Wednesday, 6 June 2018

More Nonsense from Gulf News About the Qatar Crisis

Here’s another gem from the Gulf News re the Qatar crisis under the headline:  “Qatar’s defence of Iran drives further wedge with neighbours”  with the subheading “Comments by defence minister prove Qatar’s arrogant position when it comes to solving year-long crisis”.  

Just what did Qatar’s Defense Minister ("QDM") say to prompt such criticism?  

Let’s read GN's charges.  Words in quotes are verbatim from the GN article cited above. 

First, the Qatari Defense Minister “defended the Iranian nuclear deal despite criticisms from Arab states that the deal has empowered Tehran to wreak havoc in the region.”   

As AA reads the GN’s charge, it’s clear that the QDM did not defend Iran but defended the JCPOA, a position shared with the former President of the United States, Australia, Canada, China, the EU, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the UK – all no doubt as arrogant and intransigent as Qatar at least in the eyes of the GN.  Citations here and here.  

Interestingly, neither Kuwait nor Oman have adopted the “Quartet”'s position. 

Also Tehran’s influence/actions in the region pre-date the 2015 JCPOA, e.g., the Huthis seized Sana in 2014, Tehran has been supporting the Syrian Government since before  the JCPOA, and its influence in Iraq also predates the JCPOA.  While JPCOA's negotiations concluded in 2015,  the agreement came into effect in January 2016 (“Implementation Day”). I suppose one, perhaps the GN, would argue that actions before 2015 or 2016 did not consist in wreaking havoc.

Second, the QDM said that “Qatar would not ‘go and fuel a war’ in the region and called for engaging in talks with Iran” and that a war with Iran would be “very dangerous”.  

That seems an eminently sensible position on general terms.   

But for a region that has seen the sad consequences of wars in Iraq, Libya, and Syria a bit more caution on war would seem to be in order.  

Finally there is the lesson of 1967.  If you’re bogged down in a war in Yemen, best to keep your head down with regard to further military adventures, particularly if the potential new adversary’s power is a multiple of the current adversary in Yemen.  

GN had another article earlier "Lack of Wisdom Prolonging Qatar Crisis".  The article referred to above is perhaps an exemplar of the headline.  

Expect more to come as I clear out from under a rather busy past three months.

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