Playing Both Sides: Selling Arms To Qatar And Saudi Arabia

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By Maxim Nikolenko: Business continues in time when the Gulf Crisis deepens between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as Washington struck a deal to sell Qatar the F-15 fighter jets. This comes just few days after Trump made a public statement proclaiming: “The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism.”

Presumably, the “great generals” have other thoughts in mind, with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, proceeding the contract worth 12 billion dollars. In mathematics perspective, this equals to 7% of Qatar’s Gross Domestic Product going on the purchases of American jets. The client state of Washington seems to be able providing such payments, amidst the economic impact from embargo, imposed by Saudi Arabia and its allies. The shadow of terrorist funding had no impact on the deal.

This event is far from unique. In the politics of remarkable hypocrisy, the U.S. had consistently struck arms deals with Saudi Arabia, with the biggest in history been signed earlier this spring. Trump has been making statements about the need to sever funding of extremist organizations. The $109.7 billion arms partnership with Saudi Arabia is how that statement was implemented. Previous administrations in Washington were no better.

The released documents by WikiLeaks show Hillary Clinton knew about the funding Al Qaida and ISIS receive from “Saudi Arabia” and “Qatar.” Both countries are practicing the Wahhabi school of Islam, an extremist branch whose principles are expanded by fanatics in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan. These fanatics have been responsible for terrorist attacks in Western countries, including the most recent tragedy in London.

Ironically, it was funding of terrorism that validated the Saudi-led air and ground embargo on Qatar. A small Gulf kingdom, with highest GDP per capita on the planet, Qatar was blamed for funding Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood and Iranians.

Iran has been a particularly popular scapegoat in the Middle Eastern politics. Jim Mattis called it the “single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.” In the meeting of Trump with Islamic countries in Riyadh, not a word was mentioned about 9/11 and the 19 plane hijackers who were “Saudis.” Nerve mind the fact that ISIS and Al Qaeda are coming from the Sunni branch of Islam. More precisely, the Wahhabi sect of it.

Qatar has indeed given support to Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. In fact, the Hamas organization has its headquarters in Doha. Similarly, Qatar, along with Saudi Arabia and Washington, had provided support to various extremist elements in Syria, the forces known in Western media as “rebels”, with their defeat in Aleppo receiving an international outcry.

Both, the Gulf countries and Washington had openly expressed their interest in seeing the fall of Syrian government. Who would replace that secular government is never discussed.

An Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria received up to one billion dollars from Qatar in the alleged hostage deal to release members of royal family. Indeed, the sum of money paid is extraordinary. The terrorist-funding Saudi Arabia had used the deal to justify its embargo. By Saudi interpretation, the alleged ransom also went to “Iranians.”

The proven link between both countries with terrorist organizations makes the formal justification for embargo sound laughable. There are deeper reasons for the current diplomatic crisis in the Gulf, reasons we would only be able to uncover in the future, as they are hidden in our “transparent” government.

Yet, the rift between the Gulf States and their partners with Qatar is a major escalation in what is already divided and war-ravaged Middle East. The Saudi-led war on Yemen continues, where Al Qaeda had openly stated to be fighting Houthis, alongside the ranks of pro-Riyadh forces. The regional pressure and isolation of Iran are ones again gaining momentum, with the Trump administration in Washington emboldening a new hawkish war bravado.

Qatar represents a new piece in the mosaic of regional tensions. A strategy of divide and rule definitely applies here. While the Gulf Kingdoms are rivaling for influence, Washington continues to strike profitable arms deals. Thus, escalating the ruthlessness of autocratic leaders.

The recent terrorist attacks on Iran came as shock. Tehran had not experienced terrorism for decades, with country representing an oasis of stability, dividing the post-Bush and Blair chaos of Afghanistan and Iraq. In response to the attacks, a wider Divide and Rule idea was speculated by a genius in Washington. The author: Republican congressman and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats, Dana Rohrabacher. Indeed, he exemplifies an image of Empire detached from any sense of reality.