The comprehensive siege that some Arab countries have launched against Qatar about 10 days ago provides a clearer picture of the Middle East. A front, which was formed by Egypt and the UAE and to which Saudi Arabia and Bahrain later joined, is in a hurry to reshape the region in line with their priorities. Enmity toward Qatar is already due to the resistance it shows to these plans.
Some figures who are continuously shuttling in the Gulf and other parts of the region, and have expanded the front with the inclusion of the U.S. and Israel, are also the architects of the process behind the scenes. Let's take a closer look at the most important of these now:
The UAE’s Ambassador to the U.S., Yousef al Otaiba, whose emails were disclosed on June 4, just one day before the start of the collective embargo on Qatar, constitutes the U.S. leg of the front. He is lobbying against the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and the Qatari administration and developing quite close relations with Israel and has a strict anti-Turkey attitude. Al Otaiba, who is very generous to his American addressees in order to protect the interests of his country (as well as that of Egypt and Saudi Arabia), spends millions of dollars on it. He is quite famous in the U.S. with his expensive gifts, ultra-luxurious parties and dinners, not to mention high-level agreements and projects he mediates. It is none other than al Otaiba who lobbies in the U.S. for enabling Mohammad bin Salman, instead of Mohammad bin Nayef, to ascend the Saudi throne after King Salman. It is a widespread belief today that the embargo initiated against Qatar was moved to an earlier time to prevent the discussion of al Otaiba’s private correspondence with critical content.
Anwar Mohammed Gargash, the minister of state for Federal National Council Affairs of the UAE, is the theorist of hostility against the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Gargash, who also controls the intelligence units that hunt the Muslim Brotherhood in the Gulf, is known for developing diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE. During the Qatar crisis, he stands out with his statements that overtly threaten Doha and anti-Turkey remarks via social media.
Anwar Ashki, whose official title is simply a "retired general,” is the architect of the rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Ashki, who frequently led controversy in the Arab public with friendly statements he made to the Israeli press, also attracted attention with his remark that "We support the Great Kurdistan.” He reiterates the necessity to form an alliance with Israel and to live side by side on the common ground of "anti-Iranian” attitude. His Saudi identity makes all of these statements even more interesting.
And Mohammad Dahlan. As careful readers remind, I wrote about Dahlan in two previous articles. Dahlan, Israel's candidate for Palestinian president after Mahmoud Abbas, is the key figure of the Egypt-UAE alliance. It is possible to see Dahlan’s involvement in surprising developments in many countries from the Gulf to Tunisia. The nickname of Dahlan, who also has the media power, is "the principle of darkness.”
You can add the intelligence chiefs of the countries of the region, many businessmen, journalists, academics and social media trolls to this list.
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This coalition, which clearly supported the July 15 coup attempt and looks forward to Turkey tumbling down the cliff, is now embracing Fetullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) members just in order to harm Turkey. In particular, Egypt and the UAE are now FETÖ’s shelter, while they declare the movements and people who do not resort to weapons to be terrorists.
They do not hide their purpose either: In the war against movements to which they ascribe the attributes "terrorism and extremism," they are fighting against the world view that is roughly referred to as "Political Islam." That is why they intentionally refer to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and Qatar – and even the Ennahda Movement in Tunisia – together with al-Qaida and Daesh and name all of them terrorists.
They pursue the Middle East order before the Arab Spring, in which they were hand in glove with the U.S. and the West, unlimitedly open to world markets, unable to object foreign interventions, had secular motives, and in which rights and freedoms were restricted to the max and Islamic alternatives were suffocated. They calculate that they can fill the gap and remove the complexity that arose with the Arab Spring by channeling the region to this direction again.
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While all this is happening on the Arab front, the progress of Iran in Syria and Iraq continues. While the Arabs are trying to clamp down on Qatar in the Gulf, Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani is busy deploying Shiite militias in fronts that have been liberated from Daesh. If the strife between the Arabs continues a little longer, Iran will be able to open a long and wide corridor to the Mediterranean. This is a sign that vaster conflicts and wars will begin in the region and that the ongoing ones will be intensified.
The Qatar crisis is actually a keystone in this context. If this keystone falls, the existing fragile order in the Gulf may quickly dissolve and that the whole region may be thrown into a series of wars. The Egypt-UAE-Saudi Arabia coalition has a historic responsibility in this sense. We will see whether they will risk sacrificing the region for the sake of suffocating Qatar and the line that it represents.