In the Middle East, no nation has clean hands. Most utilize proxies to meddle in others’ internal affairs. What’s unique about Qatar is that it has fanned the flames of unrest on all sides of the inter-Sunni and inter-Arab conflicts while promoting warmer relations with their primary nemesis: Iran. In other words, not only does Qatar have dirty hands, they’re simultaneously sticking them in all regional pies. It was only a matter of time before their neighbors caught on.Sponsored Links
It’s Been Like This for a While
The change in foreign policy direction dates back to 1995, when the former emir was overthrown by his son. Since then, Qatar has grown far more adventurous and duplicitous.
Internal discussions, between the army and Shin Bet, tend toward the possibility of an upcoming escalation in the strip. This is supported by intelligence reports stating that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is deteriorating because of infrastructure problems which affect the water and electricity supply, in addition to the financial and political pressure exerted by the Palestinian Authority on Hamas.
Furthermore, Qatar, which hosts several Hamas leaders, is dealing with a diplomatic boycott and international pressure, which could affect its financial support for the militant movement.
A general assumption is that Hamas will take aggressive measures and start a new war to improve the economic situation and its position in the Arab world. Hamas wants to improve its status in the Arab world as many countries began referring to it as a terrorist entity.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards say Saudi Arabia supported ISIS in the deadly twin attacks in Tehran on Wednesday, an accusation likely to infuriate the Saudi kingdom amid high tensions in the region.
At least 12 people were killed when six attackers mounted simultaneous gun and suicide bomb assaults on Iran’s Parliament building and the tomb of the republic’s revolutionary founder, in one of the most audacious assaults to hit Tehran in decades. The targets were highly symbolic.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps vowed revenge for the attack, and tied it to the visit of US President Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia in May.
Tehran Terrorist Attacks Risk Unleashing All-Out War Between Iran And Saudi Arabia | HuffPost
The twin assault, the worst terrorist attack Tehran has seen in more than a decade, also came at a time of heightened regional tension, with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir calling for Iran to be punished for what it deemed interference in regional affairs and various politicians weighing in on an escalating Qatar crisis. The shocking strike, coupled with the chaos, could mean an exacerbation of several bad situations if tensions aren’t quelled.
Israel’s security agencies, as well as its diplomatic echelons, have been operating on the assumption that Hamas is under threat, experiencing severe economic and military hardship, and thus had no desire or ability to change the “rules of the game” established after Israel’s destructive 2014 Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. In other words, Israel’s assessment until now had been that Hamas was not interested in opening a new front against it in the near future.
Now, it seems, Israel will be forced to change its policies toward the Gaza Strip in general and Hamas in particular. Any Iranian imprint will be regarded as a security threat to Israel. On the eve of Operation Protective Edge, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted, “Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay,” signaling that Hamas would be held responsible for any rockets fired from Gaza at Israel. This is just as relevant today. If Hamas in the era of Haniyeh and Sinwar opens the gates of Gaza to Iranian military influence, Hamas will pay.
What are the new rules of the game? They are Iran’s rules. Iran will decide when the next war happens with Israel. Just like it will decide for Hezbollah and Syria.
Sarajevo 1914, Doha 2017? We could be at a historic moment akin to the assassination of the heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which resulted in what became known as the Great War. This time, though, the possible clash is between a Saudi-United Arab Emirates force and Iran. Washington is going to have to act quickly to stop the march to war, rather than wait for the carnage to begin.
The nominal target of Saudi Arabia and the UAE is Qatar, which has long diverged from the Arab Gulf consensus over Iran. Riyadh and a growing list of Arab countries broke ties Monday with the gas-rich emirate, and Saudi Arabia announced that it had halted permission for Qatari overflights, closed the land border, and banned ships bound for Qatar transiting its waters. This is a casus belli by almost any definition. For perspective, the Six-Day War, which occurred 50 years ago this week, was prompted by Egypt’s closure of the Straits of Tiran, thus cutting off Israel’s access to the Red Sea.
There are three main actors seeking to change the world into a sphere of influence model: Russia, China and Iran. In each case there is talk of war in or near their sphere of influence. There is also talk of war between Iran’s allies and Israel.
Chief Khaled Mashaal said on Monday that Hamas is an “open war” with Israel, in the senior Palestinian leader’s first response to the mysterious assassination of Mazen Fuqaha, a top Hamas militant.
“We were and we still are in an open war with criminal enemy,” Mashaal declared, speaking to a memorial service for Fukaha in Gaza via video broadcast.
Mashal on assassination: ‘We are at open war’ against Israel | Ynetnews News
Following the assassination of Hamas commander Mazan Fukha, leader Khaled Mashal threatened on Monday that his organization was in “an open war against the criminal enemy.”
“The enemy has uprooted a hero from our heroes in Gaza,” Mashal said during a memorial ceremony for Fukha in a speech broadcast to Al-Qubaisa Square in Gaza City from Qatar, where he resides.
Gaza: Israel’s war drums are getting louder | | Al Jazeera
The timing and the tactic of Faqha’s killing raise questions about the possibility of another conflagration between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian factions in Gaza agree unanimously that Israel was behind the assassination. Israel had accused Faqha of planning attacks against it from the occupied West Bank while he lived in the coastal enclave. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied involvement.
Qatar will continue to arm Syrian rebels even if Donald Trump ends U.S. backing for the multinational effort, Doha’s foreign minister said in an interview, signaling its determination to pursue a policy the U.S. President-elect may abandon.
But Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said the wealthy Gulf state would not “go solo” and supply shoulder-fired missiles to the rebels to defend themselves against Syrian and Russian warplanes.
While the rebels needed more military support, any move to supply “Manpad” anti-aircraft weapons to them would have to be decided collectively by the rebels’ backers, the minister, a member of Qatar’s royal family, told Reuters late on Saturday.
The French government undoubtedly sees that it cannot prevent what increasingly looks like a looming disaster. This disaster is already taking place.
Perhaps France’s current government is hoping that it might delay the disaster a bit and avoid a civil war. Perhaps, they might hope, the “no go zones” will not explode — at least on their watch.
France today has six million Muslims, 10% of its population, and the percentage is growing. Polls show that one-third of French Muslims want the full application of Islamic sharia law. They also show that the overwhelming majority of French Muslims support jihad, and especially jihad against Israel, a country they would like to see erased from the face of earth.
The leading French Muslim organization, the Union of Islamic Organizations of France, is the French branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, a movement that should be listed as a terrorist organization for its open wishes to overthrow Western governments.
The Muslim Brotherhood is primarily financed by Qatar, a country that invests heavily in France — and that has the comfort of its very own U.S. airbase.
Jews are leaving France in record numbers, and these departures do not stop. Sammy Ghozlan, President of the National Bureau of Vigilance against Anti-Semitism, repeated for many years that, “It is better to leave than flee.” He was mugged. His car was torched. He left, and now lives in Israel.
The rest of the French population clearly sees the extreme seriousness of what is happening. Some of them are angry and in a state of revolt; others seem resigned to the worst: an Islamist takeover of Europe.
The next French elections will take place in May 2017. French President François Hollande has lost all credibility and has no chance of being reelected. Whoever comes to power will have a difficult task.
The French seem to have lost confidence in Nicolas Sarkozy, so they will probably choose between Marine Le Pen, Alain Juppé or François Fillon.
Marine Le Pen is the candidate of the far-right National Front.
Despite a news blackout, events on the ground confirm that the battle for Jerusalem and Al Aqsa Mosque has entered a new and dangerous phase. In the past, officials on both sides of the divide claimed that Palestine-Israel was just a “political dispute”; religious persuasion, they insisted, was not an important factor. This is no longer the case; religious heritage and rights now dominate the discourse and are shaping the course of events.
When thousands of Jews converged on occupied Jerusalem last weekend to mark what they believed to be the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 CE, the message was abundantly clear. Israel’s Deputy Defence Minister Eli Dahan confirmed their intention: “We are here to announce that we’ve returned to Jerusalem and that we’re preparing our hearts to return to the Temple Mount and rebuild the Temple.”
As a warning, he added, “We’re not ashamed of this: We want to build the Third Temple on the Temple Mount.”
Egypt joins in condemnation of Israel over Temple Mount – Middle East – News
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry on Monday joined Jordan in condemning Israel for permitting Jews to enter the Temple Mount, Haaretz reports.
The ministry’s statement came a day after police arrested a number of Jews for violating visitation rules at the site on Sunday, when Jews observed the Tisha B’Av fast marking the destruction of the ancient First and Second Temples.
Some 400 Jews visited the site on Sunday, a fact which angered Egypt as well as Jordan’s King Abdullah, who told the Jordanian daily Al-Dustour,”Jordan will fight Israeli aggression, which is manifested by the incursion of extremist Israelis into the mosque compound.”
About twenty countries around the world are dependent on a single number: the price of oil. Some, primarily Persian Gulf states, live entirely off their oil and gas wealth. They rely on crude oil, natural gas and petroleum products for 50 percent of their Gross Domestic Product and for 70-plus percent of their budget revenue. Some 15 countries generate more than 50 percent of their export earnings from oil, gas and petroleum product sales.
Oil-producing countries have been living a dream. In recent decades, most oil-producing countries saw their per-capita GDP not only expand but show a rate of growth above the global average. In other words, they were getting rich faster than the rest of the world. In terms of dollar-denominated GDP per capita, as crude prices peaked in 2011 Russia and Kazakhstan outstripped Malaysia and Turkey; Saudi Arabia and Equatorial Guinea nearly overtook South Korea; Kuwait shot ahead of Great Britain, while Qatar rose to rank as one of the three richest nations. The new generation of the petrostates’ political elite has come to look on oil rent as a means to achieve all its goals. And yet, many experts will call the oil windfall a curse, not a blessing. A prosperity that is due to the sheer accident of owning large mineral resources rather than to technological prowess, investment and hard work has its downsides, including the degradation of political systems, the throttling of competition and the proliferation of populist fiscal policies.