The situation between Qatar and the Saudis is starting to destabilize the Middle East….a region that does not any more help in doing so.
That “Arab NATO” didn’t last very long, did it? The break with Qatar by some of its Arab brethren, including its nearest neighbors, is impressively comprehensive, involving a breach of diplomatic relations and an economic and transportation embargo. It reflects sharp divisions not only within the Arab world but even among the half dozen monarchies that constitute the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The break is a resounding refutation of the notion, which was a leitmotif of President Trump’s recent trip to the region, that significant lines of conflict in the region can all be reduced to some simplistic grand division, such as of evil versus good, Shia versus Sunni, or Iran versus everyone else.
Nothing good can come from the Trump admin taking sides in this situation….
A lengthy New York Times article over the weekend touches on a contradiction in the U.S. strategy against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Even as the United States cooperates in a de facto tactical alliance with Iran against ISIS, we’re engaged in a longer-term strategy against Iranian influence in the Middle East. U.S. and Iranian-backed forces have even clashed in battlefield skirmishes in recent weeks.
Picking a fight with an implicit ally is problematic for many reasons. Perhaps most worryingly, such clashes risk sucking U.S. forces deeper into Syria’s civil war.
The article quotes Lebanese scholar Kamel Wazne’s argument that the Trump administration, with encouragement from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States, is “turning up the heat against Iran,” and eager to prevent it from establishing “’Shiite crescent’ of influence from Iran to Lebanon” when the Islamic State is defeated. This stance, we’re told, “puts the United States at loggerheads with the pro-government alliance in Syria.”
The first causality of this incident is America’s top diplomat in Qatar…..
The U.S. ambassador to Qatar reportedly resigned on Tuesday over President Trump’s criticism of the Persian Gulf nation.
CNBC’s John Harwood reported that Ambassador Dana Shell Smith resigned over Trump’s attacks. Harwood cited Trump’s recent comments about Qatar, saying they undermined State Department efforts to ease tensions.
Some see a failure of this Saudi attempt…….
It has been apparent for some time that the war against the Islamic State (IS) group and its forebear al-Qaeda is by no means the only show in town in the Middle East. In fact, for most of the time, the war on terror has been a sideshow.
The attempt to bring Qatar to heel by closing its borders and effectively laying siege to it has shed light on the real forces competing for dominance of the region in the post-Western world in which we live today.
Three regional blocks are vying for control.
This situation is fascinating to observe……just how it plays out is still up in the ether…..
I know it is giving me sleepless nights on the PC and the cel…but it is worth it!