Saudi Arabia sent Kuwait to present a 13-point list of demand to Qatar in order to end the diplomatic crisis last month. Saudi also gave Qatar 10 days to comply with the demands, all of which were insanely ridiculous.Qatar gave his big brother a middle finger instead, as it would be as good as surrendering its sovereignty if the tiny gas-rich kingdom agrees to the demands.
Among the demands included cutting diplomatic ties to Tehran entirely, severing all ties with Muslim Brotherhood, ending Turkey’s military presence in Qatar, shutting down the influential satellite channel Al-Jazeera together with all its affiliates and paying an unspecified sum in compensation. But there’s one most humiliating demand.
Qatar will be audited once a month for the first year, and then once per quarter in the second year after it takes effect. For the following 10 years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance. In essence, Saudi wanted to conquer its tiny brother without firing a single shot. Doha might be dumb but Riyadh must be mad to think it could take over Qatar without a fight.
Of course, the whole crisis has nothing to do with Qatar sponsoring terrorism. Saudi is the biggest sponsor of terrorism in the world. The U.S. knew it but considering Saudi has been a loyal customer, splashing on average US$100 billion annually purchasing weapons, they just pretended as if Saudi didn’t sponsor the September 11, 2001 or 9/11 attacks on American soil.
President Donald Trump was grinning from ear to ear when without lifting a finger, he was gifted with a military sales deal of about US$110 billion – effective immediately – plus another US$350 billion over the next 10 years when he visited Saudi Arabia. The sales also included a gold medal being thrown in as a free gift for Trump by King Salman.
About 2 weeks after befriending Trump, Qatar was unfriended by King Salman. In a series of tweets, Trump took credit for the anti-Qatar’s actions taken by Saudi and its friends. In what appeared to be a good-cop-bad-cop drama,Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was on Qatar’s side, warned that the Saudi’s 13-point demands must be “reasonable and actionable.”
The whole drama took a hilarious twist when President Trump, after mocking Qatar for sponsoring terrorism at the highest levels, happily authorized the country to purchase over US$21 billion of U.S. weapons. A deal – US$12 billion for 36 F-15QA fighter jets – was fast-forwarded and signed when Qatar’s Defence Minister met with U.S. Defence Secretary James Mattis.
Meshal bin Jamad al Thani, the Qatari ambassador to the U.S., deliberately reminded Trump administration – “When no one wanted to host your troops after 9/11, we did. We protected them. Saudi Arabia asked you to leave.”Qatar hosts the largest U.S. military base – the U.S. Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) – in the Middle East, a home to some 11,000 U.S. military personnel.
If Qatar is forced to cut its ties with Iran (Saudi’s arch-rival), then U.A.E must be made to cut its ties with Tehran too. Qatar has mocked Saudi Arabia and U.A.E for their hypocrisy when in fact Iran’s biggest trade partner is with the Emirates – amounting to 30-40 billion dirham annually (US$8-11 billion). As the Arabs fight among themselves, the U.S. enjoys bumper weapon sales.
On Tuesday, after securing US$110 billion and US$12 billion from Saudi and Qatar respectively of weapon sales, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson moved in to put things back in order. Meeting with Qatar’s foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, in Doha, Tillerson praised Qatar as the first nation to heed President Trump’s call to cut off terror financing.
Remarkably, Qatar had done virtually nothing except rejecting Saudi’s 13-point demands and welcomed Turkey and Iran’s support. The only thing that Qatar did was on the same day that Tillerson met with Qatar’s foreign minister – signing a MOU (memorandum of understanding) on future efforts to disrupt financing for terrorists, in addition to information sharing.
But what kind of funding or information sharing on terrorism that the U.S. intelligence hadn’t possess, but is known only to the Qataris? Obviously, the Arabs have been played by the U.S. where “The Apprentice” TV-reality star Donald Trump splendidly played his role – sucking billions of dollars of petrol dollars from both Saudi and Qatar.
Under the pretext of fighting terrorism in the Middle East, Trump pretended to agree with Saudi that Qatar has sponsored terrorism. In return, Saudi agreed to buy weapons from the U.S. Under pressure, Qatar also agreed to buy weapons from the U.S., and to prove they’re serious about fighting terrorism, a MOU was signed. Guess the biggest sucker Saudi has no choice but to befriend Qatar soon.
– Finance Twitter