Closing Thought–06Aug20

I see the idiot Neocons are trying desperately to appear as if they are still relevant…..some in Congress demand that AJE register as a foreign agent…..

The Qatari-owned satellite news channel, Al Jazeera, is facing renewed pressure to register as a foreign agent in the US under a two-year-old law.

After a year-long push, the US Congress amended the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in 2018 requiring all foreign media outlets based in America to detail their ties to foreign governments.

The law is part of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which was adopted in 1938 to identify Nazi propaganda outlets in the US.

They are required to include, “a description of the relationship of such outlet to the foreign principal of such outlet, including a description of the legal structure of such relationship and any funding that such outlet receives from such principal.”

The signatories include US Senators Tom Cotton, Chuck Grassley, John Cornyn, Todd Young, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz, and Representatives Mike Johnson and Lee Zeldin.

“Qatar’s officials have said that government-controlled media is a form of ‘soft power.’ As such, one can reasonably infer that Al Jazeera is a messaging tool for the Qatari government and on its behalf has engaged in inherently political activities and sought to influence public opinion in the US,” the lawmakers wrote.

Click here to read the letter: https://www.cotton.senate.gov/

(eurasia review)

Really?

Has AIPAC registered?

I wonder how much KSA and/or UAE paid these Congress members for their assistance?

Plus maybe those Congress people should also register as members of a foreign agency.

Now look at the names that signed on to this worthless endeavor…..not one is anything but a wind bag and a spineless Neocon.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

And So It Begins

There comes a time when a nation realizes its capabilities and does what they all have done….flexes their muscle.

A few years ago a few missiles flew over the Arabian Peninsula originated in Yemen……the Saudis intercepted them, using equipment acquired from the US, and started a long war on civilians or should I say the Houthi tribesmen?  The country, Yemen, has been bombed into the Stone Age.  The death toll has been on the Yemeni side there have been very few deaths in Saudi Arabia (if any) because of something Yemen has done.

I bring up this short history of the struggle between Yemen and the Saudis because they, the Saudis, have threatened yet another country….Qatar.

Saudi King Salman has threatened to take military action against neighboring Qatar if the nation follows through with a plan to install an anti-aircraft defense system. Salman said he would take military action to “eliminate this defense system.

Saudi Arabia and many of its allies severed ties with Qatar last year, based around a false media report claiming the Qatari Emir wasn’t sufficiently hostile toward Iran. The Saudis have since suggested they’d channel out the entire Qatari border, turning it into an island, and dumping nuclear waste in the area.

Around this ever growing Saudi hostility toward Qatar, the nation made a deal to buy S-400 air defense systems from Russia. Russia says that plans to deliver he missiles have not changed, despite the Saudi threats.

(antiwar.com)

Was this threat needed?  Qatar already host a large US base.  That should protect Qatar from its war hungry neighbor.

By the way….last year the Saudis decided to punish Qatar for some alleged transgressions…..they, Saudis, and their allies tried to isolate Qatar from the outside world…..how did that work out for the Saudis?

It’s hard to imagine the leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates thought it would go this way. Officials from their governments — as well as junior partners Egypt and Bahrain — described the punitive sanctions they collectively slapped on Qatar in early June as an unfortunate but necessary action, aimed at bringing the pesky Qataris to heel. It was as if Qatar, accused by its neighbors of fomenting extremism near and far, was an unruly child who needed to be disciplined.

But in the grown-up world of geopolitics, the Saudi and Emirati-led move against Doha does not seem to be achieving its goals. Rather than isolating Qatar, it has deepened Qatari ties with regional powers Turkey and Iran. Oman and Kuwait, two other states in the Gulf Cooperation Council, have not joined in. Food supplies and other goods are still flowing into Qatar’s docks and airports. And, no matter the White House’s mixed messaging, American diplomats appear to be pushing for conciliation and compromise with Qatar rather than seeking Doha’s acquiescence to the Saudi and Emirati demands.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/07/18/the-blockade-of-qatar-is-failing/

Let me close with something that few people will tell you…the Saudis export an extremist brand of Islam that is embraced by al-Qaeda and ISIS…..you want to look for the fathers of terrorism then look no further than Saudi Arabia.

With all the resources at the disposal of the Saudis and a friend like the US………Qatar wins!

foreignpolicy.com/2018/06/04/qatar-won-the-saudi-blockade

Saudis Make History

Another Sunday and another weekend……sunny, clouds and a cool breeze…..the perfect day…..

The new Saudi Crown Prince is making news plus he has hired a PR firm and has come to the throne of power in the US to meet with the ruler extraordinaire….

First the Saudis made history by showing a movie…..Let’s right made history by showing a movie…..

The lights dimmed and the crowd of men and women erupted into applause and hoots as Hollywood’s blockbuster Black Panther premiered in Saudi Arabia’s first movie theater. Though it was a private, invitation-only screening on Wednesday evening, for many Saudis it marked one of the clearest moments of change to sweep the country in decades, the AP reports. It’s seen as part of a new era in which women will soon be allowed to drive and people in the kingdom will be able to go to concerts and fashion shows, and tuck into a bucket of popcorn in a cinema. “This is a historic day for your country,” Adam Aron, CEO of AMC Entertainment, told the crowd at the screening. “It’s been about 37 years since you’ve been able to watch movies the way movies are meant to be watched in a theater, together on a big screen.”

Authorities said the public would be able to purchase tickets online on Thursday for showings starting Friday. But there may be delays. Movies screened in Saudi cinemas will be subject to approval by government censors, and Wednesday night’s premiere was no exception. Scenes of violence were not cut, but a final scene involving a kiss was axed. Still, it’s a stark reversal for a country where public movie screenings were banned in the 1980s during a wave of ultraconservatism that swept Saudi Arabia. Many Saudi clerics view Western movies and even Arabic films made in Egypt and Lebanon as sinful. Despite decades of ultraconservative dogma, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pushed through a number of major social reforms with support from his father, King Salman, to satiate the desires of the country’s majority young population.

Making history…..allowing Saudis to participate in something the rest of the world has enjoyed for about 100 years…..now that is progress!

There is more….

I do not know if my readers remember that the Saudis have a real dislike for Qatar……the war of words just took a silly turn from the Saudis……they hate Qatar so much they want to contaminate part of the Arabian Peninsula with nuke waste just to make a point….

Saudi Arabia has been accused of attempting to cut off former British protectorate Qatar from international trade with plans for a new military base and nuclear-waste burial site close to its border.

Riyadh is said to want to build a new industrial and economic hub and excavate a waterway along Qatar’s sole land border, allowing shipping to bypass the emirate.

News of the plan has prompted fears that Qatar, which has large natural reserves of oil and gas, could be cut off and effectively turned into an island.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/saudi-arabia-qatar-latest-updates-military-base-nuclear-dump-oil-gas-uae-a8296026.html

Seriously?

I can now understand why the Saudis love Trump…..both are petty tyrants……birds of a feather crap together…..or something like that….

Sunday is about to begin and I want to wish all my friends and readers a great day filled with joy and love……chuq

The Qatar Crisis–Update

The mash-up between the Saudis and the Qataris are still going full blast….the “demands” by the Saudis have been toned down a bit…but they are still demanding some unreasonable things from Qatar…

The US has their largest military base in the Middle East in Qatar and the Saudi coalition has been trying to persuade the US to close it down and move it elsewhere…..

The latest in a series of moves by President Trump that appeared to throw a wrench into State Department efforts to calm the Qatar blockade situation saw him telling the Saudi King today that the US could well just abandon their largest military base in the Middle East, the al-Udeid Airbase in Qatar.

Officials from the blockading states have previously suggested that the US ought to consider finding an alternative to the Qatar base, as State and Pentagon officials express concern the protracted blockade could start impacting US wars in the region, which are run out of the base.

This is a hugely important base for the US, and that’s a big part of why State Department officials have been so desperate to try to resolve the dispute. President Trump, however, has treated this base with relative ambivalence, and in his talk with King Salman today said he was confident other countries in the region would “gladly” build the US a replacement base if they abandoned Qatar.

(antiwar.com)

This seems like a bit of an overreach by the Saudis…..they want that cash from the US and will do whatever it takes to see the base closed….even helping in the hack that started this whole affair….at the time Qatar said they were hacked and the accusations were untrue…..and then they were vindicated….

In a stunning turn of events, the Washington Post is quoting US intelligence officials as saying that the “fake news” hack which started the Qatar blockade was actually the product of a plot concocted by top leaders of the United Arab Emirates, one of the blockading states.

The officials say US intelligence agencies were able to confirm a May 23 meeting by UAE leaders discussing the plan, and that the very next day, a Qatari state media outlet was hacked, and false quotes attributed to the Qatari Emir were planted there. The quotes praised Hamas and talked up Iran as an “Islamic Power,” and fueled an immediate backlash from Saudi Arabia, as well as its allies.

Qatari officials were quick to note the hack at the time, and brought in the FBI to help. At the time, there was speculation in the media that the US involvement meant Russia was suspected of involvement, though there was never any plausible reason why this might be the case.

The UAE, however, has long-standing grievances with Qatar, as do the other three blockading states, as all object to Qatari media outlets’ coverage offering more conflicting viewpoints than is common within the Middle East.

(antiwar.com)

Pres. Trump has been ignoring the evidence to make the Saudis happy….why?

While it is true that Qatar allows some factions to run an office out of their territory…

It wasn’t accidental, or surprising. Qatar has historically been very open to allowing controversial foreign factions to run offices out of their cities, with groups like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood finding a welcome in Qatar that simply doesn’t exist elsewhere.

This is also a big part of the foreign blockade against Qatar, as more restrictive nations like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the Egyptian junta don’t take kindly to Qatar playing host to their (often banned) opposition parties, and treat their permission to operate as tantamount to Qatari “support.” With openness to dissenting opinions also pervasive in Qatari media, but literally nowhere else in the Middle East, it’s turned them into something of a pariah.

Another thing to consider is that during the “Arab Spring”…while the more restrictive countries like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE were scrambling to protect their authoritarian rule, Qatar was often on the side of the protesters….thus began their fall from grace among the “kingdoms”.

For this reason should put the US squarely on the side of the Qataris……that is if we truly stand for democracy and freedom…but it appears that the opposite is becoming the norm under the Trump admin.

Time to make a stand!

The Axis Of Tyranny

We have had the Axis Powers from World War 2…….we then had the Axis of Evil from the Bush years of pushing crap on the American people and the world…..the Axis of Evil was Iran, Iraq and North Korea…..and now with the mash up between the Saudis and their monarchical allies and Qatar we have an new “Axis”….the Axis of Tyranny.

It began in 2011…..what the media named the Arab Spring.

That was a mere 6 years ago and yet it is mostly forgotten…..so I will refresh one’s memory if you so desire…..

The Arab Spring was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings and armed rebellions that spread across the Middle East in early 2011. But their purpose, relative success, and outcome remain hotly disputed in Arab countries, among foreign observers, and between world powers looking to cash in on the changing map of the Middle East.

Source: What Is the Arab Spring? A Definition

That was a historic battle between the forces of oppression and the forces of democracy.

Saudis and the other monarchs in the region began to sweat that it might spill over into their realms….and have been working ever since 2011 to curb any and all democratic movements…..

The Qatar-Gulf crisis is a battle rooted in the aborted first wave of the Arab Spring. So far, Arab despots have succeeded in curbing democratic change in the region, but their latest tactics come with much higher risks

The current Gulf Crisis that threatens to destabilise the whole region didn’t pop out of thin air. Its origins lie in a much deeper rivalry rooted in the geopolitics of the Arab Spring, when people rose up and threatened to overthrow an existing order that favoured the preservation of tyranny.

Authoritarian rulers in the region took this as a direct threat to their power and thus began to invest their resources in a counter-revolutionary effort led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Their neighbour, Qatar, home to the Al Jazeera news network, however, chose a different direction and decided to embrace change. Thus began a vicious contest in one of the world’s most strategic locations.

Source: Democracy and the Arab axis of tyranny | Middle East Eye

Of course Qatar will be the poster child of this assault on events from the past….the biggest “threat” is that they, Saudis, say that Qatar is harboring “terrorists”….and I say what like the US did with Operation Paper Clip?

All this is the Saudis setting themselves up as the “ruler” of the Middle East….what they say is the word of “God”…..keep in mind that the radical Islam of ISIS is a direct descendant from the Wahhabism of Saudi Arabia…..when you understand that then you can better understand this situation…

My problem is the mash up between Saudi and Iran…..the split between Sunni and Shia…..but if push comes to shove and the Saudis in bed with the US any conflict will involve the US and possibly its military.

Even now while this situation with Qatar is in its infancy there are indicators that something between the US and Iran are brewing……

The Saudi war in Yemen is really directed at…Iran. Donald Trump’s first overseas visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel was specifically targeted at…Iran. The Saudi-led isolation of Qatar is actually about…Iran.

The escalation of U.S. military actions against the Syria government is… well, do I really need to spell this out any further?

Donald Trump has identified several number-one enemies to target. Throughout the campaign, he emphasized the importance of throwing the full weight of the Pentagon against the Islamic State. More recently, his secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, identified North Korea as “the most urgent and dangerous threat to peace and security.”

Source: All Signs from Trump Point to a Coming Conflict with Iran

All this could be solved if only we had a State Department and a cadre of diplomats….all we have now is a pile of yes men that will do whatever their “fearless leader” wants them to do without any concern for the future and its meaning.

Why?

Donald J. Trump and Mohammed bin Salman have a similar outlook when it comes to Iran. Both see the Islamic Republic as a threat that needs to be contained. What then does the elevation of Mohammed bin Salman, commonly known as MBS, to the role of crown prince of Saudi Arabia mean for the Sunni kingdom’s relationship with Shi’ite Iran?

“Nothing good,” said F. Gregory Gause III, head of the international affairs department at Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government and Public Service.

Source: Saudi Arabia and the United States Are on a Collision Course With Iran | RealClearDefense

This conflict can be avoided….that is if that is what we actual want.

I am not so certain that a peaceful way out is desirable to the Trump people.

You Gotta Love Qatar

What can I say?  I have been on Qatar’s side since this mash up began…..for one I do not trust the Saudis at all and second, their demands were unreasonable…..just a refresher on the demands…

1) Scale down diplomatic ties with Iran and close the Iranian diplomatic missions in Qatar, expel members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and cut off military and intelligence cooperation with Iran. Trade and commerce with Iran must comply with US and international sanctions in a manner that does not jeopardise the security of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

2) Immediately shut down the Turkish military base that is currently being built, and halt military cooperation with Turkey inside Qatari territories.

3) Sever all ties to all the “terrorist, sectarian and ideological organisations,” specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIL, al-Qaeda, Fateh Al-Sham (formerly known as Nusra Front) and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Qatar needs to formally declare those entities as terrorist groups based on the list of groups that was announced by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt, and concur with all future updates of this list.

4) Stop all means of funding for individuals, groups or organisations that have been designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, US and other countries.

5) Hand over “terrorist figures,” fugitives and wanted individuals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain to their countries of origin. Freeze their assets, and provide any desired information about their residency, movements and finances.

6) Shut down Al Jazeera Network and its affiliate stations.

7) End interference in sovereign countries’ internal affairs. Stop granting citizenship to wanted nationals from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Revoke Qatari citizenship for existing nationals where such citizenship violates those countries’ laws.

8) Qatar has to pay reparations and compensation for loss of life and other financial losses caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years. The sum will be determined in coordination with Qatar.

9) Qatar must align itself with the other Gulf and Arab countries militarily, politically, socially and economically, as well as on economic matters, in line with an agreement reached with Saudi Arabia in 2014.

10) Submit all personal details of all the opposition members that Qatar supported and detail all support that Qatar has provided them in the past. Stop all contacts with the political opposition in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Hand over all files detailing Qatar’s prior contacts with and support for those opposition groups.

11) Shut down all news outlets that it funds, directly and indirectly, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al Araby Al Jadeed, Mekameleen and Middle East Eye, etc.

12) Agree to all the demands within 10 days of it being submitted to Qatar, or the list becomes invalid.

13) Consent to monthly audits for the first year after agreeing to the demands, then once per quarter during the second year. For the following 10 years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance.

First the Saudis issued their demands and then followed it up with an ultimatum…..Qatar had ten days to comply.

Ten days came and went….no compliance…then the Saudis extended the time frame……that came and went and no compliance…….what will be the next step for the Saudis…war?  More talk?

The chest thumping has toned itself down a bit…….

NO they did what bullies do…they backed down…..a “revised” list of demands….

– Prohibiting all acts of incitement and all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify hatred and violence.

– Full commitment to Riyadh Agreement 2013 and the supplementary agreement and its executive mechanism for 2014 within the framework of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for Arab States.

– Commitment to all the outcomes of the Arab-Islamic-US Summit held in Riyadh in May 2017.

– Refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of States and from supporting illegal entities.

– The responsibility of all States of international community to confront all forms of extremism and terrorism as a threat to international peace and security.

Source: Qatar and the GCC feud: The climb down begins | Middle East Eye

This tiny country stood up to the bullies of the neighborhood and won……

You gotta love it!

Off I go to be coddled, poked, prodded, massaged and …did I say prodded?

I will return as soon as I can escape from the medical establishment……’til then….have a day….chuq

puppymonkeybaby!

My Advice For The Saudis–“Bite Me”!

I have been writing a lot on the Saudi-Qatari mash up recently.

Does the Arab League still exist?

Where is the mediation by the League?

Questions for another post no doubt.

The Saudis have released their demands for this situation to be over…..

Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries that have cut ties to Qatar issued a steep list of demands Thursday to end the crisis, insisting that their Persian Gulf neighbor shutter broadcaster al-Jazeera, cut back diplomatic ties to Iran, and sever all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. In a 13-point list—presented to the Qataris by Kuwait, which is helping mediate the crisis—the countries also demand an end to Turkey’s military presence in Qatar. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain broke ties with Qatar this month over allegations the Persian Gulf country funds terrorism. Those countries have now given Qatar 10 days to comply with all of the demands, which include paying an unspecified sum in compensation.

According to the list, Qatar must refuse to naturalize citizens from the four countries and expel those currently in Qatar, in what the countries describe as an effort to keep Qatar from meddling in their internal affairs. They are also demanding that Qatar hand over all individuals who are wanted by those four countries for terrorism and provide detailed information on opposition figures it has funded. Qatari officials in Doha did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the AP. But the list included conditions that the gas-rich nation had already insisted would never be met, including shutting down al-Jazeera. A day earlier, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned the demands must be “reasonable and actionable.”

What are the specific terms issued by the Saudis?

1) Scale down diplomatic ties with Iran and close the Iranian diplomatic missions in Qatar, expel members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and cut off military and intelligence cooperation with Iran. Trade and commerce with Iran must comply with US and international sanctions in a manner that does not jeopardise the security of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

2) Immediately shut down the Turkish military base that is currently being built, and halt military cooperation with Turkey inside Qatari territories.

3) Sever all ties to all the “terrorist, sectarian and ideological organisations,” specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIL, al-Qaeda, Fateh Al-Sham (formerly known as Nusra Front) and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Qatar needs to formally declare those entities as terrorist groups based on the list of groups that was announced by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt, and concur with all future updates of this list.

4) Stop all means of funding for individuals, groups or organisations that have been designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, US and other countries.

5) Hand over “terrorist figures,” fugitives and wanted individuals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain to their countries of origin. Freeze their assets, and provide any desired information about their residency, movements and finances.

6) Shut down Al Jazeera Network and its affiliate stations.

7) End interference in sovereign countries’ internal affairs. Stop granting citizenship to wanted nationals from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Revoke Qatari citizenship for existing nationals where such citizenship violates those countries’ laws.

8) Qatar has to pay reparations and compensation for loss of life and other financial losses caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years. The sum will be determined in coordination with Qatar.

9) Qatar must align itself with the other Gulf and Arab countries militarily, politically, socially and economically, as well as on economic matters, in line with an agreement reached with Saudi Arabia in 2014.

10) Submit all personal details of all the opposition members that Qatar supported and detail all support that Qatar has provided them in the past. Stop all contacts with the political opposition in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Hand over all files detailing Qatar’s prior contacts with and support for those opposition groups.

11) Shut down all news outlets that it funds, directly and indirectly, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al Araby Al Jadeed, Mekameleen and Middle East Eye, etc.

12) Agree to all the demands within 10 days of it being submitted to Qatar, or the list becomes invalid.

13) Consent to monthly audits for the first year after agreeing to the demands, then once per quarter during the second year. For the following 10 years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance.

Okay now we know what the Saudis want.

MY advice to the Qatari government is to issue a two word statement…..”BITE ME!”

Saudis want to control the press…..they made no mention to Saudi citizens that have supported terrorism (start at home before you demand of others)…..Qatar should counter with reparations for the blockade…..Saudis want to pick Qatar’s friends…..Saudis want open access to Qatari monetary books…..Saudis are not concerned with rights and freedom of self-determination of Qatar……they want control.

In essence….BITE ME!

Qatar’s Ambassador to the United States Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani writes: Qatar’s policies are rational, moral and just, and our efforts to foster dialogue and oppose tyranny will lead to a better future not only for our people but also for the world. Qatar has the right to chart its own course, without the interference of other nations, and that is what we can and will do. The door to the negotiating table will stay open.

The UN needs to step up and act like the governing body they are suppose to be……Saudis are acting like the bully in the school yard…the world should not allow this to continue….it could have far reaching consequences.

Can Qatar Situation Be Solved?

As the situation with Qatar and the Saudis continues there seems to be No break in the events that are spiraling….someone has got to step up and take a hold on this situation…it could become ugly at any moment…..

Is there a resolution or is there not?

On Monday 5 June, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Egypt cut ties with the Gulf state of Qatar, claiming Doha’s regional policies were fueling extremism and terrorism. Within days, other states severed or downgraded ties and the rift appeared to be widening.

A week earlier, Gulf media—including social media—had erupted amid reports that Qatari Emir, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, made critical remarks against America in a speech, as well as offered support for Iran and backing to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatari officials denied the reports and countered that state media had been hacked. As that crisis quickly turned into a rift with Qatar’s Gulf and Arab neighbors, the need for serious mediation to head off further trouble became obvious.

Source: GCC crisis: How to resolve the diplomatic rift | Brookings Institution

I think all avenues should be explored before this situation turns ugly.

I recently asked the question…..did this have anything to do with the Trump visit?  I think so…..especially the events in Saudi Arabia recently……

Quick, name a candidate favored by President Trump who scored a victory this week. Sure, Karen Handel in Georgia and Ralph Norman in South Carolina come to mind, but the New York Times points out another: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. It wasn’t an election, of course, but he was named the new successor to the throne in his country, and the Times explains how Mohammed has emerged as an important ally of the Trump administration. One sign: The 31-year-old dined at the home of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump on a visit to DC, then returned the favor by hosting them on their visit to Saudi Arabia. Among other things, he favors a hard line against Iran and is leading the Saudi move to punish Qatar for its purported support of terrorism. Other coverage of the prince:

  • Fast rise: Mohammed effectively assumed control of the nation’s economic and defense policies in 2015, the same year his father took the throne, reports MarketWatch. Given that his father is 81, his ascension to crown prince raises the prospect that Saudi Arabia might have a king in the not-too-distant future who would rule for decades.
  • Nickname: He goes by MBS (or MbS), notes the AP in a profile of the “bold and ambitious risk taker.” The Washington Post has different adjectives used by detractors: “reckless and impulsive.”
  • Changing country: The Wall Street Journal assesses, noting the shakeup comes at a crucial point in modern Saudi history. “Low oil prices and mounting demographic pressures are tearing at the kingdom’s fragile social contract, making change even more urgent and political unity at the top a greater priority.” The king’s decision to replace his 57-year-old nephew with his son as successor was seen by close observers as inevitable.
  • Risk for US: That he shares Trump’s hawkish views on Iran might carry a risk for the US, analysts tell Reuters. Expect the Iran-Saudi Arabia hostility to intensify, which could make it more likely for the US to be “dragged deeper into the Sunni-Shi’ite conflict playing out across the Middle East.”
  • Worried: There may be some “quiet muttering” in Saudi Arabia about the the move, but don’t expect a challenge because the king’s decision is absolute, writes the Brookings Institution’s Bruce Riedel at Al-Monitor’s Gulf Pulse. “The longer-term costs of upsetting the legitimacy of the line of succession in the midst of low oil prices and regional tensions are much more worrisome,” he adds. “The young prince is poised to inherit a kingdom under stress at home and abroad.”
  • Oil markets: Traders are taking a leery, wait-and-see approach in regard to the world’s biggest oil-producing nation, reports CNBC. Older generations of rulers have let “seasoned technocrats” run the nation’s oil industry, notes the New York Times, but Mohammed is expected to exert more control.
  • Unique system: Need a primer on Saudi Arabia’s monarchial system? Slate provided one in 2015 when current King Salman took over. Any king must be a male descendant of the first king, Abdulaziz, who died in 1953. That has made for a line of relatively old successors up until now.

Qatar is just an extension of the new US policy for the Middle East…..administered by the Saudis.

A recent article in a pro-Russian site throws water on this blockade….

Speaking to the media in his latest tour to the US, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister insisted that there was no blockade of Qatar, yet he insisted that the latter was not allowed to use their, as also of their allies’, air space and territorial waters. Standing next to the rather reticent US secretary of the state, Rex Tillerson, he said that “Qatar was free to go” and yet the Qatar airways was not allowed to use Saudi air space. Whereas the delicate difference the Saudis seem to be making between their policy and those of other countries, who the former would have wanted to impose identical restrictions on Qatar, is a reflection of Saudia’s limits, it also shows that the House of Saud has rather shot itself in the foot by opening a solo-front against Qatar, a country that nevertheless has a big American military base and has on its side a powerful Arab ally, Turkey. What the whole episode has brought unmistakably to the forefront is that there exist a number of countries within the “Sunni coalition” who do not see eye to eye with Saudi policies and are more comfortable in following rather independent course of action.

Qatar Could Be The Trigger

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.

Source: Africa: Qatar’s Conflict With Its Neighbours Can Easily Set the Horn of Africa Alight – allAfrica.com

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.

Source: The Qatari crisis may destroy what little order remains in the Middle East | Middle East Eye

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.

(antiwar.com)

Why has this region gotten more unstable since the Trump visit?

Just asking.

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.

Source: The Real Reason behind Qatar’s Gulf State Freeze Out | The American Conservative

This situation is fascinating……all the intrigue of a “Game of Thrones”…..how will it end?

Qatar: The Rest Of The Story

 By now if you are an IR geek then you are scratching your head about the situation in the Persian Gulf region……Qatar and Saudis are having a  moment of dispute…..Trump has weighed in on Saudis side and condemned the Qataris for their support of terrorism…..debate lines (for now) are being drawn…..

After his, Trump, scathing condemnation of Qatar abd then he authorizes a sell of weapons to the very same country……

Defense Secretary James Mattis and his Qatari counterpart, Defense Minister Khalid al-Attiyah have signed a $12 billion arms deal today in Washington, a move made particularly high-profile because of the ongoing blockade imposed on Qatar by its Gulf Arab neighbors.

The agreement is for the purchase of a number of F-15 fighter jets, a sale which the Pentagon says will ensure that Qatar has “state-of-the-art” defensive capabilities. Qatar is the richest nation on the planet in per-capital GDP, but a very small nation to be spending $12 billion on warplanes.

Over the past couple of decades, oil-rich Gulf Arab states have used some of their massive oil revenue to buy US warplanes as sort of prestige pieces to trot out during parades and the like. That tensions are rising between Qatar and the other nations, who have their own large fleets of US warplanes, but this purchase in a totally different context.

(antiwar.com)

So what is the rest of the story?

Ambassador from the United Arab Emirates suggested the US should move their base out of Qatar to “pressure” them. That, it seems, is not under serious consideration from the Pentagon.

So is it about the US base location?  Or about the support for terrorism?

Could it be more geopolitical than we are told?

The intra-Arab rift that has set Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt against Qatar is now in its second week. A feud that seemed to begin as a principled stand against Doha’s support for terrorism—one flash point was Qatar’s recent payment of nearly $1 billion to Iran and to Sunni extremists to liberate a hunting party held captive in Iraq— now appears to be something else.

The diplomatic crisis splitting the Gulf Cooperation Council isn’t really about Sunni extremism, or Qatar’s easy flirtation with Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. Thus it has nothing to do with the larger issues shaping American foreign policy and the role of our GCC allies in implementing it. No, it’s just Abu Dhabi waging political warfare against Doha with a specific goal in mind—to get the United States to move its military base from Qatar to the UAE.

Source: The Real Story Behind the Diplomatic Crisis With Qatar | The Weekly Standard

As an IR geek this is just too damn interesting to pass up.

The question now is….will this situation have a possible diplomatic solution?

If it does then the US may well not have anything to do with the solution…..the top US diplomat in Qatar has resigned because of the wonky Trump foreign policy.

Confrontation appears to be in the wind…will calmer heads prevail?