04.07.2013 Author: Viktor Titov

Change of power in Qatar: What’s to expect?

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The changes predicted by your humble narrator a month ago in the article “Preparing for a Change of Government in Qatar” has finally took place. The shift of power in Qatar, at least the official part of it, is finished. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has handed power to his 33-year-old son. He was followed by his devoted mastermind, the most powerful person in the Qatari policy the prime-minister and the minister of foreign affairs Hamad bin Jassim. Hamad bin Jasim was the godfather of the “Arab spring”, the nurser of the redraw of the Arbab world in accordance with the Qatari interest (at times at the expense of Sauide Arabia), the sponsor of the Syrian rebels and the Iraki terrorists. He was the person that issued the order to assault the Russian ambasaddor V.Titorenko at Doha international airport in November 2011. This was the way of wagin his personal feud against the Russian dimplomat that effectively pursued the Russian postion on the Syrian conflict. His resignation put in motion the knock-on effect, resulted in a number of authoroties steping down. The devoted fellowers of the ex-prime minister that were well-known across the world for their cunning ways of bribery and corruption, have finally left the Office.

There’s no use trying to see through the hidden reasons behind the unprecedented surrender of throne made by the former emir since the reasons are all clear. The former emir along with his prime-minister got carried away be the “Arab spring” concpirasies, which turn out to be by far too ambitious for a country that can boast 300 thousand original residents while the guest workers count is skyrocketing towards 1,5 million people. Those games may suit the bigger regional players like Egypt, Algerie, Syria or Iraq and, with a great amount of assumption, Saudi Arabia. Out of the blue Qatar decided to get in the way of the United States and what’s even most important – Saudi Arabia. This “mighty dwarf” has mixed all the cards for its main regional ally, undermining its plans in respect of Egypt and Lybia, this restless “dwarf” got as well involved in the Sunni- Shias conflict in Iraq, strengtning at the same time its own bilateral relations with Iran. At the end of the day the Americans chose Saudi Arabia to be their principal ally. This resulted in the signs Washington sent to the Al Thani clan to change the former emir and his fellow prime-minister. These signes couldn’t  have been ignored by Doha, since the very existance of Qatar as a state depends on the American Al Udeid air base.

As for the future of the Qatar’s foreign policy, there’s little chance that the “mighty dwarf” will stop supporting the Syrian rebels forces, the majority of which is represented by the “Muslim Brotherhood” members along with their supporters, yet, it’s clear that the new emir will ration the amount of support provided to them. Even though the ongoin Syrian conflict, as the better part of the Western media reports, is the main reason for the second wave of the Middle Easten rulling elites change. The rivalry between Qatar and Saudi Arabia has already been a drainless source for mockery in the Arab world for a while now. The two major allies of the United States in the region fail to reach an agreement about the lands each one of them must acquire when the United States will  leave.

It’s important to notice that once the conflict in Syria started, Qatar and Saudi Arabia found themselves accompanied by Turkey on their quest to get rid of Assad. Turkey in turn decided to make Qatar its ally of choice, which resulted in a nubmer of terrorist attacks against Qatar. The first attack targeted Qatari convoy in Somalie that was carrying the head of the Qatari military intelligence service. The second took place in the Turkish city of Reyhanli, but no terrorist group took credit for it. According to the publications in the Turkish media, both attacks were staged by Saudi Arabia, that reacted in such a touchy manner to the role Qatar and Turkey assumed in the Syrian conflict. The elections of the so-called provisional government of the Syrian opposion accelerated the cooling of Qatari-Saudi relations, and as the Geneva-2 summit approaches the rivalry between the former allies becomes more intense. It can hardly come as a surprise that the United States took the side of Saudi Arabia. Chosing between a vast country possesing the tremendous oil reserves and the “gas dwarf” is no rocket since for anybody. But the facts of the changing supplies routes that support the Syrian rebels, the drawing of Iordania into the conflict, the flaring up of the inner contradiction in Qatar and Turkey. All of these facts should serve as a warning for all those powers believing that the United States put the interests of others above their own.

Some experts believe that there’s a certain plan behind all the changes that have been happening recently. According to this plan, the United States try to promote Iran as the sole real power on the Middle East. This can be achieved by forcing Erdogan to abondon the position of the Turkish prime-minister along with the change of power in Qatar and Saudi Arabia. That would leave the Shian Iran to be left alone up against a handful of Sunni countries that would continually wage war on it. The same kind of manipulation has already taken place in Iraq, where the Sunni and the Shias were left to fight each other. It seems that the United States do want to set Asia on fire, by putting Iran in a delicate postion. The only question is why anybody would ever do this kind of thing? The answer is simple – to be able to accumulate enough forces against China and the Russian Federation. If the royal family of Saudi Arabia is to lose power any time soon, than this plan does not simply exists, it has already been put in motion.

The region is sinking deeper in the political turmoils with each passing day. And whatever the reasons may be, should one name the itching desire of the United States to confront Russia and China in the region, or the genuine desire of the Arab world to enjoy the merits of democracy on their home soil, the crisis is approaching the Russian southern borders pretty fast. This fact alone should have caused Russia to devise ways of opposing the United States.

Viktor Titov, Cand. Sc. (History), is a Middle East political analyst. Exclusively for New Eastern Outlook.