By Gilbert Mercier,
Associate Editor at The Indicter Magazine.
Anti-capitalist and anti-globalist protesters, by the thousands, have greeted world leaders and their entourage in Hamburg, Germany, for the G20 summit. About 15,000 demonstrated on Thursday, July 6, 2017, and the riot police cracked down on them with water cannons set on armored vehicles. The local police expect a massive assault in the coming two days, when as many as 100,000 protesters, including anarchists from France, Italy, Scandinavia, Spain, and Switzerland, will join the German black-block. Even though some of the protesters were comically made up and shuffled like zombies, being a brain dead puppet is a characteristic widely shared by the elite of fake leaders.
Entertainment is what they mostly do, while sinister forces plot, barely hidden, to wage war and spread misery for the common man. The zombified world public opinion watches dazed, confused and hypnotized by the merry-go-round of one crisis, real or manufactured, after another. The rule of thumb is now preferably several crises at once. Thus the brainwashing mission is accomplished, as most people lack the time or ability to focus on any specifics. It is about inducing fear, anxiety, paranoia, and hatred in a permanent kaleidoscope to create despair and a collective psychosis. When the global elite create chaos to manipulate people into submission, they should expect a backlash from the streets.
Shake down in British Petroleum’s magical kingdoms
If one manages to analyze logically the parameters of the science to generate chaos, one comes to understand that crises like the one between Saudi Arabia and Qatar do not happen in a vacuum. This one, if not quickly resolved, could deal a fatal blow to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), paradoxically an organization that President Trump’s visit was supposed to prop up and turn into a Middle Eastern NATO. Imagine this! Not only is the GCC moribund in the aftermath of the Saudi-Qatari rift, but it is dragging along even African countries. It could, by design or not, put a wedge between predominantly Sunni Muslim countries. Many countries, willingly or by some form of coercion, have joined the Saudi-led coalition by severing ties with Qatar: like Bahrain, Comoros, Egypt, the UAE, the Maldives, Mauritania, Libya (at least the so called House of Representatives in Tobruk), and Yemen (that is the government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, which is backed by the Saudis in Yemen’s bloody civil war). Others have more cautiously downgraded their relations with Doha, such as: Chad, Djibouti, Jordan and Niger. On the side of Qatar, Turkey has strongly stepped in, and Iran has provided food shipments to the Qatari suffering from the Saudi embargo.
The rift between Saudi Arabia and Qatar is due to many factors, including religious ideology, and a struggle for regional influence and share of the energy market. To reduce it to one cause would be a disingenuous simplification. The relationships in the Gulf have been problematic since Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1991. This is when the smaller states realized that Saudi Arabia, despite its posturing, did not offer much protection against military aggression from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. This is when Doha let the United States military set up a base in Qatar, and in 26 years the US empire military footprint there has grown to more than 10,000 troops.
Once the US military has set up a base in a country, invited or not, they never leave. Germany, South Korea and Japan should know this. Therefore, in case of a real crackdown on Qatar by the US, the 10,000 invited guests could easily become an occupying force. The tensions between the Saudi kingdom and Qatar reached an apex during the Arab Spring when Doha briefly had the upper hand, with Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, a candidate Qatar supported, was elected president. Saudi Arabia and the US were behind the military coup that put General Abd El-Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil El-Sisi in power.
Unholy alliance to wreck and exploit
The destruction of Syria, at least at first, was a joint venture of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as the US and its European vassals, namely the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, with the blessings of Israel, in what I then called an “unholy alliance to wreck and exploit.” They tried to apply the same model that they had used in Libya to topple Qaddafi. This plan of fake revolutions by proxy jihadists, which was the genesis of ISIS or Daesh backfired horribly as the jihadist groups became their own masters with their own agenda. The main cause of the Syrian conflict is not the pipeline project to Europe through Turkey that the Qatari were planning to build. That would have been the icing on the cake. Washington’s neocon agenda with Tel Aviv’s approval, still very much in effect today, was regime change. The main goal was to topple Bashar al-Assad so as to weaken the influence of Iran and Russia, and by doing so, cut off Hezbollah. This is why the US and its European allies kept repeating the mantra, Assad must go!
Once Russia stepped in, and Turkey started to distance itself from Washington and the Saudis, the dynamics changed. Turkey and Iran have sided outright with Qatar in the crisis and condemned the embargo, but Russia has so far been more cautious. This could give Russia, as well as China and the European Union, more legitimacy in finding a diplomatic resolution to the simmering crisis. In fact, it would be judicious for a regional and international peace conference to take place involving all parties, big and small, including Hamas and Hezbollah. After all, the region is in shambles, and the problems that affect Syria also affect Iraq.
Qatar, despite its initial support for the al-Nusra front, has wised up with regard to Syria. The unprovoked hostility of Saudi Arabia will only bring Doha closer, not only to Tehran and Ankara because of their active support during the crisis, but also to Moscow, which will likely see its Middle East influence increase. Russia can definitely help to resolve the crisis and prevent an outright war between the two blocks. Several nations have so far offered to mediate the crisis: France, Iran, Kuwait. Morocco, Pakistan, Turkey, and the US. So far, the US has done nothing to appease the tensions, as matter of fact it has inflamed them with its schizophrenic discourse. During the Obama administration, there was a dichotomy between US foreign policy action and discourse. During the Trump administration, the discord between the White House, State Department and Pentagon might be laughable, but it is truly alarming.
It is hard to see a coherent plan from the US, unless this is to further the controlled demolition of the Middle East for the immediate benefit of the military-industrial complex, which has gained even more influence over US affairs during the Trump administration. I do not see any logical US foreign policy approach for the region unless, with an Orwellian twist, one pretends that chaos can be planned. Charles de Gaulle once said, ” you may be sure that the Americans will commit all the stupidities they can think of, plus some that are beyond imagination.” He blamed US foreign policy on ignorance, but he was too kind. There is a Machiavellian element to this, and it is rather obvious to see that its agenda falls under the neocons’ Project for a New American Century, using the old divide-and-conquer imperialist adage.
It is rather obvious that Washington gave the green light to the palace coup of Crown Prince Mohammed bin-Salman, probably with Israel’s approval. The embargo and soft coup immediately followed Trump’s visit to Riyadh then Tel Aviv. One of bin-Salman’s nicknames is Mr. Everything, and since the coup he controls Saudi Arabia with absolute power, being Minister of Defense, Minister of Interior, and head of the oil and gas state controlled giant ARAMCO. Unfortunately for the region, the brash 31-year-old, who fancies himself as a warrior-prince, could be used by the US and Israel to give them their regional Holy Grail, which is a war with Iran. If this is the plan, it must be prevented for the sake of the Arab world, peace within Islam, and relative stability worldwide. The US, which has largely, deliberately or not, instigated the crisis cannot provide a diplomatic solution. Therefore Russia, China and the EU will have to step in and play a decisive role in diffusing the crisis.
US isolation on the horizon?
Newly elected French President, Emmanuel Macron, has been extremely active on the international scene and had at least some positive impact. He also seems to be more independent from Washington than his predecessor, Francois Hollande. In the Middle East, Macron’s major shift was to drop the “Assad must go” stance and say that there is no viable alternative to Bashar al-Assad. It is refreshing to see European leaders not drinking as much of Washington’s Kool-Aid as before! There is also on the part of France and Germany an effort at detente with Russia. It is not a coincidence that Vladimir Putin was invited to Paris shortly after Macron’s election. Both Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron understand the erratic nature of the Trump administration. On the issue of Syria and the crisis in the Gulf, there seems to be a newfound convergence between Paris and Berlin. German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel concurred with Macron on the Assad issue, and he recently shuttled between the Gulf states to offer some mediation in the Saudi-Qatari crisis.
Paradoxically, the rapprochement between Russia, France and Germany is linked to the unpredictable behavior of the US government. By trying to isolate Qatar, like the US has tried to do with Russia with the economic sanctions over Ukraine, the US could end up isolating itself if the EU grabs this opportunity to wise up, and side, at least on critical occasions, with Russia. As an example of this European shift, Germany, Austria and France have already strongly said that they will not be bullied by Washington’s whims out of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project with Russia’s Gazprom. This is a concrete example of what Europeans can do to reclaim their sovereignty from the US, and this could include putting a European military force, outside of NATO, on the fast track.
US doctrine: shoot first talk later
The G20 summit meeting in Hamburg between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump might not offer much solution unless the Russian leader schedules side talks with critical people in the Trump administration. By contrast to Mr. Putin, who is in charge of his administration, Mr. Trump throws his weight around and acts like he is in charge, but real US policy decisions seem to come alternately from a weakened State Department and a Pentagon with increased powers, such as defining troop-level deployment in Afghanistan and directly commanding — bypassing the executive branch — various military operations elsewhere, like in Yemen, Somalia and Syria. The State Department, Pentagon and White House share a singular interest in frantic weapons sales. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently arranged the sale of $1.42 billion of weapons to Taiwan, which angered China, and despite the White House siding with Saudi Arabia, Secretary of Defense James”mad dog” Mattis sold $12 billion of weapons to Qatar.
Sometimes elected officials gain some gravitas from the office they hold. This has not been the case for President Donald Trump, whose histrionic antics have antagonized countless people domestically and abroad. The main problem for the international community is to figure out who is really in charge of the US government apparatus and then apply, within reason, the appropriate pressure. Recently Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov had a meeting with 94-year-old Henry Kissinger, who has advised Donald Trump officially at least once. Perhaps Lavrov did get a glimpse on the enigma: who runs the US administration, if anyone, and what should be expected? In the Trump era it is “shoot first, talk later.” The international community must find the right people to talk to in order to avoid worst case scenarios.
The power of dissent
The massive protests scheduled to disrupt the gathering of the rarefied, and often incompetent elite of the 20 countries wrongly deciding our global fate might give the leaders of the G20 Hamburg summit a sense that dissent, and popular anger can be a lot more powerful than they are, and that sound leadership is supposed to serve the will of the people: the many, not the few. At the end of the game of life, the kings, the queens, the bishops and the pawns all end up equal in the same box.