Editor’s Note: if the truth be told, I am often loathe to write about Middle Eastern politics except in the most American-centric terms because the foreign policy situations involved often touch on emotionally charged subjects like religion, political violence and US willingness to slaughter hundreds of thousands of people to ensure a steady supply of oil – as well as guaranteeing that the purchase of oil in general is conducted using American dollars.
Unfortunately however, the American corporate media does such an incredibly poor job reporting on US foreign policy and international news that I occasionally feel obligated to deconstruct stories about politics and conflict in the Persian Gulf simply to counteract the largely complicit reporting and disinformation seemingly conducted on behalf of the US war machine as part of any given story about the region.
I mention this because in today’s Brief Thought we’re going to talk about a story that’s largely being reported as a “spat” between Qatar and other middle eastern nations but could actually be the beginning of new phase in a long-brewing conflict between American ally Saudi Arabia and Russian ally Iran for dominance over the entire Persian Gulf region:
Note: Please be reminded that if you’re having trouble reading this info graphic, you can right click on the picture and select “view this image” to pop out a larger version. Additionally, don’t forget to check out my comments after the sources section of this article.
The first thing you need to understand here is that as is often the case in real life, there simply is no “good guy” in this story; Qatar does support violent extremists who commit terrorist attacks on foreign soil and so does Saudi Arabia for that matter. Swine emperor Trump’s government is stacked to the rafters with guys who would absolutely like to invade Iran and both of these nations may also support violent extremists and terrorism around the globe; although the direct evidence that Iran does so is at least somewhat questionable based on the source (the US State Department) alone.
The second thing you need to know is that this delicate situation is playing out against the backdrop of the ongoing Syrian conflict which in turn is part of a larger struggle between the United States and Russia to ensure that their allies and client states dominate the Middle East going forward. Adding to the degree of diplomatic complexity is the fact that the United States is closely allied with both Saudi Arabia and Qatar; indeed the US maintains important, fully staffed military bases in both countries and has announced that it currently has no intention of changing this situation. Further tightening this convoluted knot of intrigue are increasingly public revelations that it is in fact Saudi Arabia who is the number one sponsor of terrorism around the globe and this has forced both the KSA and the US into a hysterical posture of aggression and blame-shifting towards Iran; which works out well for a Republican Party that simply cannot wait to start Sand Vietnam at the earliest opportunity. As if all that weren’t enough however, the story itself is absolutely fucking bonkers – claims of fake news, accusations of state-sponsored hacking and longstanding, shadowy arms deals all intertwine with ongoing geopolitical intrigue in a region known for it’s backroom negotiations and shifting alliances.
Finally, it is important to note that while this is not the first time KSA and Qatar have been involved in a very public diplomatic spat about relations with Iran and this disagreement has clearly been festering for a while; this entire situation is obviously both quite serious and highly volatile. The (now 6) nations involved have suspended Qatari air traffic over their territory while closing land and sea routes; forcing traffic to and from the nation to reroute while effectively soft-locking Qatar out of travel throughout the Middle East and threatening to quickly cause a food shortage crisis in the wealthy, but hardly self-sufficient Gulf nation. Saudi Arabia & the UAE have blocked the respected Qatari news site Al-Jazeera in their territories and you know shit is getting more than a little real when not even billion dollar airline companies are immune to the effects of the simmering conflict. Qatari nationals have been given a mere two weeks to leave the participating countries and while US National Security officials are downplaying the severity of the disagreement you sincerely have to wonder if they would even know whether or not Trump and the Saudis had worked out a deal to fuck over Qatar in light of recent news that Herr Donald may be keeping secrets from his own advisors.
Any fool can see that this diplomatic crisis is a rapidly unfolding, highly complex political time bomb that definitely warrants more than a forty-five second teaser on the nightly news; but by and large, the US media has shown little interest in getting to the bottom of this fascinating story. Perhaps that’s because examining the additional context provided in this piece should naturally lead observers to ask a singular, but terrifying question – doesn’t anyone trust the bumbling, ridiculously inept Trump government to steer the country through this minefield without drawing the United States into another unwinnable war in the Middle East? Are we sure Trump even wants to avoid that result?
Smoke em if you got em kids, somehow the situation in the Persian Gulf just managed to get even worse overnight.
- Nina Illingworth
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