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Saudi Arabia Threatens to Blockade Qatar Over Terrorism

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Saudi Arabia has threatened to blockade neighbouring Qatar by air, land and sea unless Doha cuts ties with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, closes global channel al-Jazeera, and expels local branches of the US Brookings Institution and Rand Corporation think tanks.

The threat was issued by Riyadh before it withdrew its ambassador to Doha and branded as “terrorist organisations” the brotherhood, Lebanon’s Hizbullah and al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and Jabhat al-Nusra.

Although the kingdom has long been the font of Sunni ultra-orthodox Salafism and jihadism, it now seeks to contain radical movements and media and other organisations giving them publicity.

King Abdullah has decreed that any Saudi who fights abroad could be jailed for 20-30 years, and those who join, endorse or provide moral or material support to groups classified as “terrorist” or “extremist” will risk prison sentences of five to 30 years.

The decree followed the gazetting of a sweeping new anti- terrorism law prohibiting acts that disturb public order, promote insecurity, undermine national unity or harm the reputation of the kingdom.
While the law and decree are meant to curb jihadi operations on Saudi soil as well as counter non-jihadi dissidence, these legal instruments appear to contradict government policy on foreign jihad.

While 400 Saudis have returned home from Syrian battlefields, another 1,000-2,000 are believed to be fighting with jihadi groups funded by the government as well as wealthy Saudis, Kuwaitis and Qataris.

An informed source speculated the decree sends a message to Saudis: “Don’t come home. Fight unto death or victory.”

For half a century Saudi Arabia used its oil wealth to promote Muslim fundamentalists, notably the brotherhood and its offshoots, to counter the secular pan-Arab nationalism preached by Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser and the Syrian and Iraqi Baath parties.

The kingdom provided refuge for brotherhood officials and activists from Egypt and other countries where governments were battling the movement. However, in recent years, Riyadh fell out with the brotherhood because it did not follow Saudi dictation.

After Shia clerics overthrew the shah of Iran in 1979 and tried to export their “Islamic revolution” to the wider Muslim world, which is 85 per cent Sunni, Saudi Arabia, which sees itself as the guardian of Sunni orthodoxy, turned to evangelism.

The object has been to convert Muslims to “Wahhabism,” the Saudi puritanical interpretation of Islam. The Saudi campaign in Syria is against Damascus’s ally Shia Iran as well as godless, secular Baathism.

The rise in the price of oil since the 1970s has enabled the Saudis to train clerics and build schools, Islamic centres, universities and mosques around the world.

Traditionally gentle, tolerant, mystic Sufis, who had served as Islam’s missionaries, have been replaced by narrow, harsh Wahhabi preachers and imams. Over the past 30 years the kingdom has spent more than $100 billion (€72 billion) on promoting Wahhabism.

Even before the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia – partnered by the US Central Intelligence Agency – trained and armed mujahideen (holy warriors) from Afghanistan and across the Muslim world to fight the Soviet Afghan republic. After the war ended with the Soviet withdrawal from that country in 1989, veterans of this conflict fanned out to fight in Bosnia, Algeria, Libya, the Caucasus and elsewhere.
Fearing blowback from Saudi jihadis engaged in the Syrian war, Riyadh has recently given the Syrian file to the interior minister Prince Mohamed bin Nayef, who has been in charge of an anti-terrorism campaign in the kingdom and Yemen, replacing intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan.

The Wall Street Journal has quoted a key Saudi source who said the shift suggests that Riyadh could rely more on diplomatic than military means by exerting pressure on Russia, Iran and Hizbullah, Damascus’s chief supporters, to resolve the conflict by removing President Bashar al-Assad.

Nevertheless, Riyadh also favours providing shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles to “vetted” rebels, well aware these weapons could fall into al-Qaeda hands.

Irish Times

21 Comments on "Saudi Arabia Threatens to Blockade Qatar Over Terrorism"

  1. Makati1 on Wed, 12th Mar 2014 7:35 am 

    A hot summer in the Middle East is on tap. Gas $6+ by September? Please pass the popcorn…

  2. DC on Wed, 12th Mar 2014 9:22 am 

    Still cant get over the irony of Saudi Arabia.,amerikas one-stop superstore for islamic jihadists, calling Qatar, an equally oppressive and terrorist enabling satrapy of the uS empire, supporters of terrorism. Too funny.

    “closes global channel al-Jazeera, and expels local branches of the US Brookings Institution and Rand Corporation think tanks.”

    Well, for once, I agree with S.A. on something. The B.I. and Rand Corp are indeed terrorist organizations. All the same, good to see amerikas satraps squabbling for a change. Give them a taste of their own medicine for a change. Popcorn indeed.

  3. Arthur on Wed, 12th Mar 2014 10:26 am 

    Qatar is the real thing, the center of Sunni fundamentalist jihadism, ready to overthrow the current order in the Middle-East, where Saudi-Arabia (sounds as silly as ‘Bush-America’ or ‘Orange-Holland’) is a gerontological family business, shortly before it’s demise, tied via the petro-dollar arrangement to the people they hate most (progressive westerners). Qatar represents the future of the Middle-East, Saudi-Arabia the (colonial) past. The triangle Qatar-Ankara-Cairo (that is the Cairo of the Muslim Brotherhood) will eventually take over the entire Sunni Middle-East and will lead to the re-formation of the Caliphate, immediately after the dissolution of the US global empire. It will also mean the eventual removal of Assad from Syria, that will become fundamentalist as well. And Palestine will become an Ottoman province yet again, a rather unexpected result for the Clean Brake ‘great thinkers’ of the end nineties.

  4. Davy, Hermann, MO on Wed, 12th Mar 2014 1:12 pm 

    Arthur said – Palestine will become an Ottoman province yet again, a rather unexpected result for the Clean Brake ‘great thinkers’ of the end nineties.

    Yea, Arthur and the Netherlands will become another Nazi possession and the population slave labor when the 4th Reich rises again

  5. ghung on Wed, 12th Mar 2014 2:07 pm 

    Current events or a preemptive strike on the future? I expect the House of Saud has done the same math that Westexas has been showing us. They understand that they won’t be able to buy compliance of the masses, at least at current levels, in another 10-20 years. The House of Saud was always a house of cards, held together by oil.

    “…his son will eat his camel…”

  6. Arthur on Wed, 12th Mar 2014 2:49 pm 

    Yea, Arthur and the Netherlands will become another Nazi possession and the population slave labor when the 4th Reich rises again

    Not going to happen, since Britain and France have come to accept the existence of Germany and Russia has become a conservative country these days, without their former Bolshevik world conquest agenda.

    On top of that, the rise of a monolithic and very powerful China will ensure that Germany is going to be left alone this time.

    the population slave labor when the 4th Reich rises again

    Shortly before the war there were 22,000 people imprisoned in German camps, mostly communists (where-else should this murderous pack be parked?). In the USSR (your ally between 1933-1945) on the other hand, around the same time, there were more than 2 million people imprisoned in the Gulag, 100 times as many. Yes, the USSR could praise itself lucky to have such a loyal friend in the US, making the world safe for communism. The US b.t.w. in 2008 had 2.3 million people behind bars (but not for ideological reasons).

  7. bobinget on Wed, 12th Mar 2014 3:00 pm 

    While this news junkie monitors network media closely,
    this brew-ha-ha was not, to my knowledge, mentioned. Saudi Fear is understandable. KSA has for the last two years throwing big money supporting the ‘Free Syrian Army’ with no material success.
    The House of Saud, now fearful thousands of returning veteran fighters, good at killing and little else, would like to turn back the clock. Too late.

    Evidently the Saudis are upping the anti. As all here know, embargoes, sea land and air, are casus belli.
    It’s also too late to shut down Al Jazeera. Which BTW,
    is not reporting this Saudi move on their front pages.
    Neither is BBC or other news orgs …”Irish Times” ?

    Last week KSA broke diplomatic relations with Qatar and I thought that was heavy. This latest move, should all be true… smacks, of desperation.

    Don’t be fooled, Iran will emerge the big winner here.

  8. shortonoil on Wed, 12th Mar 2014 3:04 pm 

    By our best estimates Ghawar is more than 80% depleted (calculated from their reported 45% water cut). Over the next decade they will see their per unit production costs increasing significantly. Saudi production has been on a plateau since 2006, and without increased production their revenue stream will be shrinking dramatically. Faced with an ever ballooning population to feed from the Kingdom’s only source of income, oil, doesn’t bode well for future supplies.

  9. ghung on Wed, 12th Mar 2014 3:19 pm 

    Meanwhile: BBC – “Israel’s parliament has approved legislation that will end exemptions from military service for ultra-Orthodox Jewish seminary students….

    …Exemptions from military conscription were given to the ultra-Orthodox, or Haredim, when Israel was created in 1948. At that time there were only 400 seminary students.

    Now, owing to their high birth rate, the ultra-Orthodox account for about 10% of the country’s population of about 8 million.”

  10. bobinget on Wed, 12th Mar 2014 3:36 pm 

    In light of the missing 777, this throw-away line worries me the most.

    “Nevertheless, Riyadh also favours providing shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles to “vetted” rebels, well aware these weapons could fall into al-Qaeda hands.”

    I’ll bet Saudis like Israelis believe if your state has flag and fighter jets (or drones) any killing being done for your cause is justified by some “rules of war” .
    No crossing that thin line between a holy war sanctioned by a God and a good solid war sanctioned by corporate France, Germany,
    Russia or the US.

    Yes I said it. Israel is no more justified in its terrorist behavior in the name of God any more than so called Islamic States, Iran or Saudi Arabia.

  11. bobinget on Wed, 12th Mar 2014 4:20 pm 

    What’s the oil market response to news of yet another
    ‘break-up’ within OPEC?
    Crude just hit what could be today’s low of $97. Even natural gas is lower on news —warm weather is definitely on the way —mid June.

    Can’t tell ‘whose who’ w/o a program.
    in no particular order;

    Nigeria; potential civil war. Govt calling for US military aid. longest petrol lines in the world. Six billion in oil cash gone missing, last twelve months. Power intermittent at best. Perhaps the most discontent oil
    rich, poverty stricken, sickest nation in the world.

    Venezuela; major demos daily. Killed, fewer than 20.
    Iran; supporting deadly Syrian regime
    Saudi Arabia; Supporting deadly Syrian Rebels
    Iraq; over 5,000 dead last twelve months, civil war ..
    Ecuador; resumed jungle drilling, revenue desperation.
    Qatar; In sights of all Arab states for exposing
    corruption, terrorist financing. Semi Free Press.
    Reds call it “counter revolutionary” free opinion, also
    called “UnIslamic”, UnAmerican.

    WE are witness to nothing less then disintegration
    of OPEC. If traders believe NA oil companies can
    make money below $100. they are smoking goods only available legally in Washington and Colorado.

  12. shortonoil on Wed, 12th Mar 2014 5:56 pm 

    “If traders believe NA oil companies can
    make money below $100. they are smoking goods only available legally in Washington and Colorado.”

    Our model puts the average world production cost at $109 / barrel. Marginal producers will sometime in the near future begin shutting-in production. This is bad news for the 2015-2016 petroleum price. We will probably see $140-150 /barrel prices by 2016. Once shut-in many of those marginal producers will never reopen. We’ll pay for this for many years to come!

  13. Davey on Wed, 12th Mar 2014 6:30 pm 

    I Agee with you Shortonoil. It is even worse in Venezuela

  14. J-Gav on Wed, 12th Mar 2014 9:53 pm 

    Thanks again Shorton, for the confirmation re: the real deal. As for Ghawar, well, that’s speculation, but sounds reasonable to me, just as it did to Matt Simmons. Concerning $140-$150 a barrel by 2016, my first reaction was “Hmm, seems a bit steep.” Upon reflection, however, it hardly seems impossible. A few years ago, I might even have said $200 a barrel but have since become more timorous in my predictions.

  15. Arthur on Wed, 12th Mar 2014 10:03 pm 

    Don’t be fooled, Iran will emerge the big winner here.

    Exactly and Turkey (Sunni Jihadis) and Iran will divide the KSA among themselves once the US withdraws from the ME. The Saudi’s were opposed to the US invasion of Iraq and now it becomes clear why: unleashing of Shi’ites.

  16. george on Wed, 12th Mar 2014 10:13 pm 

    I smell a brief skirmish coming up in the Persian gulf between the kingdom and Iran
    Stay tuned.

  17. Davey on Wed, 12th Mar 2014 10:15 pm 

    Arthur, dream on. Last I heard the world follows international law. The world would unite against any kind of KSA take over. Sounds like a fictional story you have been reading.

  18. shortonoil on Wed, 12th Mar 2014 11:12 pm 

    Over at Darwinian’s site: they are discussing whether or not OPEC has peaked. Jeffery J. Brown posted some numbers from his ECI model (ratio of production to consumption). If you use his model Saudi Arabia is declining at about 4.6% per year; if you take into account their internal consumption. They are requiring more of their own production to power SA.

    This coincides quite closely with the ETP model. The ETP model predicts that as time progresses it takes more energy to produce energy; that is, SA must consume more of its own oil to produce its oil (oil = energy). This shows up as declining oil available for export. The ECI model of Jeffery J. Brown is a better indicator of world petroleum depletion than a straight numerical count of production. It implicitly takes into consideration the increasing energy needed to produce energy.

    The ETP model indicates that on a quality adjusted bases world production declined by 1% in 2013. On an energy bases it declined by 2.5%. Unless that was compensated for from other sources that translates to a loss of about $350 billion in world economic activity, and about $1 trillion for the US (we use more oil per capita). Interesting, $1 trillion is about equal to the FED’s QE program.

  19. Arthur on Thu, 13th Mar 2014 8:53 am 

    Davey, the US invasion of Iraq was illegal and not sanctioned by the UN, so please spare me your idealized notions of international law in a darwinian world. What happened in Iraq, namely the removal of a fine, solid old school dictator, that lead to the retribilization of Mesopotamia, will happen in KSA as well. Once the US grip on that country will loosen, the Shi’ite minority in KSA, who happen to inhabit most of the oil provinces, will smell their chance to file for divorce on extremely beneficial financial terms. And obviously Tehran will be standing by and come to the aid of their brothers in faith, like they did in Bagdad and Damascus. Game, set and match Iran, all backed by Russia and China.

  20. Davy, Hermann, MO on Thu, 13th Mar 2014 10:08 am 

    Arthur there is no reason KSA could not move on Iran with your thinking. KSA needs more “lebensraum” There are more Sunni’s in the world than Shia’s. The Sunnis could decide to do a jihad on the Shias and end up in Iran. The KSA’s military is significant Iran is barely above KSA per (

    I think you are out there on this one Arthur. It sounds fictional to me. Arthur I think you would make a great fiction writer but a historian “NO”

  21. Arthur on Thu, 13th Mar 2014 4:24 pm 

    I’m not aware of any significant military accomplishment of the Saudi’s in history, which cannot be said of Iran, that withstood for years the assault by Iraq, supported by the West. I am sure the Saudi’s have a lot of hardware, but not the right mentality. They don’t stand a chance against Iran.

    The eastern region of Saudi Arabia has witnessed a deadly cycle of demonstrations, shootings, and detentions for more than two years. While Shia in the east share grievances with the rest of the country, simmering discontent is aggravated by a history of regime discrimination and provincial neglect.

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