Not many people here in the US care much what is happening in Qatar….right now they are worried about the special election in the 6th District of Georgia or some other major deal that the media is fixated on at this time…..
But if you are a military family you might want to keep an eye on the situation on the Persian Gulf region….what happens there could effect your family in a numerous of ways.
The Persian Gulf is a vital importance to the US and the West…..keeping the Persian Gulf a calm and safe waterway is essential. But the situation between the Saudis and their allies and Qatar and their allies could change that dynamic at any time.
It began as a squabble between Arab allies, but the standoff between Qatar and its neighbours is threatening to engulf the Horn of Africa. When Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and the Maldives declared at the beginning of June that they were severing diplomatic relations with Qatar it appeared to be of interest mainly to the Arabian Peninsula – and the Gulf in particular.
The Saudis and their allies accused Qatar of backing international terrorism. The US, which has the Al Udeid air base in Qatar, looked askance, but did little more than use its good offices to try to ensure that the war of words did not flare into an open conflict.
The Middle East is not a stable region no matter what the press wants you to believe….okay it has seldom been very stable but that is neither here nor there….the crisis with the Saudis and Qatar could prove to be a destabilizing force for the region…..
The Qatar-Gulf rift isn’t about fabricated statements or a hacked website, but a battle to control regional order after the Arab uprisings. But will the Gulf destroy itself in the process?
A heavy tension has prevailed over the Gulf since 23 May.
It all appeared to start with the publication of statements attributed to Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, which were quickly proven to be fabricated. The Qatari News Agency website, it turned out, had been hacked.
Although hacking any country’s official news agency is clearly problematic, the bigger issue is the way in which two Arab Gulf states handled the fabricated statements.
Like I said…..the admin in power needs to keep this in their sights and work for a calm and equitable termination of the “hostilities”……
Military families should be the first and the loudest to demand such.
After this draft was written more news came to light……seems the State Department is NOT on board with this Qatar bashing anymore…..
The US stance on Saudi Arabia and its allies’ hostility toward Qatar, including an outright blockade, has not been particularly consistent in the last couple of weeks. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert took a more direct position against the blockade today, but that is just raising more questions.
Nauert very directly faulted the Saudis for their move against Qatar, noting neither they nor other nations involved have offered any details to back up their allegations, and suggesting that the blockade was not about Qatar’s alleged support for terrorism, but long-standing grievances among GCC countries.
This is largely in keeping with what you’d figure would be the US position on Qatar, a long-time ally, but runs contrary to President Trump, who personally took credit for the Saudi-led move and has repeatedly parroted Saudi allegations against the Qatari government since then.
Why has this region gotten more unstable since the Trump visit?
No one seems to have a handle on why the Saudis pulled this end run…..in other words…what is the real cause of the situation….
Officially, the narrative on the split among Gulf Arab nations, between Saudi Arabia and the tiny nation of Qatar, has centered around support for terrorism. The reality of the situation is far more nuanced, but that hasn’t stopped President Trump from immediately embracing the Saudi position, attacking the Qatari government for supporting “extremism” in the region.
Yet when we dig deeper into the details underpinning the split between the Saudis and Qatar, we find that the actual rift stems heavily from the Arab Spring, and the Qatari government’s support, both official and unofficial, for groups advocating democratic reform in the Middle East. While the Saudis and the other nations involved in directly in this split are more than comfortable to be overtly hostile to democracy in the Middle East, it is wildly dangerous for the United States to position itself in such a manner.
This situation is fascinating……all the intrigue of a “Game of Thrones”…..how will it end?