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Will Qatar save itself from its neighbours?

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz (R) meets with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani upon the latters arrival to attend the 136th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit, in the Saudi capital Riyadh, on December 9, 2015. Gulf monarchs began arriving in Saudi Arabia for an annual summit, facing challenges including plunging oil revenues, the war in Yemen, pressure for peace in Syria and signs of regional divisions. AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP / FAYEZ NURELDINE

Qatar is tiny, agreed but its size is not puts Qatar on the map. It is the fact that Qatar is a large economy which is far too powerful for its own size.

Qatar has never been a favorite to the other Emiratis due to its independent nature that does not align its policies with the rest of the herd of sheep. Unable to withstand the challenges the tiny country poses to the big wigs like Saudi, UAE and Egypt they decided it was time to act to pull Qatar down once and for all.

Sure, with their combined forces they couldn’t go wrong. But a series of devastating miscalculations has led to the failure of their own masterplan.

The attempt to bring Qatar to its knees by closing its borders and effectively laying siege to it has shed light on the real forces competing for dominance of the region in the post-Western world in which we live today.

The ancient regimes of absolute Gulf monarchs: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, while also including Jordan and Egypt. Are trying to subdue Qatar.

Their first miscalculation was to trust the Trump narrative. They assumed that when Trump said he supports Saudi Arabia it meant the whole of the USA. This could not have been more embarrassing for both parties as the US government scrambled to do damage control over Trump’s statements meanwhile Saudi Arabia learnt they were dealing with a business man not a president.

They miscalculated how much Qatar’s wealth could do. Qatar has said that it has too much money to worry about Saudi Arabia cutting diplomatic ties with the country.

“We have sovereign wealth funds of 250 per cent of gross domestic product, we have Qatar Central Bank reserves, and we have a ministry of finance strategic reserve,” the country’s finance minister Ali Sharif al-Emadi told.

He commented after the Saudi-led group vowed to take more measures against Qatar, the minister said that his country had better finances than its rivals, even after Qatar’s credit rating agencies have downgraded the country’s financial prospects.

Bahrain and Egypt, they are at junk bond level,” he said. “If you look at Saudi Arabia, they are having genuine issues with their finances.

“We are the fastest-growing country in the region, 40 per cent faster than the nearest Gulf Co-operation Council country [the UAE].”

The third miscalculation was to assume that because Qatar was small, no bigger nation would come to its defence. Both Saudi and the UAE have significant investments in Turkey, one of which Abu Dhabi made after it had tried to unseat Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a coup. Both thought Turkey would be bought off.

The opposite happened. Erdogan realised that if Qatar were crushed, he would be the only man of that camp standing.

The two game changers for Saudi Arabia’s campaign against Qatar are the Turkish parliament’s decision to fast track legislation allowing Turkish troops to be deployed at a base in Qatar, and the statement by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps accusing Saudi Arabia of responsibility for the attack on the Iranian parliament and the Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini in which 12 died.

This leaves Saudi Arabia isolated. It can bully a smaller nation, but it cannot defend its own country without substantial amounts of foreign military support.

Whatever their commander-in-chief may tweet, the US military in the Gulf is trying very hard to avoid having to provide it. Which is possibly one reason why the White House and the Pentagon have been saying different things about Qatar

Their fourth miscalculation was to reveal their real problem with Qatar. Their real demands are the closure of Al Jazeera, de-funding of Al Arabi al Jadid, Al Quds al Arabi, and the Arabic edition of Huffington Post, along with the expulsion of Palestinian public intellectual Azmi Bishara.

Al Jazeera reveals the stories that these Arab dictators most want their citizens not to know about. They want to shut down all media that reveals the inconvenient truth about their dictatorial, bent, corrupt regimes in the world.

The final miscalculation Qatar is stronger diplomatically. It has friends with powerful armies – a country with a population smaller than Houston has got a sovereign wealth fund worth $335bn. It is the largest producer of natural gas in the Middle East. It has a relationship with Exxon. The Saudis and Emiratis are not the only players in the lobby game. And ironically even Gaza has survived its siege.

So in conclusion, can Qatar save itself from its neighbours? Sure it can! It will be hard as the pressure keeps mounting, but in the end Qatar will somehow learn to survive without its neighbours and keep on keeping on.

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