By Iqbal Jassat
Those who thought that the rulers of Saudi Arabia do not possess chutzpah will have to admit that they were wrong. Not only being mistake but unsuspecting too that an unelected monarchy would have the gall to impose sanctions on a fellow member of elite oligarchs.
Well it’s happened. And in broad daylight in full glare of the world’s media. The guts to confront Qatar and seek its isolation happened while each and every camera crew belonging to Doha-based Al-Jazeera had sprung in action.
The Saudi regime cobbled together a quartet comprising of subservient despots to punish Qatar and unambiguously declare that its allegiance is to Israel, not to Palestine. Though not in so many words, the message inherent in Saudi insistence that the region will not tolerate the presence of Hamas, is a categorical endorsement of Israel’s position.
Though signals had emerged previously about Saudi-Israel relations becoming warmer and closer, the current standoff with Qatar has made it abundantly evident that the House of Saud is in bed with Israel’s rightwing regime.
Imposing a siege on Qatar smacks of the immoral and unjust blockade of Gaza. A preposterous and irrational exuberance by the Arab world’s self-declared “superpower”, whose claim to infamy is that it never ever fired a single bullet in defense of Palestine’s freedom struggle. Yet it has just concluded a multi-billion dollar arms deal with its patron-in-chief, the United States of America.
Unlike previous arms procurement deals which regularly saw Israel and its US lobby mount massive campaigns to prevent such transfers, this time its different. Unsurprisingly the Netanyahu regime acquiesced sheepishly, giving credence to a growing public perception within Muslims that the Saudi-Israeli convergence has come full circle.
While the deeply troubling moves have reached epic war-footing proportions and surprised the world, it is not far-fetched to speculate that plans were concocted in cahoots with US and Israeli intelligence. The quartet made up of Egypt’s military dictatorship, Bahrain and UAE’s despotic monarchs, and supported by strange actors such as Maldives and Mauritania, are among the worst human rights violators in the region.
Targeting Qatar for having dared Saudi rationale is much more than a diplomatic spat. It is an unprecedented flexing of muscles to extend Saudi hegemony over the entire Gulf region which does not exclude regime change.
The geopolitical tension between Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran is far removed from what the West usually ascribes it to, ie “Sunni/Shia” conflict. The elephant in the room is Israel with whom the House of Saud is willing to partner and of course diametrically opposed by Iran.
This explains their argument made against Hamas’ exiled leadership being hosted by Qatar. It also illustrates the extent of convergence between Saudi Arabia, it’s quartet of stooges, Israel and America. All are on the same page whereby resistance movements from Hamas to Hizbollah and Ikhwan to Islamic Jihad are classified terrorist.
Not surprisingly Donald Trump has claimed credit touting the attack on Qatar as a successful result of his recent mission to Riyadh. Though not much attention has been paid to the future of America’s military base in Qatar, it is likely that unless the siege is ended soon, the base may be relocated to Saudi Arabia.
While global attention has been fixed on Qatar, Iran has come under cowardly bombing attacks on two targets: parliament and the Mausoleum of Iman Khomeini. Iran blames the Saudi regime whom it accuses of being a patron of ISIS.
Overnight, the immoral targeting of Qatar has escalated to terrorist attacks on Iran. Crossing the dots is thus not too difficult to arrive at the source of the current instability: Israel!
– Iqbal Jassat is an Executive Member of Media Review Network, an advocacy group based in Johannesburg. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.