lobbying in the US Congress

Qatar crisis sets in motion realignments

NOVANEWS
Image result for Qatar crisis CARTOON
By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline 

Four days have passed since the terrorist strikes in Tehran but Iran has not retaliated with any “surgical strike” against Saudi Arabia – and, typically, there isn’t going to be any. The political leadership pointed the accusing finger at Saudi Arabia, US and Israel. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said that the terror strikes “will only increase hatred for the governments of the United States and their stooges in the region like the Saudis.” However, Iran will not react in a hurry, given the crisis over the Saudi-Qatar standoff that is fraught with profound consequences for regional politics.

Interestingly, Iran signed another agreement on Saturday with Boeing, the American aircraft manufacturer, to buy 30 passenger planes in a $3 billion deal, with an option to buy another 30 aircraft at a later stage. This is on top of the $16.6 billion deal with Boeing negotiated in December. Tehran is piling pressure on the Trump administration because Boeing needed the approval of the US Treasury for the deal with Iran. Put simply, Tehran hopes to draw the US into an engagement process that incrementally deepens and broadens, which derails the Saudi-Israeli agenda to incite a US-Iran confrontation.

Iran is generating export business for American companies, which holds the potential to create jobs in their thousands in the US economy. This becomes a template, ironically enough, of President Trump’s ‘America First’ doctrine. It is a ‘win-win’ formula, because Iran’s economy also badly needs western investments and capital, especially the oil industry. Over and above, if American companies begin operating in the Iranian market, it will give impetus to European business and industry too.

Having said that, Iran’s regional policies remain on track, no matter the Trump administration’s pressure tactic and rhetoric. Iran scored a signal victory in the weekend with Syrian government forces supported by Iran-backed militia reaching the strategic border crossing with Iraq at Al-Tanf. (See my blog The scramble for control of Syrian-Iraqi border.) In immediate terms, the route for the US-backed fighters in the south to move into the strategically important Deir Ezzur province (which is also rich in oil deposits) now comes under the control of the Syrian government forces.

Meanwhile, Tehran is re-establishing high-level contacts with the leadership of Hamas. On Saturday, Hamas announced that a delegation led by its newly-elected leader Ismail Haniyeh (who recently replaced Khaled Meshaal) will be visiting Tehran. Iran’s ties with Hamas came under strain after Meshaal left Damascus (where he was living in exile for several years) to relocate himself in Doha, by way of displaying his solidarity with Qatar and Turkey in the Syrian conflict.

Hamas’ reunion with Tehran’s ‘axis of resistance’ is significant, since Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar has come under pressure from Saudi Arabia to snap its links with the Brothers. It meshes with Iran’s support for Qatar in its rift with Saudi Arabia as well as promotes Iran’s desire for partnership with Turkey. Turkish President Recep Erdogan continues to patronise Hamas, despite that being the principal discord in Turkish-Israeli relations.

On the other hand, Iran’s warming of ties with Hamas puts pressure on Saudi Arabia and Israel at a time when the mutual comfort level between Riyadh and Tel Aviv has been rising lately, with the Trump administration actively promoting the idea of an Arab-Israeli normalization.

Jared Kushner’s (Trump’s Orthodox Jew son-in-law and top advisor on foreign policy) thesis, which is the current US policy in the Middle East, is that a “from the outside-in” approach to Middle East peace – namely, signing of peace treaties between the Arab states and Israel to generate goodwill and new diplomatic relations, which in turn will help advance Palestine-Israel settlement – as against the traditional “inside-out” approach that gives primacy to peace between the Palestinians and Israelis as the necessary first step that will facilitate an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Trump’s mission to Riyadh last month was at the behest of Israel, which has been pushing the narrative that the existential fear of Iran is bringing the Gulf Arab monarchies and Israel closer together. Of course, Israeli calculation is that peace treaties between the Gulf Arab regimes and Israel (on the pattern of Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan) will ultimately render the Palestinian cause obsolete and completely ease the pressure on Israel to accommodate Palestinian aspirations and demand for a fully independent state.

Significantly, while reporting on Hamas leader Haniyeh’s forthcoming visit to Iran, the influential Tehran Times newspaper made the following observation:

  • While the Syrian crisis has driven a wedge between Tehran and Turkey since 2011, the rift between Arab caliphates have led them into an ad-hoc alliance that some believe represents the best chance to mend fences.  
  • Turkey and Iran back Qatar and have links with the Muslim Brotherhood. 

Suffice to say, Iran’s move to bring Hamas into the ‘axis of resistance’ threatens to undermine the game plan that Israel has been working on (via Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, fellow Orthodox Jew, associated with Trump’s organization.) All three countries – Qatar, Turkey and Iran – sense that the current US-Israeli-Saudi offensive against “terrorism” is actually the metaphor for an all-out assault on the Muslim Brotherhood, branding it as a “terrorist” organization, which in turn is ultimately aimed at driving Hamas into the political wilderness and thereby scattering the Palestinian resistance movement once for all.

To be sure, both Turkey and Iran have taken note that at the end of the day, the Muslim Middle East has shown reluctance to join Saudi Arabia’s ant-Qatar front — including Jordan, which is sitting on the fence, merely resorting to the cosmetic move of downgrading the diplomatic ties with Qatar, despite its need for Saudi goodwill. Of course, Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Algeria, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia have ostentatiously dissociated themselves from the Saudi strategy to isolate Qatar. Indeed, Turkey has forcefully rejected the Saudi embargo against Qatar — “We will not abandon our Qatari brothers,” said Erdogan at an Iftar meal in Istanbul on Friday, while addressing his party colleagues.

Posted in QatarComments Off on Qatar crisis sets in motion realignments

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