Armstrong Economics Blog/Middle East
Re-Posted Jun 7, 2017 by Martin Armstrong
Qatar is known for its ultra-modern architecture. In this respect, Doha is something to be viewed at least once in life. However, Qatar is a strict religious country that follows sharia law, in which homosexuals and adulterers face a possible death penalty, life imprisonment, or flogging. Qatar is a Salafi version of Sunni Islam, which is an ultra-conservative reform branch that developed in Arabia during the first half of the 18th century. It advocated a return to the traditions of the “devout ancestors” in reaction to the spread of European ideas. Qatar is one of the two Salafi states in the Muslim world, the other being Saudi Arabia.
That said, Qatar is said to be the most duplicitous country in the world. On the one hand they embrace the West, yet on the other hand many have called it “Club Med” for terrorists. Qatar is the richest nation on Earth on a Per capita basis. Abu Nakhlah Airport (Arabic:مطار أبو نخلة) in Qatar houses both the Qatari Air Force and U.S. Air Force as well as other Coalition personnel. It is also the headquarters of United States Central Command.
I was a friend of Sheikh Saud bin Mohammed al-Thani who was a member of the Royal family of Qatar. We were probably the two biggest collectors of ancient coins in the world. He was always trying to buy me out, with a smile of course. Yes, he came to our office to see me with the royal bodyguards and the whole bit a few weeks before he died in 2014 and yes, I visited him at his home in London. Because of our friendship, he offered Qatar as the headquarters for our operation, but could not grant me a citizenship because I was Christian. We set up our office instead in Abu Dhabi where my relationship with the government dates back 30 years+.
Behind the Curtain, the Obama Administration tried releasing people quietly from the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba facility but they were being killed as people assumed they were conditioned into spies. Then Qatar was used as a front to release five people from Cuba in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
Qatar is also a huge investor in property. Most people do not know, but Qatar is part owner of the tallest building in London known as the Shard. They have a wealth fund of $335 billion and a portfolio that is amazing including stakes in Volkswagen to Tiffany & Co. Their stock portfolio is about $30 billion.
There has been a very longstanding war of words between Saudi Arabia and its neighbor Qatar. It was Obama who championed invading Syria and that was all for Qatar to get a pipeline through to compete with Russia in delivering gas to Europe. This has just exploded into open diplomatic warfare, threatening the US-led fight against ISIS and setting off a new wave of instability in the Gulf region.
Nevertheless, what has happened boils down to the fact that Saudi Arabia and three of its biggest allies — Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain — all announced that they were severing diplomatic ties with Qatar, as well as suspending air, land, and sea travel to and from the country. Qatari citizens were given 14 days to leave their countries. The move came after Riyadh accused Qatar of backing radical Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS. Since then, Libya, Yemen, and the Maldives have also joined the diplomatic boycott.
Qatar is one of the wealthiest countries on earth. Nonetheless, you cannot eat money. The peninsular nation imports most of its food through its land border with Saudi, which is now closed. Al Jazeera, a Qatar government-owned news network, has been reporting that trucks carrying food appear to be stranded on the Saudi side of the border. And in Doha, the people are in a state of panic “stockpiling perishable goods,” according to Al Jazeera. Many ships carrying food to Doha first stop in the UAE’s biggest cities, Dubai and Abu Dhabi; it’s unclear what effect the new bans will have on their movements. Ships from Europe seem to be unaffected just yet.
Tensions between Qatar and its neighbors exploded last month after Qatar’s state-run news agency published an article in which the Qatar’s ruling emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, was quoted praising Israel and Iran. These two are Saudi Arabia’s biggest adversaries in the region. Qatar swiftly disavowed the article as fake news manufactured by hackers. The Saudis remained unconvinced. Then on top of that, Sheikh Tamim made things even worse when a few days later he called Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to congratulate him on his reelection.
This new diplomatic crisis in the region is the biggest since the Gulf War in 1991. In our Cycle of War Part II, we focused on the Middle East and warned that there was a rift in the region that could lead to a serious war.