Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The wily Erdogan outflanks team Trump in Qatar

For the first couple of days after Saudi Arabia announced the excommunication of Qatar from the community of US vassal states in the Gulf, the punditocracy was unanimous that Qatar's goose was cooked. They'd have no choice but to deep-six their civil relationship with Iran. They'd have no choice but to drastically rein in their pain-in-the-ass Al Jazeera network. In fact, there was widespread talk that regime change wouldn't be long in coming.

What's coming instead is the Turkish military, and they're not coming to expedite the removal of the Emir. Quite to the contrary. Qatar and Turkey are two of the main sponsors of the Muslim Brotherhood. Thanks mainly to Israeli lobbying efforts, the MB have long been a listed terrorist outfit in much of the West, and also in Saudi Arabia. I would hazard a guess that if and when push comes to shove, an Erdogan-led Turkey would have more loyalty to the MB than to NATO.

Israel's main problem with the MB is that it's the backbone of the democratically elected government in Gaza. There was a time when Israel happily nurtured the fledgling Hamas to undercut the PLO. Those days are long gone. Today, the PLO/PA are generally seen as Israel's bum-boys, while Hamas are considered Palestinian patriots.

This unfolding shitstorm was unleashed by Trump's bombastic rhetoric on the occasion of his visit to Riyadh last week, when he demanded that his audience stand with America in the war to exterminate "terrorism" once and for all. Even in mainstream American media it's widely acknowledged that it's the Saudis who are the primary enablers of this thing we call terrorism.

Not that the Qatari's have clean hands, but after the putative leader of the free world put things so baldly, it was just a matter of time before the finger-pointing got serious.

So here we are. The Saudis are doing way more to keep the order books of Lockheed and Raytheon and Boeing plumped up than Qatar is, which is why they've got more cred in the West, at least for now. But with Erdogan throwing this spanner into the works and Washington in chaos, it's impossible to predict what's next.

Interesting times indeed!

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