The strongly-worded warning issued to Qatar on Friday by US President Donald Trump
– accusing it of being a “funder of terrorism… at a very high level”
and demanding that it “stop immediately supporting terrorism” — suggests
that the US has not only signed up fully to the
Saudi-UAE-Egyptian-Bahraini alliance against Qatar, but assumed its
leadership. It also confirms that the steps taken by the four countries
to blockade Qatar and suffocate it economically had prior American
This amounts to a conditional American declaration of war. When Trump announces at a White House press conference,
‘I’ve decided, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson,
our great generals, and military people, the time has come to call on
Qatar to end its funding,’ the meaning cannot be clearer in this regard.
Trump struck this hard-line stance just hours after Tillerson made
statements about the crisis in the Gulf that were conciliatory and
calming in tone. He urged Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain to
ease their blockade of Qatar, arguing that it was damaging to US
military operations against the Islamic State (IS) group in addition to
causing humanitarian harm.
In our view, this sudden toughening of the American position was a response to the way the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin-Hamad Al Khalifa,
turned down Trump’s invitation to him and the other principals in the
crisis to travel to Washington to explore for solutions. He justified
his refusal to attend on the grounds that he could not leave his country
while it remained under blockade. This angered the US president, who
has been behaving like an emperor and thinks his orders cannot be
Emir Tamim does not trust the US administration, and fears the
invitation could merely have been a trap to keep him in the US and
prevent him from returning home, while Saudi and UAE forces invade in
support of an internal coup that deposes him as ruler and installs a new
emir from the other wing of the ruling Al Thani. The 10,000 US troops
based at al-‘Udaid in Qatar also could conceivably play a supporting
role in such a scheme.
It was striking that during the three summits that were convened for
him in Riyadh earlier this month (with Saudi, Gulf and Arab/Islamic
leaders respectively), Trump adopted wholesale the foreign policy of
Saudi Arabia and the UAE which deems Iran to be the spearhead of
terrorism in the region. He supported their severing of ties with and
closure of their borders and airspace to Qatar on the grounds that is an
ally of Iran and supporter of terrorism, in the view of this new
When Trump instructs his generals, as he did at the White House press
conference, to take practical measures to oblige Qatar to stop funding
terrorism, that leaves Doha with very few options. It can either accept
the ten conditions to which Saudi Arabia and its allies demanded its
immediate compliance, or it must face up to the consequences of refusing
to do so.
The summary expulsion, in a harsh manner, of Qatari citizens from
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain and the three Gulf countries’ closure
of their borders and severing of relations is a declaration of war that
spells of the end of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as we have known
it. Trump’s adoption of these steps, meanwhile, aborts the so-called
‘Arab/Islamic NATO’ as it was proposed at the Riyadh summits. Instead,
this alliance will be reduced to one based solely on the members of the
Gulf/Arab anti-Qatar coalition. When Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain
enact laws that punish expressions of support for Qatar on social media
with 15 years imprisonment or fines of up to one million dollars, this
means that all the talk of brotherhood and common bonds between the Gulf
states has evaporated forever – along with any remaining lip-service to
respecting human rights.
Qatar has announced that it will not submit to tutelage or surrender
in the face of attempts to suffocate and blockade it, and will therefore
not change its foreign policy. It has begun to seek support and
protection from its friends in Ankara and Tehran. This could prompt its
adversaries to take even harsher and more aggressive measures against
it, such as Egypt preventing Qatari gas exports from transiting the Suez
Qatar has cards of its own to play, such as shutting down the
pipeline that supplies Qatari gas to the UAE, or expelling 200,000
resident Egyptian migrant workers. But it has insisted that it will not
resort to such measures, and that Egyptian workers will not be harmed
and Qatari gas will continue being pumped.
Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (Source: da.gov.kw)
It was evident from the outset of this crisis that it would becoming
increasingly serious, and now it can be expected to escalate further –
especially after the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad fell into a state of depression due to the failure of his mediation effort, to which not all sides were responsive.
When Trump brings his generals – some of them based at al-Aideed —
into the crisis and orders them to act to stop Qatar form supporting
terrorism, we should expect the worst. The ‘worst’ in this case could
mean a military solution and enforced regime-change. And that would mean
setting the region, in part or in whole, ablaze. Featured image: Raialyoum
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ROLAND SAN JUAN was a researcher, management consultant, inventor, a part time radio broadcaster and a publishing director. He died last November 25, 2008 after suffering a stroke. His staff will continue his unfinished work to inform the world of the untold truths. Please read Erick San Juan's articles at: ericksanjuan.blogspot.com This blog is dedicated to the late Max Soliven, a FILIPINO PATRIOT.
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