There might be several reasoning for the forthcoming Great War but the current one focusses on Iran which continues to defy the American-Israeli interest for global supremacy and its geostrategic imperatives. Those are well documented in several books.
From the beginning of the human race we find lessons of kings and leaders who’ve made the same historical mistakes over time. I recently published my article THE GREAT WAR FOR CIVILIZATION: A LESSON FROM HISTORY on June 26, 2017 in Oriental Review. Many nations that became empires then ceased to exist due to recurring mistakes of other empires. They all became food for history books, read by ordinary people to be brushed away as stories but not so by historians who term them as events.
We live today in the most dangerous of times threatened by a growing arsenal of hi tech weapons, thousands of nuclear weapons and accurate missiles that can wipe off the entire humanity in a few seconds and they’re all at the control of leaders with the same power and arrogance that has put empires in oblivion. Will another one occur? The answer is yes if history serves a lesson.
I’m not the only one reasoning that the Great War is going to become a reality. The scenario for it will not be Europe or Asia as those two theaters were the backdrops in the past few centuries leading to deaths and diseases due to weapons that were hardly deadly in comparison of what are at disposal today. The theater has now shifted to the Middle East the cradle of civilization and the Abrahamic confluence of three great religions which the late historian Dr. Samuel P. Huntington has published in his 1993 book The Clash of Civilizations- the clash being for the ideological, economic and political dominancy, not religious.
There is a 3 dimensional problem across the Muslim world: Fundamentalism, extremism and terrorism. All three were home grown in Saudi Arabia in 1979 when the Wahhabi jihadist (religious warrior) Osama bin Laden was sent from Saudi Arabia with the blessings of the USA to Afghanistan to eliminate the so called evil empire known as Soviet Russia. The jihadi accomplished his job and was aptly rewarded in May 2011 when America no longer needed his services. Similarly President Zia Haq of Pakistan who also aided the American-Wahhabi vision was mysteriously blown up in mid-air in August 1988.
In August 1990 Saddam Hussein of Iraq was purportedly encouraged by US Ambassador April Glaspie to invade Kuwait. Saddam was an American puppet and he believed that the US was sincere in encouraging him to take over the small nation with minimal defenses but massive oil and gas resources. Saddam too was rewarded in December 2006.
If the above two events provide a lesson then will the young Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Salman be encouraged to invade Qatar? Although there are 13 demands in the Saudi-Qatari rift, one of them is removing those “terrorists and extremists” from Qatar viz Egypt’s Yusuf Qardawi of Muslim Brotherhood, Palestine’s Khalid Meshal of Hamas and the senior leadership of the Afghanistan Taliban who’ve been provided sanctuaries in Doha. All three are in the US radar and now in the Saudi alliance (Egypt, Bahrain and UAE). Qatar is supported by Turkey, Iraq and to an undeclared degree Iran. So now the same Muslim coalition of 50 plus nations that listened in awe to Donald Trump recently in Riyadh is splintered.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir was in Washington on June 27 along with other diplomats for meetings with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to resolve the spat. Al-Jubeir said via Twitter “Our demands on Qatar are non-negotiable. It’s now up to Qatar to end its support for extremism and terrorism.” This underscores the key point. The New York Post in an opinion by Jonathan Schanzer on April 20, 2017 suggested that it is Time for the US to Stop Qatar’s Support for Terror. It is therefore no surprise that the rift started as soon as Trump returned to the US. The US Secretary of State is bound to support Saudis in this regard.
In the past Saudi Arabia itself has provided political sanctuaries to far more dangerous leaders like Idi Amin the butcher of Uganda, Nawaz Sharif a convicted traitor from Pakistan, Zainul Abedin ben Ali of Tunisia against who are charges of money laundering and drug trafficking and recently the deposed Abd Mansur Hadi of Yemen?
A power struggle started in Saudi Arabia after the dismissal of the previous Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdul Aziz ibn Saud (the grandson of founding father ibn Saud and son of Nayef who was one of the Sudairi Seven) who traditionally would’ve succeeded King Salman. As with all successions the power struggle will be between the supporters of the new 31 year old ambitious Crown Prince Mohammed ibn Salman known as MBS (younger brother Khaled is the current Saudi Ambassador to the US) and the 56 year old deposed Crown Prince Nayef. Some may argue that MBS has received pledges from the royal supporter but palace treachery can never be discounted. The situation is clearly benefitting President Donald Trump to exploit it to America’s benefit.
Is it a plausible scenario for the US to encourage Crown Prince MBS to invade Qatar or help with a Doha palace coup? The British have done it in the past. A valid pretext exists for eliminating terrorists and removal of the Doha based organizations that have been provided political sanctuaries. Of course there is an American sword of 9/11 complicit hanging over Saudi Arabia. It is a significant threat. As Simon Tisdall has correctly written in his post in the Guardian of June 25, 2017 “ For critics at home and abroad, he (MBS) is a dangerous and inexperienced firebrand who could undermine stability and lead Saudi Arabia to unintentional disaster.”
As defense minister and deputy Crown Prince MBS was instrumental in launching Operation Decisive Storm against Yemen in March 2015. Some 28 months later, his uncoordinated actions against Yemeni Houthis supported by Iran has run into a stalemate. So has the proxy war in Syria to dislodge Al-Assad. The German intelligence agency BND had termed MBS as a political gambler who is destabilising the Arab world through proxy wars in Yemen and Syria. Other reports have recently suggested that MBS has no recourse now except seek support from the only powerful ally who is Donald Trump. Trump lauded hypocritical praise on the young Crown Prince feeding both egos (his included) and was rewarded with billions of dollars investment in the US in the form of military hardware purchases. Trump’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson mentioned publicly that the weapons will help Saudi Arabia defend itself against Iran.
Will the deepening Saudi-Qatari spat lead to an invasion of Qatar by Saudi Arabia and its allies as with Kuwait by Iraq or a Qatari palace coup if Tillerson is unable to resolve the issue? Would Qatar agree to remove Qardawi, Meshal and closing Taliban offices in Doha and will it agree to succumb to the 13 demands? These questions are valid based on historic evidences but answers will only be forthcoming in the next few weeks or months as Muslim Middle East gets destabilized under the watch of two dangerous, unpredictable and vindictive leaders Mohammed bin Salman and Donald Trump as they share a common vision.
The views expressed are the author’s own and not necessarily represent ones of the ORIENTAL REVIEW Editorial.