If it were about bringing democracy into the Arab region then the West shouldn’t use Gulf Arab states and Islamists for this purpose. But the objectives of the West are becoming clearer everyday. The real targets are attacking: Nationalism; Russia and Iran.
French President Describes Qatari Head of State as `Ideal Partner`
According to a French businessman who knows the Gulf well and who spoke under cover of anonymity: “Of course, the Qataris would not have dashed into such a project without a green light from the Elysee.” Although the most high profile of Gulf principalities — backed by its huge natural gas revenues — invests wholesale in major European nations, the United States and in Asia (in real estate, banks, industry), the closeness between the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has no equivalent.
Sheikh Hamad, who was the first Arab head of state to come visit the newly elected president at the Elysee in May 2007, paradoxically found and ideal partner in this assailant of the French “Arab policy” inherited from Gaullism. The Francophilia that has always been attributed to the emir, which he inherited from his father (today, Qatar`s military equipment is still 80% French), a monarch who was deposed without any snags in 1995, partly explains this special relationship. However its main driving force is the complementarity between the ambitious president of a still influential power that has a veto right in the United Nations and the sovereign of a micro state who wishes to play a leading role by relying on almost unlimited financial resources. Sheikh Hamad could not have hoped for similar overtures from the United States, which has the region`s main land base on its territory. Resolve
The two men, brought together by the same activism and the same taste for top-down power that avoids all sorts of intermediaries, teamed up back in 2007, with the release of the Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian doctor who had been unfairly imprisoned in Libya, and then again in 2008 with the reconciliation between France and Syria in the wake of the agreement that the Lebanese factions reached in Doha. The Franco-Qatari pair gained fame once again in Libya with the political and military support provided to the rebels against Colonel Mu`ammar al-Qadhafi, even though Qatar`s propensity to massively arm certain Libyan militias ended up arousing the concern and annoyance of French diplomats. However, this is far from a systematic partnership in the Middle East, as shown in the case of the financial aid for the Palestinian Authority, which Mr. Sarkozy took up in 2007 without ever managing to convince Sheikh Hamad.
Arab spring: ‘Western-backed exported Islamist revolution’
The string of uprisings in the Arab world boils down to Saudi Arabia and Qatar using money and influence to hijack public dissent and bring Sunni Islamists to power, says John R. Bradley, British author and expert on the Middle East.
He argues that the turbulence that saw several governments overthrown in 2011 came from sectarian divide among Muslims, which the West played on, to support its own allies.
“What we’re seeing is a Sunni-Shiite divide reemerge in the Middle East with Washington clearly backing the Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia, a close American ally. And Saudi Arabia in turn along with Qatar has taken control of the revolutions elsewhere.
“For example it’s funding the Ennahda, the main Islamist party in Tunisia. The Muslim Brotherhood and more extremist Salafi groups in Egypt on the record were saying they received substantial funds from Saudi Arabia. The Yemeni government has openly criticized Qatar for interfering in its internal affairs and funding radical Islamists. And of course in Syria the main civilian opposition is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, and the so-called Free Syrian Army is dominated by not only radical jihadists from within Syria, but also by jihadists from throughout the region,” the expert told RT.
Bradley has little doubt that citizens of the countries hit by the Arab Spring had reason to criticize their authorities, but contrary to western audiences’ beliefs, the lack of political rights was far from being the most important factor.
“The motivation for these revolutions was economic. In Tunisia for example it started with the impoverished and neglected deep south. In Syria it started in Daraa, a city near Jordan, which has been experiencing drought for three years. And in Egypt an extensive opinion poll carried out among those who went to Tahrir just after Mubarak fell showed that only 19 per cent of them put free and fair election and free expression and so on, on top of their agenda. The main priority for 65 percent was the economy,” he said.