Qatar row: Five countries cut links with Doha.

Discussion in 'Military News and Clips' started by Rover, Jun 5, 2017.

  1. Rover

    Rover Moderator

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    Turkey Marches Ahead With Its Military Plans in Qatar

    Though Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies have cut ties with Qatar, touching off a diplomatic crisis in the Middle East, one friend has refused to abandon the small country on the Persian Gulf. Turkey's steadfast support of Qatar has stood out since the dispute began June 5. Not only has Ankara provided diplomatic and trade assistance to Doha, but it also has moved to expedite the deployment of Turkish forces to Qatar, a decision that will fortify the common ground forming between the two countries.

    Building Stronger Security Ties

    Though Turkey's parliament agreed to the deployment last week, the decision to base Turkish forces in Qatar dates back to a 2014 agreement between the two states. Turkey has already sent a limited number of troops to Qatar; according to several reports, between 100 and 150 troops have been stationed at a Qatari military base since October 2016. But these forces are only the vanguard of what is intended to become a more meaningful and permanent deployment. The Turkish military dispatched a three-person delegation on June 12 to coordinate the arrival of additional forces. The latest available information, however, indicates there are practical issues relating to the facility intended to host the Turkish troops that need to be resolved before they can arrive.

    Before the Turkish parliament and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan officially ratified the decision to send troops to Qatar, both countries had already agreed on the command structure of the Turkish base there. From that agreement, it would appear that Turkey is not simply looking for a base to run its own operations from, but is rather seeking a joint structure that will intertwine its activities with those of the Qatari military. While the Turkish forces will have their own facility, it will be under the command of a joint headquarters based in Doha, with a Qatari general at the helm supported by a Turkish general as his second in command.

    Initially, Turkey planned to send about 600 troops to Qatar. While this number likely remains true for the next phase of Turkey's deployment, the vote in parliament and several statements by Turkish officials have generated talk of a much larger deployment that may follow, eventually totaling about 3,000 troops. Turkey is also considering sending fighter aircraft and warships to Qatar. Such a deployment would give Turkey a significant presence in Qatar, though it may not necessarily sound like one compared with the 11,000 U.S. forces currently stationed there.

    Turkish forces would primarily be in Qatar to assist and train Qatari forces, though they would also use the base to launch their own military operations. In theory, the Turkish military could also defend the Qatari government against internal or external threats. A deployment of 3,000 Turkish troops, along with fighter aircraft and warships, could prove a considerable boost to Qatar's active military, which numbers about 11,800.

    Depending on how the political crisis between Qatar and other Gulf states develops, Turkey could choose to deploy more troops than the 600 it plans to initially send as a sign of support for Qatar, or even to guarantee the security of the Qatari government if new risks emerge. While Turkey's deployment remains a work in progress and will build incrementally, it cannot be ruled out that the deployment may eventually reach a level that elevates it beyond its current position as a symbol of military cooperation and political unity.

    Shared Goals in the Middle East

    Strategically, the Turkish and Qatari governments have seen some of their interests align in recent years. Both have identified opportunities to extend their influence within the Middle East by supporting Islamist groups. This aid increased substantially after the Arab Spring, when long-suppressed political Islamists found footholds in crumbling political systems. Doha and Ankara justify their support for the Muslim Brotherhood and other such groups by claiming they are supporting democratic values and self-determination in the region. While Turkey and Qatar have some ideological alignment with Sunni Islamist groups, their backing is more about cultivating influence with popular movements that have millions of followers and adherents across the region.

    Doha's efforts over the years to build stronger security and trade ties with Turkey were similarly designed as a means to broaden Qatar's influence beyond what its small size should allow, and to provide it with an extra layer of support for its security outside the Saudi and U.S. umbrellas. Doha has watched Riyadh's efforts to circumvent its independence over the years, and resentment over being treated like a vassal state of the Saudi kingdom has helped prompt the Qatari government to diversify its alliances, even by developing ties with a Saudi rival like Turkey.

    Critically, Qatar's liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector — one of the largest in the world — allows Doha to maintain an independent economy. Because of its wealth, Qatar is not forced to fall in line with Saudi Arabia's policies to keep economic aid flowing, as is Bahrain. The health and independence of Qatar's LNG sector depends on the nation maintaining a balanced relationship with Iran, too, which bothers Saudi Arabia. And it is a relationship Qatar will not be willing to give up.

    Turkey's presence in Qatar gives Ankara another means of challenging Saudi efforts to dominate the Middle East and lead the Sunni world. Saudi Arabia has a positive relationship with Turkey, but Riyadh sees Turkey's military presence in Qatar as an irritant and a challenge to its authority.

    Meanwhile, despite its rift with Saudi Arabia and its growing security relationship with Turkey, Qatar's military cooperation with the United States remains robust. In no way does Turkey's military presence in Qatar give Doha the option to switch from its U.S. security guarantor to a Turkish backer. After all, the U.S.-Qatar military partnership goes back many years, and it doesn't rub Riyadh the wrong way. So even as it receives more support from Turkish forces, Doha is highly unlikely to discard the security and diplomatic strength that the U.S. presence in the country provides.

    Popcorn shortage, price increases!:(
     
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  2. GreyWing

    GreyWing Nobody

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    Add to that the US shooting down a Syrian Plane yesterday, and then Iran firing ballistic missiles into Syria to hit Saudi-backed terrorists in Syria in response to the attack in Tehran and things are starting to get very heated.

    Pro-Assad forces - if not Syrian Army - are getting very close to Coalition forces in Syria and forcing them out. Well, I say forcing them out, their only alternative is to fight back. Then we are at war with the Syrian's.

    The time to choose is coming very close, the coalition can't hide from the public our involvement any longer when we are at open war with the Syrian's. Something which if you look at public opinion almost nobody see's any sense in and won't support.

    Popcorn time indeed.
     
  3. Rover

    Rover Moderator

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    Another aspect of this situation that could also affect the situation between the Palestinians and Israel.


    Qatar Gulf row threatens cash crisis for Gaza

    By Yolande KnellBBC News, Gaza

    In a playground in Sheikh Hamad City, children shriek with delight, while their parents chat in the cool shade of their peach-coloured flats.

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    This huge housing project - now one of the most desirable addresses in Gaza - was built since 2012 with money from Qatar and named after the former ruler of the wealthy Gulf state.

    So far, more than 2,000 Palestinians - mostly low-income families - have moved in.

    The complex has a new school, shops, an impressive mosque and plenty of greenery. There is a constant whirr of construction noise as more buildings are erected.

    But as the regional crisis over Qatar escalates, Palestinians here - as elsewhere in the impoverished territory - fear the loss of their major donor and ally.

    "We're going to be the victims," says one resident, Baha Shalaby. "Everything's going to stop - the money, the support, the infrastructure, the building work."

    Economic lifeline

    In recent years, Qatar has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on new homes, a hospital and main roads in the Gaza Strip. It has pledged about $1bn (£780m) more.

    It is not yet clear how its projects will be affected by the ongoing row with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab countries. They are trying to economically isolate Qatar, accusing it of fostering terrorism - a charge the emirate strongly denies.

    However, the engineer in charge of fixing Gaza's main north-south road warns of the possible wider implications of any cuts.

    "We have hundreds of workers, all supporting families," says Hanafi Sadallah.

    "Levels of unemployment in Gaza are very high, so if the Qataris end our funding, they'll all just be left sitting at home."

    Just over 40% of Gazans are out of work, according to Palestinian officials - one of the highest unemployment rates in the world.

    One of Saudi Arabia's demands has been for Qatar to stop backing Hamas, which runs Gaza.

    The Islamist group took over by force a decade ago - ousting Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces, a year after Hamas won legislative elections.

    Hamas leaders insist that Qatari help to Gaza has been primarily charitable.

    "The houses that were built are not for Hamas, the streets that were asphalted are not for Hamas," one senior figure, Mahmoud Zahar, tells the BBC.

    "The humanitarian institutions - hospitals and schools, they're also for the Palestinian people. All attempts to hitch Hamas to Qatar are wrong and void."

    Israel says Hamas has also used foreign funding to bolster its military infrastructure, which its blockade aims to keep from strengthening.

    To try to prevent any such accusations against its projects, Doha set up its own coordination office in Gaza and deals directly with contractors or works with UN agencies.

    Easing pressure

    Nevertheless, Qatar's initiatives have buoyed Hamas through difficult times - the tight border restrictions imposed by both Israel and Egypt, and three bloody conflicts with Israel.

    There has also been political and diplomatic support from Doha.

    The emir of Qatar is the only head of state to have visited the Palestinian territory since Hamas has been in charge.

    Many leaders of the group - including its former head, Khaled Meshaal, have been living in luxurious exile in Doha.

    Now as Hamas seeks to ease pressure on its patron, several have reportedly left at Qatar's request.

    Last month, the group also announced a new policy document in Doha, which tempered its long-held position against accepting an interim Palestinian state, and made no mention of its parent organisation, the Muslim Brotherhood.

    The Brotherhood has been categorised as a terrorist group by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

    'We are Qatar'

    The latest developments concerning Qatar come amid mounting political and economic strain on Hamas.

    US President Donald Trump has said that, alongside the so-called Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and Hezbollah, Hamas is contributing to a regional "humanitarian and security disaster".

    Last week, Israel agreed to a PA plan to cut power supplies to two million people in Gaza that will reduce their daily average of four hours of electricity by 45 minutes.

    Hamas accuses its political rivals of plotting with the Trump administration and Israel to unseat it in Gaza.

    Many of its members link local and wider regional developments.

    "Qatar is being punished for speaking freely and supporting the Arab Spring," remarks Hamas parliamentarian, Yahya Musa, at a small rally in Sheikh Hamad City.

    "It's being punished for supporting us and the resistance. We stand with our brothers to reject US plans against Qatar and the conspiracy against the resistance."

    As he speaks, children wave Palestinian and Qatari flags, alongside signs reading "Solidarity with Qatar" and "We are all Qatar".

    The Palestinians here are banking on a diplomatic solution to the crisis. Without one, they know they could end up paying the price.
     
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  4. GreyWing

    GreyWing Nobody

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    The Serious Fraud Office charge Barclays former execs with Fraud for accepting money from Qatar to bail it out in 2008. The way the transfers were done looks suspicious.

    Don't get me wrong, it looks a bit dodgy. But since when do we start charging people for dodgy deals with Gulf states? There is plenty of suspicious transactions with Saudis over the years.

    The facts are that it has been 10 years since the bail out, all of a sudden within 1 month of this kicking off - there are charges. Looks sort of like the UK Government is throwing its soft power behind one side.

    Unless of course, they follow up with the BAE stuff.
     

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