07/06/2017, 14.53
QATAR-GULF
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More peaceable tones cannot hide worsening of Doha, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi crisis

by Pierre Balanian

The ultimatum null and void. The Muslim Brotherhood – approved of by the United States and Great Britain - have been branded as a "terrorist organization" even by Bahrain. Toning down of demands made against Al Jazeera. The independent character of Qatar and the power of the Prince of the Emirates. Wahhabism is trying to take control of the Middle East.

Riyadh (AsiaNews) - The ultimatum delivered to Qatar (extended by 48 hours) expired yesterday to resounding silence and a pointless press conference, held by four foreign ministers of the accusing countries: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates , Bahrain and Egypt.

Journalists who came to listen to what the reactions would be after the expiration of the ultimatum and Qatar's refusal to comply with the conditions could only republish the poor response of Bahrain Foreign Minister Khaled Ben Ahmed Al Khalifa: "Any decisions will take time. " He also said that the four countries have decided to meet regularly to decide on what to do and that the next meeting will be held in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, the weakest link in the anti-Qatar coalition, whose kingdom survived thanks to Saudi Arabia and the Emirates’ military intervention.

The only novelty was the decision to "recognize the Movement of Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, now outlawed in the four countries and that the arrest of all members, sympathizers, supporters and divisions will continue". But this really isn’t anything new either: this last decision concerns only Bahrain since the Muslim Brotherhood Movement is already outlawed in Egypt and Saudi Arabia (since 2013) and in the United Arab Emirates (since November 2014) while the United States and Britain refuse to classify the Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) as a terrorist group.

During the Joint Press Conference of the four Foreign Ministers, however, there was a slight toning down in rhetoric and according to rumors from Riyadh, it would appear that the four countries are reviewing some conditions such as the one demanding the closure of Al Jazeera. Now they merely want a change in the broadcasters editorial style, namely it must refrain from criticizing the Saudi royal family and the Emirates and no longer be given permission to broadcast through the Nile Sat and Arab Sat satellites (a sanction already applied against the Syrian State TV Al Manar, the Hezbollah Television).

The one condition that has been ignored by almost everyone is the demand for the expulsion of the last remaining and only Christian scholar and academic of great caliber and credibility in the Islamic world who lives in Qatar. He is about Azmi Antun Bshara, born in Nazareth in 1956, former member of the Israeli Knesset and supporter of the Arab unity.

This entire situation only reinforces that the Gulf crisis and the fight against Qatar is further strengthening the position of the Wahhabites in their struggle for the domination of the Sunni world and non-Islamic minorities. The question that many ask is: Why now? And what are the reasons for the sudden supremacy of the Wahhabi tekphyrs over the Muslim Brotherhood? And who is the true supporter of the new Wahhabite power?

The engine of the crisis against Qatar is not in Riyadh, but in the United Arab Emirates and precisely in the hands of Mohamed Ben Zayed, the prince of Abu Dhabi, son of the founder of the Emirates, Minister of Defense of the Emirates, brother of the current Prince of the Emirates and heir to the throne.

It is he who governs all Arab Gulf countries except Qatar, Oman and Yemen. His hate of Doha is fed by Qatar’s independent nature, its love of its decision-making autonomy since the past when Qatariots were simple pearl fishers wandering around the Asian oceans trading their pearls and defying the pirates of the Emirates. Qatar enjoys relative well-being, financial and diplomatic success and a strong presence in global media (through Al Jazeera); Qatar is the only emirate to entertain good relations with friends, but also with Gulf enemies (Iran, Russia, China, Israel, etc.). This further irritates the United Arab Emirates, which wants to be number one in the region.

The desire for revenge against Qatar has been simmering for decades since the 2 December 1971 when the Arab Emirates were created by the union of the small principalities of those once known as the Principals of the Oman Coast. Qatar was invited to join the United Arab Emirates, but Doha refused, choosing to remain independent with will power that far exceeds its geographic extent of 10,700 sq. Km.

The creation of the Gulf Countries Council 36 years ago held this in check for years, but the Arab Spring and Qatar's support for the Egyptian uprising, which overthrew Hosni Mubarak, a family friend of the Prince of the Emirates, re-ignited rivalry.

Hence the alibi for the crisis sustained by Saudi Arabia and the Arab Emirates: Qatar supports Islamic terrorism. The Syrian Foreign Ministry has called this accusation together "pathetic and comic", since none of the three countries is immune to the accusation. In fact, one only has to think of the nationality of the attackers of the two twin towers in New York; of those who created the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and finally Daesh with all its myriad of affiliates scattered in Syria and Iraq to realize that Saudi Arabia and Emirates are the last to be able to make that accusation. One only has to look at the books of Islamic fundamentalism left behind by terrorists fleeing from Iraq and Syria to see that the most popular dogmatic textbook of terrorists is Mohammed Ben Abdel Wahhab, founder of Wahhabism. Yet, with the green light of the United States, it continues to support Wahhabism.

Trump's visit to Riyadh is also attributable to the ability of the Emirates. Mohamed Ben Zayed from Abu Dhabi played his hand at the right time, taking advantage of the power change in the Saud royal family, founders of the kingdom, from children to grandchildren. After the generation of the children, with the last Salman king now ill and on the point of leaving the throne, the struggle for the throne had begun among the more than 1,500 existing grandchildren. Among the first classed were Mohamed ben Nayef, supported by Qatar, and Mohamed ben Salman, who will be 32 in August, supported by the Emirates. Mohamed ben Salman, who is said to be willing to become the next king, needed to meet three conditions: the support of the Al Saud family; That of Wahhabi religious and American consensus.

Mohamed Ben Zayed of Abu Dhabi mobilized the US financial and media lobby in the United States and has succeeded in making Mohamed Ben Salman the heir to the throne. In return, the new heir to the throne allied himself with the Emirates bringing Bahrain with him. Egypt joined because of its ongoing battle against the Muslim Brotherhood.

With the defeat of Mohamed Ben Nayef on Qatar, it was possible to isolate Doha by widening the attack to the Muslim Brotherhood, as wished by the Wahhabites in Saudi Arabia, now supported even more firmly by Abu Dhabi.

The Hamas (Muslim Brotherhood) card is still supported by the anti Sissi groups in Sinai. Will Egypt succeed in holding Hamas to ransom, and the Gaza Strip, surrounded and devoid of electricity this summer? Making allies through the opening of the Rafah pass, now that Qatar is isolated may be an unrepeatable occasion. The crossing is closed for 100 days for Arab Emirates have already spent millions of dollars to make it safe and secure.

The game continues and the game of chess between Abu Dhabi and Qatar may have only just begun.

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