[Midden-Oosten] Qatar-Gulf Crisis: Another Offensive of the Arab Counter-Revolution

Jeff meisner op xs4all.nl
Zo Jun 11 20:00:10 CEST 2017

[While I am not a member of the RCIT which authored this article, I 
think it correctly explains the most important reasons behind the 
offensive against Qatar by the Saudis and their regional allies. With 
Trump supporting these hostilities (if he didn't actually initiate it), 
the possible repercussions are very great and we need to keep our 
attention on developments. I welcome further analysis and discussion, 
for which I believe this is a good starting point.]

Qatar-Gulf Crisis: Another Offensive of the Arab Counter-Revolution
By Michael PrŲbsting, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency 
10 June 2017


On 5 June, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and 
Egypt severed all diplomatic ties with Qatar. These countries also 
closed all land, air, and sea traffic routes to the small peninsula 
which is home to 2.6 million people. In the days following this move, 
several other Arab countries – all dependent on Saudi funding – 
replicated it.

Concurrent with these developments, a cyber attack was launched against 
the global media outlet Al-Jazeera which is based in Doha, Qatar's 
capital. Furthermore, the rulers of the UAE have threatened to impose an 
economic embargo against Qatar, while Bahrain has said "all options" 
(i.e., including military aggression) are on the table. According to 
Al-Arabiya, the United Arab Emirates has even banned persons within its 
borders from publishing expressions of sympathy towards Qatar and has 
threatened to punish offenders with a jail term of up to 15 years!

However, Qatar has not remained entirely isolated, as Iran and Turkey 
have already offered support to the besieged country.

The Saudi-led bloc justifies its unprecedented aggression against Qatar 
with the latter’s alleged support for "terrorism." Coming as it does 
from a regime that promulgates an extremely reactionary sectarian 
Wahhabi ideology, this is a rather bizarre accusation, which stems from 
the residence in Qatar of several exiled bourgeois and petty-bourgeois 
leaders of Islamist organizations who play a prominent role in 
resistance to imperialist occupations and dictatorships. In particular, 
these organizations include: Egypt's al-Ikhwan (the Muslim Brotherhood), 
an Islamist mass movement which faces rife persecution under the 
military dictatorship of General al-Sisi; Hamas, the strongest militant 
Palestinian force which successfully led the resistance in Gaza against 
three Israeli invasions in the last nine years; and the Afghan Taliban, 
the leading force fighting a guerrilla struggle against the Western 
imperialist occupation since 2001.

Furthermore, the Saudi monarchy is worried about Qatar's less 
confrontational approach towards Iran – Riyad’s arch-enemy.

The Trump Factor

The timing of the current diplomatic war against Qatar is by no means 
accidental. Rather, it takes place only two weeks after US President 
Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia. The mad egomaniac used the visit to 
deliver a speech calling the Arab states to join the world’s biggest 
imperialist power in its struggle "against terrorism," or to put it in 
the preadolescent language of the racist misogynist US leader: "This is 
a battle between good and evil." Following more profane goals, Trump 
also signed a huge arms deal with the Saudi rulers worth more than $US 
110 billion.

Trump’s visit was part of the new US administration’s efforts to create 
a bloc with the most reactionary dictatorships in the Arab world along 
with the Zionist apartheid state of Israel. The goals of this bloc are: 
to advance the counterrevolutionary efforts aimed at liquidating the 
Arab Spring which started in 2011; to kill off once and for good the 
Palestinian resistance; and to counter the rising influence of Iran 
(which has the backing of Russian and Chinese imperialism).

Unsurprisingly, Trump immediately welcomed the Saudi aggression against 
Qatar in one of his notorious tweets: "So good to see the Saudi Arabia 
visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they 
would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was 
pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the 
horror of terrorism!"

There can be no doubt about the reactionary nature of the Qatari state. 
It is a parasitic capitalist monarchy with a population that includes 
only 313,000 Qatari citizens and 2.3 million migrants.

Qatar's Foreign Policy

However, the present crisis is not about the nature of the 
constitutional regime in any of these countries. Rather, since the 
1990s, Qatar has tried to advance a foreign policy independent of 
Saudi-Arabia – the dominant power on the Arabian Peninsula – in the 
Persian Gulf region. Qatar created the global media outlet Al-Jazeera 
which gives more space to anti-imperialist and anti-dictatorial 
resistance movements than any other global mass media. As a result, 
Al-Jazeera bureaus and journalists have been repeatedly the target of 
assassination attempts and imprisonment by the Great Powers and various 
dictatorships – for example the Al-Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein 
has been held in an Egyptia prison for more than 170 days. Qatar's 
offers of residence or political asylum to exiled leaders of Hamas, the 
Muslim Brotherhood and the Taliban are other examples of its independent 
foreign policy.

Qatar can stand behind its independent political positions because it 
possesses the world's third largest reserves of natural gas and oil 
reserves, making it the country with the highest per capita income in 
the world.

Without harboring any illusions about the reactionary nature of the 
Qatari regime, socialists cannot ignore the fact that the present crisis 
is a direct result of the anti-Qatari offensive by the arch-reactionary 
Saudi monarchy. The latter regime has supported General al-Sisi since he 
took power in Egypt in a bloody military coup in on 3 July 2013. It has 
also been waging a brutal war in Yemen, the poorest country on the 
Arabian Peninsula and, as a matter of fact, in the Arab world, since 
having invaded it in 2015. It is by no means beyond the imaginable that, 
if Qatar does not capitulate to the Saudi-led bloc’s demands, Riyad may 
even invade the Qatari peninsula as it did with Bahrain in March 2011 
when a popular mass uprising threatened to overthrow the reactionary 
monarchy following the outbreak of the Arab spring.

As socialists, we recognize the thoroughly counterrevolutionary nature 
of the Saudi-led aggression against Qatar. If the Qatari state is forced 
to expel representatives of resistance movements like Hamas, the Muslim 
Brotherhood and the Taliban residing there, and/or if Al-Jazeera would 
be forced to change its editorial policy to appease Trump, the Saudi 
king and the Egyptian dictator, these would represent severe blows to 
the Qatari state. Therefore, socialists around the world must resolutely 
oppose this aggression without, at the same time, lending any political 
support to the Qatari monarchy.

Only the future will reveal what role the individual imperialist powers 
will play in the Qatari crisis. However, we can already see that 
Russia’s imperialist government is becoming increasingly nervous about 
the accelerating conflict, because Qatar holds a 19.5% stake in Russia's 
state-owned Rosneft petroleum company, which could potentially be 
adversely affected by the crisis. If the rival imperialist Great Powers 
like the US, Russia, the EU or China should increase their intervention 
in the conflict, and thereby transform it from one between the Saudi-led 
bloc and Qatar into a proxy war between two or more of the Great Powers, 
socialists must lend no support to any side.

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