The diplomatic crisis in Qatar saw a new development Wednesday as Turkey's parliament passed legislation permitting the deployment of troops to a Turkish military base in Qatar. The legislation was drafted prior to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain severing ties with Qatar, but indicates that Turkey is willing to help the Gulf Arab country.
The bill was supported by both the governing AK party and the nationalist opposition.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated Tuesday that "Turkey will continue and will develop our ties with Qatar," adding that "we do not think the sanctions against Qatar are good." Erdogan insisted Turkey would have intervened if the sanctions of terrorist support were proved, but questioned the effectiveness of measures already taken by his Arab neighbors in isolating the small emirate. Reports of Qatar's ongoing support for regional Islamist groups, most notably the Muslim Brotherhood, and Shiite-ruled Iran, led to uneasy relations with many neighboring nations. Weekly Standard
Well, pilgrims you can add Mauretania the list of those following Saudi Arabia's lead in this. They must be on "the dole" from Riyadh.
Qatar is a strange little place. It is really a sandbar sticking out into the Gulf. Qatar possesses large gas reserves but does anyone think that desire to possess these reserves motivates Saudi Arabia? Qatar is the only Wahhabi country other than Saudi Arabia itself. It exists because imperial Britain wanted to hold a non-Saudi piece of Wahhabi dominated "soil" in the Gulf region. Qatar realizes the weakness of its position vis a vis Saudi Arabia. The emirate is in fact if not in appearance an absolute dictatorship. I was present at a meeting at the ruler's palace in Doha in which the then emir laughed and told the group I was with that if the West wanted democracy he would create things for them to look at. He would have a parliament. He would have a "free" press (Al-Jazeera?). He said that there had been a subversive conspiracy attempting a coup recently and that he had a number of the plotters in prison. What should I do with them he asked this group of millionaires and corporate representative. I do not wish to upset "The West" too much. The response from the leader of the group was that the prisoners should receive due process. The emir then changed the subject.
Existing in such a milieu, Qatar's rulers have sought to "fireproof" themselves against a future in which Saudi Arabia decides that the Qatari mini-state's existence is unnecessary.
1. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly they have given the US the use of land including the area of the former British air base at al-udeid and enough space to position USCENTCOM's forward headquarters in theater. These facilities are very important to the US. The air war in the ME is run from al-udeid air base, not the flying necessarily, but just about all the staff functions for command and control. DJT does not seem to grasp the importance of al-udeid to the US air war.
2. The "Al-Jazeera network" is a great irritant to the autocratic states of the Arab World. It has always been such and it has been bitched about to me by rich and otherwise powerful Arabs from its creation. It is clearly under the protection of the house al-thani (the rulers of this little country). As I have said, this princely house is not IMO in any way democratic. Al-Jazeera is part of the Potemkin Village of democracy that is presented to the West by the Qatari state, but that image is helpful to them.
3. Qatar maintains a certain ambiguity with regard to its relations with Iran. It has recently chosen to emphasize that ambiguity, probably IMO in response to DJT's acceptance of his role as the mukhtar of America.
And now, in demonstration of Sultan Erdogan's ambition to one day be thought Commander of the Faithful, the Turkish parliament has provided the legal basis for Turkey to intervene militarily and politically in settlement of the present difficulty involving Saudi Arabia, its Arab allies and mukhtar Trump on the one hand with Qatar and Turkey (possibly Iran?) on the other.
Can one doubt that Turkish support for the al-thani will achieve great influence in Qatar? If so, what will be Turkey's level of influence over US use of al-udeid AFB? Without the C&C facilities at that base we would essentially be out of business in the air war. And then there is Incirlik AFB …
What on earth does DJT think he is doing by siding with SA against Qatar? pl
“…The amount of oil/gas is minimal…”
According to Wikipedia, Qatar has “gas fields that account for more than 13% of the global resource.”
Pakistan has a 15-year, $1 billion agreement for the import of LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) from Qatar.
Pakistan (and its ruling clan, the Sharifs) have always maintained good relations with Qatar and its ruling family. Yesterday, a special plane brought a delegation (including some royals) from Qatar to Pakistan; an interesting sidelight on internal Pakistani dynamics: the delegation first met the Punjab Premier, Shahbaz Sharif, before it went to Islamabad to see his brother, Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister.
Qatar has been clever in using its wealth over the years to make friends in powerful regional countries. It also allowed the US to establish a huge base on its territory for the same purpose. The Saudis and their henchmen have only limited room to push Qatar around.
“The amount of oil/gas [in Qatar] is minimal.”
Way off Pat – you must have been thinking of a different place
Qatar remains the third largest producer of natural gas in the world after the US and Russia with 5.1 percent of global production. The country is also the world’s top exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) with 31.0 percent of total global exports in 2014. This central role is a result of its large endowment of hydrocarbon reserves.
In terms of oil and gas reserves per capita, Qatar remains well ahead of the other major oil and gas producers with 83.6k barrels of oil equivalent (boe) in 2014. The revenue generated from Qatar’s hydrocarbon exports provides a stable source of financing for major infrastructure investments that are driving the growth and diversification of the domestic economy.
Qatar has a $350 billion national fund and only 200,000 nationals. With so much money available they can buy up a huge mercenary army if needed. They provide 90% of the gas Britain imports, it seems they own half of London too. They own lots of industry shares in Germany and other European countries. That gives them international support.
Qatar supports the Muslim Brotherhood. The hereditary dictatorships in the Gulf hate the MB because they provide an alternative Islamic government model to the kingdoms. Al Jazeera heavily promotes MB.
Turkey is the only (near) MB government left in power. If the UAE falls Erdogan will be next. That is good reason to march 10,000 Turkish soldiers onto Qatar Airways planes to confront the Saudis (if needed).
If one thing is abundantly clear, it is that Trump is not thinking. He reacts.
According to MSNBC, Trump might not have been aware that the US has troops in Quatar…
The plot thickens
Events are slowly starting to have a life of their own
Oddly in line with TTG’s “If I ever found myself faced with a decision …” ‘On the horns of a dilemma’, Luther’s Elefantenschluss (German)
Haven’t looked more then superficially into matters or political developments lately. Family matters.
But this image in my father’s daily, I thought was somewhat odd. Never mind I don’t like high heals or 90% of what is on offer as shoes for females.
Do women in Katar lately protest via sneakers against the dress code?
That seems plausible to me. pl
FB Ali, b et al
OK. I understated the amount of Qatar’s gas reserves. Happy? I will correct my post. Do any of you actually think that a desire for Qatar’s gas reserves is a major factor in Saudi Arabia threats toward Qatar? I do not. b – Where would this army of mercenaries come from? Saudi hired mercenaries have not done very well in Yemen. pl
You have not responded to my list of America’s selfless actions on the world scene. pl
Pls. list ’em said selfless actions.
I have encountered self-hating white millennials who hate the US of A with such pure vehemence – smitten as they are with Ivan and the Chinks with unfair bias – thus overlooking the fact said entities too are far from sainthood or models of enlightened rule…
Such young fanatics I find nigh impossible to persuade to have a more healthy & balanced view.
“… they provide an alternative Islamic government model to the kingdoms.”
I suspect that’s a bit more important to SA than some additional gas reserves and the incremental money those would bring in.
The mercenary armies of Arabs have historically been Turkic; and Erdogan is clearly aware of that history. The way it worked, Arabs brought the Turks, who eventually gained the upper hand and usurped the power.
It would not be such a bad thing if Turks take over Qatar use its wealth to upgrade the level of culture and civilization in Anatolia.
50 Muslims heads of state or government went to Saudi Arabia to meet with Trump. Saudis thus made a show that they have immense influence among the Muslim world, some of it real and some of it not so real.
I was astonished by the attendance of the hereditary president of Azerbaijan Republic; he seemed to have forgotten also that he was expected to be the President of the Shia Turks.
Might DJT be making early checkers game moves in preparation for moving militarily against Iran in 2018?
you mean ” If Qatar falls Erdogan will be next”
with the new administration, the French is planning to tax Qatar for capital gains on all her assets in France ( they were given a break by both Sarko and Hollande in the hope that Qatar will beef up on her purchase of military equipment)
Remember the killings and protests at Gezi Park in 2013 – Qatar wanted to build a mall/mosque in that only green area.
Plus Turkey was the middleman for the $50K paid by Qatar for any foreign jihadi to go and fight against Assad ( thus the border entry was Turkey-Northern Syria)
I already listed’em for “b.” pl
I did not say all these selfless acts were wise, merely selfless. Grant’s argument conveniently overlooks the half million Vietnamese who fought the communists and the millions who fled the country rather than live under communist rule. another communist sympathizer heard from. pl
The motivation here can be answered by asking ourselves, will the US treat a SA incursion into Qatar in the same way that we treated Hussein’s move into Kuwait? Hardly.
Let’s say SA moves in on Qatar. Outcome 1 is US keeps its air base and SA has more resources to sell in USD, and reinvest in weapons and treasuries. Alternate outcome for Qatar, is that they engage Iran, providing the pretext for a direct conflict with Iran.
This isn’t good for the US, but it certainly checks a lot of boxes for those who have been driving our foreign policy in the ME.
How about this outcome – Pakistan sends expeditionary force to defend Qatar? Qatar does not seem to have any inclination to fight Iran? What are you talking about? pl
Colonel, FYI I the latest partner joining the Saudi coalition against Qatar is the the island nation of Comoros, which can bring a lot of coral and nice scuba sites to the Saudi’ coalition. For the records Comoros has exprinced 22 coups since its independence in1975. Nevertheless a great country to be partner with.
He is been dented by US long time ago, IMO, Iran and Russia can tolerate him as he is, keeping thier enemies close. IMO, most of the middle east’ rulers, do not understand geography and have never studied history. One would think a politician specially a dectator one should have a minimum knowledge of these subjects. Or as Clint said (man, got to know his limitations)
The fight with Qatar has been brewing for some time. Not sure who is more upset with the Amir of Qatar, the King of Saudi Arabia or the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates.
In addition to the two tweets the President sent on June 6, which a lot of people took as his siding with the King, he also had three phone calls, one with the King of Saudi Arabia, the second to the Amir of Qatar and the third to the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates:
Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Call with King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia
Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Call with Amir Sheikh Tameem Bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar
Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Call with Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates
Yes, it is possible that when this is all over, the Amir could kick the US out of its base in Qatar. It is also possible that the Amir could end up being kicked out of Qatar.
Meanwhile, air and ground operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria continue.
In unrelated news:
Two Men Arrested for Terrorist Activities on Behalf of Hizballah’s Islamic Jihad Organization https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-men-arrested-terrorist-activities-behalf-hizballahs-islamic-jihad-organization
The arrests took place on June 1. The Justice Department released news of the arrests on June 8.
My apologies, my alternate position was that Qatar gets closer (I shouldn’t have used engage) to Iran, which provides the pretext for SA to get into a military conflict with Iran. I do not think Qatar has any desire for a fight with Iran.
Do you think if SA gets into a military confrontation with Iran over Qatar, the US would jump in on the side of the Saudis, or just sit by and watch? I am doubtful it would be the latter.
The elephant in the room would be a request by Qatar for an Iranian force to protect “free trade”. How would Centcom like to rub shoulders with an Iranian base? Would SA accept the Iranians on their side of the gulf? Could the the Gulf states be stupid enough to tighten the blockade and travel restrictions until Qatar LNG shipments stopped? Since Qatar shares the Pars field with Iran, they could work out some sort of co-production arrangement with Iran but there would be interruptions to deliveries. People seem to want to believe that money rules everyone but culture/religion still drive countries.
FYI, On June 8, the State Department announced the first shipment of liquefied natural gas from a commercial supplier in Louisiana to Poland.
US welcomes arrival of first US liquefied natural gas shipment to Central Europe, which arrived in Poland on 6/7.
We will likely see more of these reports in the near future.
Arab countries release list of terrorist financiers supported by Qatar http://ara.tv/yycgv
The report provides the names of designated individuals and entities.
>Turkey is the only (near) MB government left in power
There is also Libya(the tripoli gov of course, which “controls” the overwhelming majority of the population). In Tunisia ennahda (MB) also wields considerable influence in the political system despite stepping down from power a couple years ago
Ah, with respect, go back and re-read the speech that the President gave in Riyadh on May 21.
A transcript of his remarks as prepared for delivery can be found at:
In that speech Mr. Trump makes specific reference to Qatar hosting U.S. Central Command. So, it is not correct to say that the President is unaware of the military import of Qatar as being alleged by Brian Williams and Nicolle Wallace of MSNBC based on what a White House source purportedly told them.
Back in Gulf War I (in 1990) it was reported that the USAF had built a very large air base, with state-of-the-art for the time C&C, somewhere in SA.
Could the U.S. use that?
Or would that just give al Qaeda more ammo to use against the U.S.?
And egos… Getting gulf gas to market, any market, isn’t that much of a technical issue. Getting the egos involved to compromise, that’s another matter altogether…
Get your popcorn, the vipers are turning on each other.
There was some rumor from mr. wikileaks saying that Al Jez had privately claimed to them that Qatar had acquired a nuke in 2010.
Perhaps SA had some recent independent confirmation of that rumor?
IMO, US Military (possibly excluding president Trump) wouldn’t be happy KSA’ invasion, incursion of qatar.
For reason of security, stability and accesses militaries wouldn’t want to have all their eggs (military bases/assets) in one basket country likes of KSA, or Qatar,Bahrain, etc. they would like them spread out and not accesses controlled by one unstable ruler.
It is being reported that Iran Air has sent its first shipment of food to Qatar.
Who are the most prominent #Qatar-linked figures in new terror designated list? http://ara.tv/6pquc
In reference to Qatar.
“only 300 people and a television channel”.
Prince Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud
Al-Thani is heading to Russia to whisper sweet nothings in Putins ear. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear suit cases of cash went along for the ride.
It was written for him by someone like me. He has no idea what he said. pl
For LNG you need a LNG installation to fill the tankers. Iran does not have such an expensive installation.
It’s possible Trump read the words written in that speech but they did not leave an impression on him.
Truump knowing about our bases and joining the Saudis in their belligerence is even dumber. Was this part of the arms deal? Will future deals commit our country to more conflicts contrary to our national interests? Or is Trump just giving moral support to the Saudis, to use the arms we sell them and not barter away our troop support? Either way it’s rotten.
John Frank –
Regarding the prominent Qatar-linked figures in new terror designated list that you linked to:
Yusuf al Qaradawi, number one on that list, may be Qatar based, but he is also a big fan of Erdogan. Reportedy called Erdogan a Sultan. They have met several times and Erdogan publicly defended Qaradawi against Interpol’s arrest warrant.
Sorry, I have not read it yet, but will do so today. I currently have quite busy days.
Saudi Arabia once threw the U.S. military out of the country. A major base then moved to Qatar. There it has freedom of action.
I don’t think the military is eager to put that base (again) under SA control and to again have the soldiers there live within SA’s rigid society. It would a very dangerous strategic gamble.
The military is Trump’s only ally in Washington right now. I doubt that he can/wants to blow up relations with it.
The Qatari mercenaries would be mostly Turkish, and probably some from the mercenary army Turkey and Qatar have financed and built to fight in Syria. Qatar has the money but no people, Turkey needs money and has the second largest standing NATO army. Iran provides a decent route between the two countries. When interests align …
As for gas.
The Saudi Deputy Clown Prince paid $550 for a yacht that had cost §330 million when it was built in 2011. It was a spontaneous idea when he saw that ship in some harbor. He had never been on the ship when he made the offer.
The guy does not know anything about money or business but is running SA’s economy (with the help of selfish neoliberal consultants) – into the ground.
The scheme of liquidating SA’s assets, which is part of the escape plan for the al-Sauds should the people get a bit uppity, is not going to work as well as thought. (The idea was to take Amranco private via the stock exchange, give freely convertible stocks instead of yearly appanages to the princes and gain the freedom to leave the country while keeping the now moveable assets. That scheme worked very well in Russia for many of the now exiled Russian billionaires.)
Amranco is more difficult to privatize than thought. The price received will be way lower than estimated. It will take longer than planned. Meanwhile SA’s economic situation is deteriorating with no oil price recovery in sight. A $350 billion Qatari cash fund and a very profitable gas business would be a welcome addition to the Saudi rulers bank accounts.
I am not saying that this is the major reason to take down Qatar, but it is certainly part of the calculation.
What is the opinion of Japan on all this. They are the ones who buy the gas IIRC.
Aren’t the Shia opposed to MB ? I am very confused, as Iranians are predominately Shia and Qatar has been represented as pro-Iran of late in this latest anti Qatar dust up of the Saudis.
So I detect internal inconsistencies. Maybe I don’t fathom the Shia & MB relationship.
Fyi, A short while ago, Secretary Tillerson made the following statement:
Remarks on the Middle East
Follows is the text of his remarks as posted:
Feeling bad about burdening Col. Lang with the need to moderate this,
but thinking the information will be of value to some:
The base I referred to (I forgot its name at the time of my earlier comment) is:
“…..to SA than some additional gas reserves…..”
Additional to what? SA is one of tye two top Oul producers together with Russia but SA is not known to have gas reserves hence the obvious motivation to enhance their portfolio with Qatar’s access to the Pars field.
The Saudi led blockade of Qatar is turning into a foreign policy nightmare to team Trump because it provided an opening for Turkey, Iran and Russia to lift the blockade. Everything the Saudis touch turns to sh#t.
I have visited a number of ARAMCO LNG plants so I don’t know what you are talking about. pl
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