Escalation of the Global Gas War. Part III

 

Due to the “world oil and gas price war” that began in September 2014, both Qatar and its Arab neighbors found themselves in a need of Arabian political unity.

 

Major current events of the economic war in the world and in Russia are regularly discussed in our lectures in the television program “Meaning of the Game”. The readers of our newspaper can view these lectures online (unfortunately, as of now only available in Russian – Editor).

Here I will continue the article I started earlier – “Escalation of the Global Gas War.”

Let me remind you that in the first and second parts of this article we discussed the main stages and directions of the post-Soviet economic wars against Russia in the “gas front”.

We reviewed U.S. policy aimed at pushing the Russian gas exports out of Europe by political measures (by creating problems and risks for Russian gas transit through Ukraine).

We discussed the response of Russia, involving the construction of infrastructure for gas exports to Europe to bypass Ukraine, i.e. the already constructed pipeline North Stream and a designed gas pipeline South Stream.

We reviewed the legal obstacles for the Russian has export created by the European Commission “under the careful guidance of the Americans” (the restrictions in the European “gas directives”)

We analyzed the attempts to replace the Russian gas in Europe with the Azerbaijani, Turkmen and the Middle Eastern Qatari one.

Let us continue discussing the topic.

 

The competition between the “Qatari gas pipeline” and “Shiite gas main line”, which led to an undeclared hot war between the USA, NATO, and the Sunni countries of the Persian Gulf against Syria was not the only “gas” aspect of the dramatic events of the Middle East policy.

In this sense, very serious problems for the USA, NATO and the interested parties of the region were created by the political events in Egypt and the new force that emerged in the region – The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

“The Egyptian bottleneck” and the Muslim Brotherhood

The “color revolution” instigated by the USA and the Arab countries of the Gulf in 2011 brought Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt. This powerful Sunni Islamist organization, skillfully hiding behind publicly declared social objectives of their Caliphatist ambitions and military and terrorist capabilities, has a strong political position not only in Egypt. Its major offices are active in almost all regions of the Islamic world, including Africa and the Middle East.

It is significant that the US government supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, continuing to transfer annual aid to Egypt in the amount of $ 1.3 billion as was set in 1978 according to the results of its peace agreement with Israel in Camp David. But even more overt support was provided to the new Egyptian authorities by Qatar, which, according to different sources, allocated to the Muslim Brotherhood government, headed by Mohammed Morsi, aid in the amount of 11 to 13 billion dollars.

The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood at once started to support the anti-government rebellion in Syria. And as the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood for a long time have been the main enemy of the Syrian government, at the turn of the 1980’s they unleashed the most ruthless campaign of terror against the power of the Alawite Assad clan, and in 2011 immediately became one of the key fighting groups of the Syrian “color revolution”. Therefore, again, the main force of international support and the main sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood has long been Qatar, interested in overthrowing Bashar al-Assad both politically and “gas-wise”, i.e. economically.

However, these processes have created a violent internal conflict in the “Arab commonwealth”. Saudi Arabia has justifiably seen such a pronounced strengthening of the political profile of the Muslim Brotherhood (and therefore of Qatar behind their backs) as an infringement upon their role of the unconditional political and spiritual leader in the world of Sunni Islam. Moreover, as the Qatari government did not just actively supported the Caliphatist ambitions of the Muslim Brotherhood. According to the Saudis, Qatar also participated in the revitalization of the protests of the Shiite (!) opposition against the ruling Sunni Royal al-Khalifa family in Bahrain, where the base of the Fifth Fleet of the United States is located. And where the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, the GCC (which is, effectively, Saudi Arabia), has created its own permanent military base.

This conflict resulted in two almost simultaneous political coups. June 25, 2013 the Emir of Qatar Hamad al-Thani, a very active supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, suddenly handed over power to his 33-year-old son Tamim al-Thani, who sacked the chief ideologist of Muslim Brotherhood support, Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim, but also said that he would pursue the policy of Qatar in full accordance with the precepts of his father.

After that, on July 3, 2013 the defense Minister of Egypt Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi announced the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi and began immediately to suppress mass protests of the Muslim Brotherhood. This provoked the indignation of the United States with “undemocratic character” of the new government — both in respect to the overthrow of the “democratically elected” Morsi, and in respect of the repressions against the Muslim Brotherhood.

However, Al-Sisi immediately enlisted the promises of Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies to compensate for possible cancelling annual investments in the Egyptian economy estimated at $ 1.3 billion by the USA. Thus virtually cutting off support to the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria. Then in May 2014 Al-Sisi was triumphantly elected — as it turned out, to a great extent, on the basis of the militant anti-Americanism of the overwhelming majority of Egyptian society — for the post of the President of Egypt.

Meanwhile, the new Emir of Qatar Tamim al-Thani fulfilled his promise to follow his father’s course and continued support of the Muslim Brotherhood both in Egypt and in Syria. Which was increasingly contrary to the interests of the Saudis, as they focused their actions on strengthening the so-called “moderate” opposition in Syria for war with al-Assad, politically acceptable for the West who joined this war. As for Qatar, it supported in Syria is not only the very radical Syrian Muslim Brotherhood but also other ultra-radical jihadist groups, thereby constantly compromising anti-Assad opposition.

In addition, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood with the support of Qatar and in alliance with the sheikhs of the Bedouin tribes launched a large-scale terrorist war in Egypt, in the north of the Sinai Peninsula. That is, they began to intensify an inter-Arab rift in the region. The GCC countries realized that the policy of Qatar potentially means turning Egypt, the largest country of the region in terms of population and military potential, into their enemy. Which they by no means wanted to let happen. In addition, one of the main goals of unleashing terror in the Sinai was the so-called Arab gas pipeline, a very important component of the income from the export infrastructure in Egypt.

But we will return to the “Arab gas pipeline” later. Now let us talk about the other “pain points” of increased tensions between Qatar and other GCC countries.

ISIL, Qatar and the “Arab Rift”

Since the summer of 2013 a new radical terrorist force — ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), now simply called Islamic State (IS) — burst in Syria.

Arab neighbors of Syria quickly realized that the main “creators” of this force were the Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar and a number of NATO countries headed by the USA. And that this power actually raised similar (or the same) claim for the total (including political and ideological) leadership in the Sunni Islamic world as the Muslim Brotherhood— for the establishment of a Caliphate. But ISIL/IS also backed up these claim with a powerful military and political organization (comprised of a significant portion of the officer corps of the Iraqi army of Saddam Hussein, disbanded by the Americans) and unprecedented terrorist determination of the Islamist core, which included fragments of al-Qaida.

The GCC countries also understood the fact that the matter was no longer about the transformation of Syria into a moderate theocratic state controlled by the Sunni Saudis. That IS claim was for a full-fledged Caliphatist (that is, deeply hostile to GCC) alternative.

At the same time the Arab neighbors accused Qatar — and not without reason — of other “mortal” sins. Namely:

  • in support of Yemen’s Houthis (Shiite sheikhs that have long encroached on a part of the Saudi territory);

  • that sponsored by Qatar Muslim Brotherhood and Jabhat al-Nusra carried out military operations in Syria against the Saudi-created Islamic Front in alliance with IS;

  • the fact that Qatar was “flirting” with Iran so in case of failure of its pipeline project it would be able to join the “Shiite gas pipeline.

The conflict between Qatar and other Arab countries was steadily intensifying. So on 5 March, 2014 Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates announced an unprecedented unfriendly step — they recalled their ambassadors from Doha. In the international diplomatic practice, this is often the last step before a declaration of war. In a joint statement in connection with the recall of ambassadors these countries also openly violated the Eastern diplomatic etiquette requiring flowery politeness. They extremely sharply “expressed the hope that <…> Qatar would take immediate steps to implement the agreements of the GCC in matters of security and would protect the people of the region from differences.

However, the period of such sharp confrontation did not last long. Because of the “world oil and gas price war” that began in September 2014, both Qatar and its Arab neighbors found themselves in a need of Arabian political unity. The talks, which began under the mediation of the Emir of Kuwait, ended in December 2014 with restoration of relations and return of the Arab ambassadors to Doha.

At the same time, as reported by Arab sites, Qatar pledged to temper the anti-Egyptian and anti-Saudi rhetoric of its TV channel al Jazeera, to stop supporting subversive activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Egyptian Sinai, as well as economic and military support to Jabhat al-Nusra and IS in Syria.

After that, al-Jazeera really calmed down somewhat, and as for Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIL, they began (at least in Syria) to lose ground. At the beginning of February 2015, local militia and Kurdish self-defense forces, the Peshmerga, liberated the Syrian city of Kobani on the border with Turkey, besieged and captured by IS in the fall. And the Syrian army of President Assad “squeezed” militants of Jabhat al-Nusra out of the area of Dayr al ‘Adas in Deraa province, thereby cutting the main supply routes of the militants from Jordan.

However, the terrorist attacks of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt continued. In particular, in the Northern Sinai, at the “Arab gas pipeline” facilities.

To be continued.

Source (for copy): http://eu.eot.su/?p=7021

 

This is the translation of the third article (first published in “Essence of Time” newspaper issue 115 on February 18, 2015) by Yury Byaly of a series on the new round of global economic warfare. The ultimate goal of this war, of which gas wars is a part, is the weakening and dissolution of Russia. But disruption of Russian supply of gas will lead to lack of gas and rise of prices and some European economies might just not handle this. Since all of the global economy is intertwined, those who started this war want to make not just Russia, but many other countries become weaker in the end.

 

We encourage republishing of our translations and articles, but ONLY with mentioning the original article page at eu.eot.su (link above).
 
 
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