The Saudi/UAE campaign against Qatar quickly turned into a mess. Qatar did not fold as had been expected. There was no plan B. The instigators of the plan have now to fear for their head.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar have all build up and pamper extremists groups fighting in other countries. They supply money, weapons and political and media support to various kinds of murderous Takfiris. Unlike the other three, Qatar not only supported arch-conservative Salafists but also groups aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood. The MB do not accept the primacy of the Arab absolute monarchs. They provide an alternative way of governing by adopting some democratic participation of the people. That makes them an imminent danger to the Saudis and other family dictatorships. The military dictator of Egypt, which joined the Saudis on the issue, had led a coup against the elected MB government of his country.
In the view of the Saudis and the other three Qatar had to be reigned in. While its media arm Al-Jazeerah Arabic promotes the sectarian and anti-Iran positions the Saudis support, it also promotes the Muslim Brotherhood. That needed to be stopped.
On June 5 the four countries launched a boycott and blockade of Qatar. Three weeks later they issued a list of demands to Qatar which could be summed up as “surrender your sovereignty or else …”. The “offer” was designed to be refused. It practically demanded total capitulation while threatening more sanctions and even war.
As MoA predicted on June 7, two days after the spat started, Qatar did not fold. It has hundreds of billions in monetary reserves, international support from its liquefied gas customers and allies, and it secured supplies and support from Turkey and Iran. It simply did not response to the “offer” in time for the ultimatum’s end.
The Saudis blinked first. On Sunday the ultimatum was prolonged for two days. Yesterday Qatar responded with its own demands which were, like the “offer”, designed to be refused. It also announced that it would increase its liquefied gas exports by a third which threatens to take market share and income away from the Saudis. It reminded the UAE that 80% of its electricity supplies depend on natural gas delivered from Qatar.
Today the Saudis, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain met to discuss further consequences and new measures against Qatar. The Gulf media predicted more sanctions.
But the gang of four decided to do … nothing:
The foreign ministers of four Arab countries, meeting in Cairo, said they regretted Qatar’s “negative” response to their list of demands.
The Saudi foreign minister said further steps would be taken against Qatar at the appropriate time, and would be in line with international law.
The meeting came as the deadline for Qatar to accept the list of demands or face further sanctions expired.
This is a huge embarrassment for the clown princes of the UAE and Saudi Arabia. They, Mohammad bin Zayed and Mohammad bin Salman, are the instigators of the campaign against Qatar. The meeting today had to deliver some penalty against Qatar for not giving in to any demand: some additional significant sanctions , a more intense blockade, some threat of military strikes. But the meeting came up with … nothing.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed visits Saudi Arabia, on the right is Mohammad bin Salman (Source: Pinterest)
The clown princes had shot their wad on the very first day. They could not come up with any new measures that were agreeable. Kuwait and Oman reject to push Qatar out of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the UAE would lose all its international businesses in Dubai should the Qatari gas supplies, and thereby its electricity, shut down. An additional blockade of Qatar is impossible without the agreement of the U.S. Russia and other big states.
Such a huge loss of face will have consequences. When the Saudi clown prince launched the war against Yemen he expected, and announced, that Sanaa would fall within days. Two years later Sanaa has not fallen and the Saudis are losing the war. Qatar was expected to fold within days. But it has enough capital and income to sustain the current situation for many years to come. The war against Yemen and the sanctions against Qatar were indirectly aimed against Iran- the Saudis’ cpsen arch-enemy. But without investing even a dime Iran is now the winner from both conflicts. MbS, the Saudi clown prince, has twice proven to be a terrible strategist who endangers his country.
The Saudi King Salman and his son said that neither of them will take part in the upcoming G-20 meeting in Hamburg. Rumors have it that they fear an imminent coup should one of them leave the country.
No one should be surprised if the Salman era finds a bloody end within the next week or month.