Qatar’s crisis is more dangerous than the war of Yemen to Saudi Arabia أزمة قطر أخطر على السعودية من حرب اليمن

Qatar’s crisis is more dangerous than the war of Yemen to Saudi Arabia

يونيو 15, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Due to the crisis caused by the Saudi decision of imposing the siege on Qatar in order to bring it down by either a coup or an occupation or both of them the signs of marking time began to emerge. Qatar succeeded in absorbing the first consequences of the war and succeeded in securing the elements of marking time, and mobilizing positions that protect it against the military invasion with a formal coup or without it. The title became the form of a settlement and the negotiation to reach it, this title was in favor of Qatar by making the siege a daily event to coexist with the crisis normally inside Qatar or outside it.

Many people think that what Mohammed Bin Salman thought when he took the decision of the war on Qatar that the US and the Israeli coverage are enough to say that the war has ended and what is left are executive steps for sequent days, but those forget what Bin Salman forgot that such of this coverage was available in his war on Yemen according to the same scenario and for days and weeks, but now after two years and a half the war has not ended and it seems that it has no end.

All the differences between Yemen and Qatar are in favor of the turning of Qatar’s crisis into what is more dangerous than the war of Yemen to Saudi Arabia, because the Saudi enemy in Yemen is a poor party that cannot buy the officials of the West and does not belong to the same system of connections and interest to which Saudi Arabia belongs, so the dealing with it concerning the major interests is frightening as the dealing with the resistant team as Ansar Allah, while Qatar is a source of temptation. In both cases the issue is not the danger of an Iranian intervention which the Saudis know that it is not possible, but in case of Qatar the danger becomes present through the Turkish intervention on the basis that Turkey considers that overthrowing Qatar is a way to alienate it away from the race with Saudi Arabia for reserving the first seat versus Iran in the regional system.

In the case of Yemen, the coexistence with the war without horizon is an achievement of victory that is related to military, financial, human, and moral attrition, but the coexistence with the Qatari crisis without horizon is a resolving in favor of Saudi Arabia, which means the preparation for a formal settlement where the two teams know that it is a truce for a declared Cold War in which money, media, terrorism, and diplomacy will be used. Both of them have enough balance to wage this war in order to cause the fall of the other from the inside, after the attempt of besieging it and affecting it from outside. The Gulf will witness a mobility that was not known before in the quest to attract the opponents of the other, financing, recruiting, organizing, and activating them. There will be rounds and rounds. Therefore, although the Saudis wanted from disciplining Qatar to make it an example for others, but the example of Qatar will turn to be an encouraging example for disobedience.

The coexistence with the Qatari crisis will be a continuous fire, where the forces which have hostility with Saudi Arabia and Qatar will benefit from it as Iran, Syria, the national forces in Yemen and Bahrain, moreover the Qatari and the Saudi groups will fight in Syria, and the money will be paid to attract the European and the American media towards the Lebanese one in this war. It seems that it is the time for the wars which exhausted the Orient to calm down because the Gulf arena has become chaff that is ready to be ignited.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

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أزمة قطر أخطر على السعودية من حرب اليمن

يونيو 13, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– بدأت علامات المراوحة في الأزمة الناشئة بقرار سعودي بفرض الحصار على قطر تميهداً لإسقاطها سواء بالانقلاب أو بالاحتلال أو بكليهما، فقد نجحت قطر بامتصاص الوجبة الأولى من الحرب، ونجحت بتأمين عناصر المراوحة، وحشد مواقف تحصنها ضد الغزو العسكري بانقلاب صوري أو بدونه. وصار العنوان هو شكل التسوية والتفاوض وصولاً لها، وهو عنوان لصالح قطر في جعل الحصار من يوميات الأحداث، وجعل التعايش مع خبر الأزمة أمراً اعتيادياً داخل قطر وخارجها.

– للوهلة الأولى يظنّ كثيرون أن ما ظنه محمد بن سلمان عندما اتخذ قرار الحرب على قطر أن التغطية الأميركية و»الإسرائيلية» كافية للقول إن الحرب انتهت، والباقي خطوات تنفيذية لأيام متسلسلة مرسومة في ذهن بن سلمان. ويتناسى هؤلاء ما نسيه بن سلمان وهو أن مثل هذه التغطية توافرت له في حربه على اليمن، وفقاً للسيناريو ذاته في مخيّلته لأيام وأسابيع وها هي تنهي سنتين ونصفاً ولم تنته، ولا يبدو في الأفق أن لها نهاية.

– كل الفوارق بين حالتي اليمن وقطر لصالح تحول أزمة قطر إلى ما هو أخطر من حرب اليمن على السعودية، فعدو السعودية في اليمن طرف فقير لا يستطيع شراء ذمم المسؤولين في الغرب، ولا ينتمي لمنظومة الارتباطات والمصالح ذاتها التي تنتمي إليها السعودية، فيخيف التعامل معه على المصالح الكبرى بمثل ما يفعل التفكير بالتعامل مع فريق مقاوم كأنصار الله، بينما في المجالين قطر مصدر إغراء، وفي الحالين ليست القضية خطر تدخل إيراني يعرف السعوديون أنه غير وارد، بل في حال قطر خطر صار حاضراً بالتدخل التركي على خلفية اعتبار تركيا إسقاط قطر إحكاماً للطوق على عنقها في ماراتون المسافات الطويلة من السباق بينها وبين السعودية على حجز المقعد الأول مقابل إيران في النظام الإقليمي.

– في حالة اليمن التعايش مع الحرب بلا أفق تحقيق نصر استنزاف عسكري ومالي وبشري ومعنوي، لكن التعايش مع الأزمة القطرية من دون أفق حسم لصالح السعودية يعني التهيئة لتسوية شكلية يعرف الفريقان أنها هدنة لحرب باردة معلنة سيستعمل فيها المال والإعلام والإرهاب والدبلوماسية. ولكل منهما رصيد كافٍ لخوض هذه الحرب لمحاولة إسقاط الآخر من الداخل بعد محاولة حصاره وشيطنته في الخارج. وسيشهد الخليج حراكاً لم يعرفه من قبل في السعي لاستقطاب كل طرف لكل خصوم الآخر وتمويلهم وتجنيدهم وتنظيمهم وتفعيلهم، وستكون جولات وجولات، وما كان يريده السعوديون تأديباً لغير قطر بالعبرة مما حلّ بها سيتحوّل نموذج قطر تشجيعاً لتكرار شق عصا الطاعة.

– المساكنة مع جمر الأزمة القطرية حريق متواصل، ستستفيد منه قوى تقف على طرف الخصومة مع السعودية وقطر معاً، ستستفيد إيران وسورية وتستفيد القوى الوطنية في اليمن والبحرين وستتناحر حتى الموت الجماعات القطرية والسعودية في سورية، وسيبذل المال على استقطاب الإعلام الأوروبي والأميركي وصولاً للبناني في هذه الحرب هنا وهناك. وسيبدو أن نار الحروب التي أنهكت المشرق قد آن لها أن ترتاح لأن ساحة الخليج قد صارت هشيماً مستعداً لتقف كرة النار.

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Syria: ‘Farce’ Taking Place in Gulf Proves We’re Right

June 13, 2017

Syria Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Al-Mekdad

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said the situation in Syria in light of the Gulf crisis is “good.”

In remarks published by Syrian daily al-Watan, Mekdad said the “farce” taking place between Gulf States “proves we are right.”

“The situation of the battlefield is good now. I am always optimistic,” the Syrian diplomat told the newspaper.

“Since the beginning (of the Syrian crisis), we have been saying that Gulf States are supporting terrorism,” he said, stressing that both Qatar and Saudi Arabia have involved in terrorism practiced in Syria.

Meanwhile, Mekdad said the despite Turkey’s attempt to hinder Astana talks, Damascus is in contact with Moscow and Tehran in order to help in the success of the talks.

On the other hand, the Syrian official stressed that northern and southern Syria are Syrian territories and “no foreign side has the right to interfere in our internal issues.”

“This war is against terrorism, and whoever wants to counter terrorism must coordinate with the Syrian army and the Syrian government through legitimate ways of contact.”

Source: Al-Manar

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This Is The Real Story Behind The Crisis Unfolding In Qatar

Only Shakespeare’s plays could come close to describing such treachery – the comedies, that is

By Robert Fisk

June 11, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –

The Qatar crisis proves two things: the continued infantilisation of the Arab states, and the total collapse of the Sunni Muslim unity supposedly created by Donald Trump’s preposterous attendance at the Saudi summit two weeks ago.

After promising to fight to the death against Shia Iranian “terror,” Saudi Arabia and its closest chums have now ganged up on one of the wealthiest of their neighbours, Qatar, for being a fountainhead of “terror”. Only Shakespeare’s plays could come close to describing such treachery. Shakespeare’s comedies, of course.

For, truly, there is something vastly fantastical about this charade. Qatar’s citizens have certainly contributed to Isis. But so have Saudi Arabia’s citizens.

No Qataris flew the 9/11 planes into New York and Washington. All but four of the 19 killers were Saudi. Bin Laden was not a Qatari. He was a Saudi.

But Bin Laden favoured Qatar’s al-Jazeera channel with his personal broadcasts, and it was al-Jazeera who tried to give spurious morality to the al-Qaeda/Jabhat al-Nusrah desperadoes of Syria by allowing their leader hours of free airtime to explain what a moderate, peace-loving group they all were.

Saudi Arabia cuts ties with Qatar over terror links

First, let’s just get rid of the hysterically funny bits of this story. I see that Yemen is breaking air links with Qatar. Quite a shock for the poor Qatari Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, since Yemen – under constant bombardment by his former Saudi and Emirati chums – doesn’t have a single serviceable airliner left with which to create, let alone break, an air link.

The Maldives have also broken relations with Qatar. To be sure, this has nothing to do with the recent promise of a Saudi five-year loan facility of $300m to the Maldives, the proposal of a Saudi property company to invest $100m in a family resort in the Maldives and a promise by Saudi Islamic scholars to spend $100,000 on 10 “world class” mosques in the Maldives.

And let us not mention the rather large number of Isis and other Islamist cultists who arrived to fight for Isis in Iraq and Syria from – well, the Maldives.

Now the Qatari Emir hasn’t enough troops to defend his little country should the Saudis decide to request that he ask their army to enter Qatar to restore stability – as the Saudis persuaded the King of Bahrain to do back in 2011. But Sheikh Tamim no doubt hopes that the massive US military air base in Qatar will deter such Saudi generosity.

When I asked his father, Sheikh Hamad (later uncharitably deposed by Tamim) why he didn’t kick the Americans out of Qatar, he replied:

“Because if I did, my Arab brothers would invade me.”

Like father, like son, I suppose. God Bless America.

All this started – so we are supposed to believe – with an alleged hacking of the Qatar News Agency, which produced some uncomplimentary but distressingly truthful remarks by Qatar’s Emir about the need to maintain a relationship with Iran.

Qatar denied the veracity of the story. The Saudis decided it was true and broadcast the contents on their own normally staid (and immensely boring) state television network. The upstart Emir, so went the message, had gone too far this time. The Saudis decided policy in the Gulf, not miniscule Qatar. Wasn’t that what Donald Trump’s visit proved?

But the Saudis had other problems to worry about. Kuwait, far from cutting relations with Qatar, is now acting as a peacemaker between Qatar and the Saudis and Emiratis. The emirate of Dubai is quite close to Iran, has tens of thousands of Iranian expatriates, and is hardly following Abu Dhabi’s example of anti-Qatari wrath.

Oman was even staging joint naval manoeuvres with Iran a couple of months ago. Pakistan long ago declined to send its army to help the Saudis in Yemen, because the Saudis asked for only Sunni and no Shia soldiers; the Pakistani army was understandably outraged to realise that Saudi Arabia was trying to sectarianise its military personnel.

Pakistan’s former army commander, General Raheel Sharif, is rumoured to be on the brink of resigning as head of the Saudi-sponsored Muslim alliance to fight “terror”.

Five things to know about Qatar’s first 2022 World Cup stadium

President-Field Marshal al-Sissi of Egypt has been roaring against Qatar for its support of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood – and Qatar does indeed support the now-banned group which Sissi falsely claims is part of Isis – but significantly Egypt, though the recipient of Saudi millions, also does not intend to supply its own troops to bolster the Saudis in its catastrophic Yemen war.

Besides, Sissi needs his Egyptian soldiers at home to fight off Isis attacks and maintain, along with Israel, the siege of the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

But if we look a bit further down the road, it’s not difficult to see what really worries the Saudis. Qatar also maintains quiet links with the Assad regime. It helped secure the release of Syrian Christian nuns in Jabhat al-Nusrah hands and has helped release Lebanese soldiers from Isis hands in western Syria. When the nuns emerged from captivity, they thanked both Bashar al-Assad and Qatar.

And there are growing suspicions in the Gulf that Qatar has much larger ambitions: to fund the rebuilding of post-war Syria. Even if Assad remained as president, Syria’s debt to Qatar would place the nation under Qatari economic control.

And this would give tiny Qatar two golden rewards. It would give it a land empire to match its al-Jazeera media empire. And it would extend its largesse to the Syrian territories, which many oil companies would like to use as a pipeline route from the Gulf to Europe via Turkey, or via tankers from the Syrian port of Lattakia.

For Europeans, such a route would reduce the chances of Russian oil blackmail, and make sea-going oil routes less vulnerable if vessels did not have to move through the Gulf of Hormuz.

So rich pickings for Qatar – or for Saudi Arabia, of course, if the assumptions about US power of the two emirs, Hamad and Tamim, prove worthless. A Saudi military force in Qatar would allow Riyadh to gobble up all the liquid gas in the emirate.

But surely the peace-loving “anti-terror” Saudis – let’s forget the head-chopping for a moment – would never contemplate such a fate for an Arab brother.

So let’s hope that for the moment, the routes of Qatar Airways are the only parts of the Qatari body politics to get chopped off.

This article was first published by The Independent

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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Saudi Arabia will occupy Qatar السعودية ستحتل قطر

Saudi Arabia will occupy Qatar

يونيو 7, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Nothing has occurred to justify severing the diplomatic relations and the punitive procedures against Qatar during the days that followed publishing the speech attributed to the Prince of Qatar and adopting it as a pretext for the continuous Saudi campaign against the Prince of Qatar, despite the Prince’s denial of the validity of the published speech, what has happened was a series of indications that confirm Qatar’s desire to solve the crisis through concessions that they seem to have high Saudi ceiling. After it was clear that the speech attributed to the Prince of Qatar was fabricated as a justification to create the crisis towards what satisfies Riyadh and equals what it paid to the US President Donald Trump in exchange of authorizing to solve the Qatari crisis according to the Saudi interests.

This means that there is a goal that must be reached by the crisis; it is one of three hypotheses, the continuation of escalation, the continuation of the crisis, and its turning into mutual media war. It is a matter that does not suit Saudi Arabia after it took many steps and mobilization till it brought countries as Maldives and Mauritius Islands to announce their breaking off their relations with Qatar, after Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain took unified decisions to break off their relations, to close the airspaces and the water, to expel the nationals, and to withdraw the investments. So the matter becomes between two choices either a settlement that ends with the stepping down of the ruling Prince of Qatar and handing over the power to whom agreed by Riyadh, or with the invasion of Qatar militarily after arranging a coup that announces the overthrow of the ruling Prince, and thus he will appeal to Saudi Arabia for fear of what he called the danger of the Iranian intervention.

After the visit of Trump the Saudis ensured at least the neutrality of Al-Adid the US military base, since it is the actual ruler of Qatar militarily, they ensured that if they succeed in enticing Iran for a military intervention, the battle will take place in a Gulf country in which Washington will find itself committed to support Saudi Arabia in this war, so this will ensure an international understanding if there is a confrontation with Iran. Saudi Arabia wants this to show that the battle with Qatar is as a part of the confrontation with Iran with ensuing the winning in it to show that Iran is weaker than it claims. The Saudis want to make the Qatari Prince appeal Tehran to repel the Saudi invasion in order to involve Iran.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia shared the stages of war against Syria and the resistance as they shared their funding, so the ceiling of what Iran can offer is the facilitation of the transfer of the Turkish ground units across its territories to move by sea to Qatar, and when Iran decides to confront Saudi Arabia in the Gulf, then Yemen and Bahrain are supposed to have the support than Qatar, and if Saudi Arabia is need of this battle which was drawn with the Americans then Iran will not give it to them, so Qatar and Turkey have to think how to confront the risks from their allies or to move totally from one alliance to another alliance which includes Iran, Russia, Iraq, Syria, and the resistance. The beginning of belonging to it is a public review of what it had committed of crimes against Syria, and dismantling the armed groups supported by Doha and Ankara, as well as supporting the Syrian army to extend its domination over its national territory to make up for some of the crimes committed against Syria and the axis of the resistance.

Unless this happens, the day of the Saudi invasion of Qatar is not so far.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

 

السعودية ستحتل قطر

يونيو 6, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– لم يحدث ما يبرّر الذهاب لقطع العلاقات الدبلوماسية وجملة الإجراءات العقابية بحق قطر، خلال الأيام التي أعقبت نشر الخطاب المنسوب لأمير قطر واتخاذه ذريعة لحملة سعودية متواصلة ضد أمير قطر، رغم نفي الأمير صحة الكلام المنشور، بل ما حدث كانت جملة إشارات تؤكد رغبة قطر بتسوية الأزمة عبر تنازلات يبدو أن سقفها السعودي كان عالياً، بعدما صار واضحاً أن الكلام المنسوب لأمير قطر دبِّر كمبرر لافتعال الأزمة، وصولاً لما يرضي الرياض ويعادل ما سدّدته للرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب مقابل التفويض بحل الأزمة القطرية، وفقاً لمصالح السعودية.

– هذا يعني أن هناك هدفاً يجب أن تبلغه الأزمة، هو أحد ثلاث فرضيات، تواصل التصعيد واستمرار الأزمة وتحوّلها حرباً إعلامية متبادلة، وهو أمر لا يناسب السعودية بحجم ما بلغته من خطوات وحشد وصل استجلاب دول كجزر المالديف وجزر مورشيوس لإعلان قطع علاقاتها مع قطر، بعدما اتخذت السعودية والإمارات ومصر والبحرين قرارات موحّدة بقطع العلاقات وإغلاق الأجواء والمياه وطرد الرعايا وسحب الاستثمارات، ما يجعل الطريق بين اثنين إما تسوية تنتهي بتنحّي الأمير الحاكم في قطر وتسليم الحكم لمن ترتضيه الرياض أو غزو قطر عسكرياً بعد تدبير انقلاب يعلن إطاحة الأمير الحاكم ويستنجد بالسعودية خشية ما يسمّيه خطر التدخل الإيراني.

– ضمن السعوديون خلال زيارة ترامب حياد قاعدة العديد العسكرية الأميركية على الأقل، وهي الحاكم الفعلي عسكرياً لقطر، وضمنوا أنهم إذا نجحوا في استدراج إيران لتدخل عسكري، فالمعركة ستدور في بلد خليجي تجد واشنطن نفسها ملزمة بدعم السعودية في هذه الحرب، واستطراداً ما يحققه الصراع على تراب دولة خليجية عربية من غطاء للسعودية يتيح توفير تفهّم دولي. إذا وقعت مواجهة مع إيران، وهو ما تريده السعودية لتظهير المعركة مع قطر كجزء من المواجهة مع إيران، مع ضمان الفوز بها، وتظهير إيران أضعف من حجم ما توحي به قوتها، وللتورط الإيراني طريق استنجاد أمير قطر بطهران لصدّ غزو سعودي، يريد السعوديون أن يقوم به الأمير القطري.

– قطر والسعودية تقاسمتا مراحل الحرب ضد سورية والمقاومة، كما تقاسمتا تمويلها. وسقف ما يمكن لإيران تقديمه هو تسهيل انتقال وحدات تركية برية عبر أراضيها للانتقال بحراً إلى قطر. وعندما تقرّر إيران المواجهة مع السعودية في الخليج فاليمن والبحرين أحقّ بالإسناد من قطر. وإذا كانت السعودية بحاجة لهذه المعركة المرسومة مع الأميركيين، فلن تمنحهم إياها طهران، وعلى قطر وتركيا أن تفكّرا بكيف تواجهان الأخطار من حلفائهما، أو أن تنتقلا كلياً من حلف إلى حلف مقابل هو حلف إيران وروسيا والعراق وسورية والمقاومة. وبداية الانتساب إليه مراجعة علنية لما ارتكب من جرائم بحق سورية والسير بتفكيك الجماعات المسلحة التي ترعاها الدوحة وأنقرة ومساعدة الجيش السوري على بسط سيطرته فوق ترابه الوطني تكفيراً عن بعض كثير من الجرائم التي ارتكبت بحق سورية ومحور المقاومة.

– ما لم يحدث ذلك فليس بعيداً اليوم الذي تغزو فيه السعودية قطر.

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Saudi – Iranian Dialogue الحوار السعودي الإيراني

Saudi – Iranian Dialogue

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Neither Iran charged Kuwait with the mediation in the Yemeni crisis, nor did the Iranians attend the side scenes of the negotiations, but the Saudi officers did. Iran did not negotiate in Muscat or elsewhere with delegations that represent the government of Mansour Hadi, but the Saudis negotiated with Al Houthis there. The Americans did the same in charging Kuwait with the mediation and in the negotiation with Al Houthis away from any mediation. Neither Iran sent its Foreign Minister to Kuwait with a message to the Gulf Cooperation Council for a call to open Iranian Gulf dialogue, but the opposite has happened, nor it provided the cover for the Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri to take the initiative of adopting the nomination of the General Michael Aoun for presidency, but Saudi Arabia did as was said by the Lebanese Interior Minister Nuhad Al-Mashnouk through his talk about a major international regional settlement that paved the way for the arrival of the General Aoun to presidency. Furthermore the joining of Jordan to Astana was not due to Iranian encouragement, knowing that Iran is one of the sponsors of Astana, but surely Jordan has not taken this step without US Saudi encouragement, and the factions which it pledged to join them to ceasing-fire and the fight against Al Nusra and ISIS are factions that led by Washington and funded by Riyadh.

Tehran is aware that Saudi Arabia which is waging the choice of escalation in Bahrain and Yemen and waiting the improvement of its situation there, before entering into negotiation with Iran needs this negotiation as an interest and for its presence, while Iran wants this negotiation in order to keep the region away from further attrition, destruction, extremism, sects, and risks. Tehran is aware that Riyadh has decided in all the issues which form titles of dispute to follow the choice of the negotiation, but it preferred to stay behind the side scenes, so it chose the Prime Minister Al-Hariri in Lebanon, Jordan in Syria and Kuwait in the Gulf. But Tehran is aware that the time of the direct negotiation has not come yet. Saudi Arabia is waiting till summer to know what will the new US President do in the round of the escalation against Iran and to know whether it is mere a talk in the media or it is a sign of confrontation that can be based on. During this time it will do its best to resolve what can be resolved in Yemen and Bahrain and to improve the conditions of the negotiation hoping to avoid the loss in them, just for that Tehran is aware of the inevitability of the maturity of the choice of negotiation as far as it is aware that it has not matured yet.

The Iranian response by the Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is through the warm welcoming, but the caution concerning the Kuwaiti call for Iranian Gulf dialogue that stems from this assessment, he indicated that “till our neighbors are convinced that we are in need of common cooperation ,with reference to history and geography and the multi common issues between our people and the common threats which we face, then the region will have a real partner such as Iran”.

He stressed that “Iran does not want to threaten the stability of the region, and that the danger in any country threatens the whole region” he hoped that” the message which was sent by the Prince of Kuwait Al Sheikh Sabah Al Ahamad Al-Sabah to Tehran on behalf of himself and the rest of the rulers of the Gulf Cooperation Council came from a true desire”. Showing that “ this desire will be met by a real interaction by Iran also”. He pointed out that “this will be according to the facts and the future vision, provided that, if everyone recognizes that we must go ahead toward different future”.

Waiting for the Saudi summer to see the Iranian reaction.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

الحوار السعودي الإيراني

فبراير 8, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– لم تكلّف إيران الكويت بالوساطة في الأزمة اليمنية، ولا حضر الضباط الإيرانيون كواليس المفاوضات، بل الضباط السعوديون هم الذين فعلوا، ولم تفاوض إيران في مسقط ولا في سواها وفوداً تمثّل حكومة منصور هادي، بل السعوديون هم الذين فاوضوا الحوثيين هناك، والأميركيون فعلوا مثلهم في تفويض الكويت بالوساطة وفي التفاوض مع الحوثيين بعيداً عن أي واسطة، وليست إيران مَن أوفدت وزير خارجيتها إلى الكويت حاملاً رسالة لمجلس التعاون الخليجي للدعوة لفتح حوار إيراني خليجي، بل العكس هو الذي حصل، ولا إيران وفرت التغطية لرئيس الحكومة اللبناني سعد الحريري للمبادرة نحو العماد ميشال عون وتبنّي ترشيحه لرئاسة الجمهورية، بل السعودية هي مَن فعل، كما يقول وزير الداخلية اللبنانية نهاد المشنوق بحديثه عن تسوية إقليمية دولية كبرى جاءت بالعماد عون رئيساً، ولا ذهاب الأردن إلى أستانة جاء بنتيجة تشجيع إيراني، وإيران أحد الرعاة في أستانة، بل الأكيد أن الأردن ما كان ليفعل بلا تشجيع سعودي أميركي، والفصائل التي تعهّد ضمها لأستانة في وقف النار والقتال ضد النصرة وداعش، فصائل تقودها واشنطن وتمولها الرياض.

– تدرك طهران جيداً أن السعودية التي تخوض خيار التصعيد في البحرين واليمن، وتنتظر تحسين وضعها فيهما، قبل الدخول في التفاوض مع إيران، تحتاج هذا التفاوض مصلحياً ووجودياً، بينما تريده إيران لتجنيب المنطقة المزيد من الاستنزاف والخراب والتطرف والفتن والمخاطر، وتدرك طهران أن الرياض قرّرت في كل الملفات التي تشكل عناوين الخلاف سلوك خيار التفاوض، لكنها آثرت البقاء خلف الكواليس فاختارت الرئيس الحريري في لبنان، والأردن في سورية، والكويت في الخليج، لكن طهران تدرك أن وقت التفاوض المباشر لم يحِن بعد، فالسعودية تنتظر حتى الصيف لمعرفة ما سيفعله الرئيس الأميركي الجديد في جولة التصعيد بوجه إيران واكتشاف ما إذا كانت مجرد زوبعة كلام في فنجان الإعلام، أم أنها علامة خيار مواجهة يمكن البناء عليه. وخلال هذا الوقت ترمي بثقلها لحسم ما يمكن حسمه في اليمن والبحرين، وتحسين شروط التفاوض أملاً بتجنب الخسارة فيهما، لذلك تدرك طهران حتمية نضج خيار التفاوض بقدر ما تدرك أنه لم ينضج بعد.

– الجواب الإيراني على لسان وزير الخارجية محمد جواد ظريف بالترحيب الحار، لكن الحذر بالدعوة الكويتية لحوار خليجي إيراني ينطلق من هذا التقدير، مشيراً إلى أنه «عندما يقتنع جيراننا أننا بحاجة للتعاون المشترك، بالنظر إلى التاريخ والجغرافيا والمشتركات العديدة بين شعوبنا، والتهديدات المشتركة التي نواجهها، ستحظى المنطقة بشريك حقيقي مثل إيران». وشدّد على أن «إيران لا ترغب بتهديد استقرار المنطقة وإن الخطر في أي بلد يهدّد المنطقة بأكملها»، معرباً عن أمله في «أن تشكل الرسالة التي بعث بها أمير الكويت الشيخ صباح الأحمد الصباح إلى طهران، أصالة عن نفسه ونيابة عن باقي حكام دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي، رغبة حقيقية»، مبيّناً أن «هذه الرغبة ستقابل بتفاعل حقيقي أيضاً من قبل إيران». وأشار إلى أن «ذلك سيكون وفقاً للحقائق وبنظرة مستقبلية»، شريطة أن «يُقرّ الجميع بأننا يجب أن نمضي نحو مستقبل مختلف».

– بانتظار الصيف السعودي لكل حادث حديث إيراني.

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Slavery in the Gulf States, and Western Complicity

Slavery in the Gulf States, and Western Complicity

Emmett Scott — Russia Insider Jan 10, 2017

This Saudi employer was seen hacking his Indian slave workers to death right in the middle of the road in 2014 in Riyadh.

This Saudi employer was seen hacking his Indian slave workers to death right in the middle of the road in 2014 in Riyadh.

Until 1963 it was still perfectly legal in Saudi Arabia to buy another human being at a slave-market, to use and abuse as one saw fit. That was 1963, the year in which the Beatles cut their first LP and which saw the assassination of President Kennedy.

That slavery was abolished, officially at least, in Saudi Arabia in that year, was only the result of intense pressure from Great Britain and the United States. Other Gulf Arab states were even more tardy in complying with international norms of human decency. Oman, for example, only abolished the institution in 1970; that is, a year after America had put a man on the moon.

Very well, the average reader might think; whilst the Arab states were late in getting rid of slavery, that, at least, is a thing of the past. Though some Gulf States, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, may still violate human rights on an industrial scale (none of them have signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), at least they no longer hold people in bondage. Sadly, that is not the case: for the abolition of slavery in the Gulf States was entirely cosmetic, intended as nothing more than a public-relations exercise. The fact is, slavery still exists in this part of the Arab world, and this is a situation in which the West is fully complicit.

The “abolition” of slavery in the Gulf Arab states coincided with the rise of these nations to economic power and prosperity. As the oil revenue poured in, the demand amongst wealthy Arab families for nannies and domestic “servants” increased. Amongst the Arabs possession of domestic slaves was always regarded as something of a status symbol; and until the mid-60s the son of a wealthy Arab family would typically have assigned to him a youthful slave who would grow up and grow old with his master. Before the 1960s, such slaves tended to be procured from Africa.

With the official abolition of the slave trade in that decade, however, the Gulf Arabs looked around for an alternative supply of “servants”. Such, it was discovered, could be procured from southern Asia; principally from India, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. Domestic “servants” were also recruited from predominantly Muslim countries, such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, but, as a rule, non-Muslims were preferred.

These new slaves, imported by the hundred of thousand, were lured to the Gulf States by the promise of a good salary, part of which they could send home to their families. In all the Gulf States, as well as further afield, in Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan, the same system of deception and entrapment was put into operation. Under the now-notorious kafala system every immigrant needed a “sponsor”, a Gulf States citizen, who would be the “employer” of the new arrival. What the immigrant victim was not (and is not) told is that their Arab employer has almost absolute power over him/her. Upon arrival, the immigrant usually had (and has) his passport confiscated by his employer, so that he is essentially a prisoner. No law exists which entitles the immigrant to the possession of his passport. Indeed, the law of the land in the Gulf States works precisely to deprive the immigrant of his human rights. An employer can legally demand that an employer remain within a specific geographical radius of the home (or other place of employment). Essentially, the immigrant is a prisoner.

Laws do exist, on paper, which protect the employee from physical or sexual abuse. However, under the statutes of Islamic practice, which applies in all the Gulf States, such laws are essentially meaningless. A sexually abused nanny, who appeals to the police for help, is almost invariably herself accused of adultery and immorality and punished severely for these “offences” – which can entail hundreds of lashes and many years in prison.

In such circumstances, it should come as no surprise that the assault, rape and murder of nannies and other domestic “servants” by Arab “employers” is an every-day occurrence and one that is never or very rarely punished.

When one is deprived of one’s freedom of movement; when one is forced to work at the whim of an employer, without any negotiation or bargaining as regards hours, conditions or payment; when one can be assaulted, raped, and killed, without any hope of protection from the law, then one is a slave, pure and simple. Not “virtually” a slave, but an actual slave.

If all the above is true, two questions immediately spring to mind: First and foremost, why does the world, and the West in particular, tolerate it; and secondly, why do the countries from which these “servants” derive continue to tolerate the use and abuse of their citizens in this way?

Both questions have the same answer: The West profits by the system as do the supplier countries of the workers. The West and Westerners profit in several ways: On the one hand, millions of Europeans and Americans work as professionals in the Gulf States. Salaries tend to be very good, and Westerners’ rights tend to be respected. In fact, Westerners can enjoy an extremely high standard of living in the Gulf; but it is at the expense of the South Asian workers who perform the menial tasks for a pittance.

A meal in a top-range restaurant in Dubai or Qatar, for example, costs a fraction of what it would in Europe – for the simple reason that the South Asian cooks and waiters are paid a subsistence-level wage. Western workers and companies in the Gulf remit vast sums of money to their homelands every year. And there are other reasons for turning a blind eye. Economic relations between Western countries and Gulf States are close and highly profitable to both. These range from the oil trade to the sale of weapons, technology and expertise, to the sale, by the U.S., of dollars, (the “petro-dollar”).

Supplier countries tolerate the abuse of their citizens for basically the same reason: Although many hundreds of thousands (perhaps even millions) of Indians, Sri-Lankans, Philippinos and Bangladeshis, make no money at all in the Gulf, some do; and many (particularly in the building trade) earn a small surplus which they remit to their families at home. These remittances form an important part of the economies of South Asia, and so the abuse of their citizens, which is well-known and publicly discussed, is tolerated by the governments concerned.

Of recent years, however, some Asian countries have made it more difficult to recruit, so that the Gulf Arabs have again turned their attention to Africa. And the harrowing story of one African migrant is the subject of the recently-published, Slave States: the Practice of Kafala in the Gulf Arab Region, by Yasin Kakande (2015).

We should be very clear about all of this: We are talking about the brutal exploitation of millions of people from some of the poorest countries in the world by some of the richest countries in the world, and the world – and the West in particular – turning a blind eye. Such nauseating hypocrisy needs to be highlighted.

Source

Slavery in Saudi Arabia: Imprisonment & Execution of Migrant Workers

Prince Charles to ‘strengthen ties’ with Gulf dictators. What a wonderful Ambassador he is

Prince Charles to ‘strengthen ties’ with Gulf dictators

Brian Whitaker

Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, will pay an official visit to Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates in November. An official announcement yesterday said their tour will “help to strengthen the United Kingdom’s warm bilateral relations with key partners” in the Gulf region.

Relations between Britain’s royals and Bahrain’s repressive ruling family are especially warm – and controversial. News of the prince’s visit comes barely a week after the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights denounced Bahrain for the “harassment and arrests of human rights defenders and political activists”.

Earlier this year, a report by the British parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee accused the government of downgrading human rights issues in its dealings with repressive regimes. It said the government’s failure to classify Bahrain (along with Egypt) as a Human Rights Priority Country “contributes to the perception” that it “has become more hesitant in promoting and defending international human rights openly and robustly”.

The British and Bahraini royal families have regular contact through the annual Royal Windsor Horse Show. In May, the king of Bahrain was seated at the Queen’s right-hand side for an equestrian event at Windsor Castle to celebrate her 90th birthday (see photo).

The November trip will be Prince Charles’s sixth visit to Bahrain.

Britain also has a special relationship with Oman’s anglophile despot, Sultan Qaboos, who once served in the British army. Qaboos was installed as sultan in 1970, with British help. The coup came after it was decided that Qaboos would serve British interests better than his ageing and paranoid father, Said bin Tamur, who ended his days in luxurious exile at the Dorchester Hotel in London.

Although moves by the British government to de-prioritise human rights have been under way for some time, they appear to be accelerating as a result of the Brexit referendum. The government is looking for ways to compensate for lost trade with the EU and the wealthy but autocratic Gulf states are an obvious target market. The Saudi foreign minister has already hinted that Britain could have a free trade agreement with the six GCC countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE

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