When Saudi Arabia blockaded Qatar, (closed off its land border and established a trade embargo) it was Iran and Turkey that came to the rescue! Strange, wasn’t it? It was immediate. It was effective. And above all it seems that as one commentator put it, the “Saudis seem to have overplayed their hands”.
Given that the Qataris love spending their cash in the U.K. more than anywhere else, don’t expect the British establishment to join President Donald Trump’s enthusiastic endorsement of the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar anytime soon.
The Qataris are completely in the hands of the Brits. It’s that simple. Their gas fields are managed by British oil companies. And, their elite are educated and developed in Britain.
“The great thing about the Qataris,” a wealthy racehorse trainer told me recently, as the sound of several million dollars’ worth of prime Qatari-owned horseflesh thundering around the gallops in the distance filtered up to us, “is that they just love spending money. They can’t stop spending money. They just want to spend, spend, spend.”
Through the Qatar Investment Authority, the nation’s sovereign wealth fund, various anonymous holding companies or through the private fortunes of assorted members of the mind-bogglingly wealthy ruling al-Thani family, the Qataris are the biggest property owners in London by a mile.
They own huge swathes of the British capital, including the elite department store Harrods, the financial district of Canary Wharf, and big chunks of the City of London. The QIA owns the site of the Chelsea Barracks, the Olympic Village and, most famously, the iconic London skyscraper, the Shard.
Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, the former head of the Qatar Investment Authority, said last year that Qatari investment into the U.K. to date amounted to £30 billion, and that London was the preferred destination.
The al-Thani’s privileged position at the heart of British society is visibly central to the British public when he sits alongside the Queen in the Royal box at Royal Ascot, the legendary three-day horse race meeting whose patron is none other than Her Majesty, who arrives at the event each day in a horse-drawn carriage, to great fanfare and attention.
The al-Thanis have bought their way into the heart of society by sponsoring Royal Ascot to the tune of many millions in prize money and corporate branding through the QIPCO holding company which is now one of Royal Ascot’s most important financial backers.
The Qataris also sponsor major soccer (football) teams across Europe. These teams are very dear to the European public, who would never allow their demise.
The irony of it all, is that this Saudi action is being taken, putatively, to chastise Qatar for funding terror groups in the region. Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (including Dubai and Abu Dhabi) joined in the blockade under the same pretext. But, given Saudi Arabia’s long and well documented history of funding extremist madrassas run along deeply conservative lines, and direct funding for many terrorist groups, this action becomes strangely comic.
The truth is, Sunni Saudi Arabia hates the fact that Qatar supports the Muslim Brotherhood and is friendly to Shia Iran. They also hate the fact that Qatar won’t do what it is told and has consistently objected to any attempts to “pool” sovereignty, currency or defense with other Arab nations (which would give Saudi Arabia dominance in the region). Qatar has played the same exact role Britain has played in Europe – by keeping a monetary distance from Saudi Arabia and its allies… and now even exiting the European Union. Qatar will not dance to Saudi Arabia’s tune, that is for sure.
And in, comes Iran, to save the day!
Iran immediately opened its skies to Qatar’s airlines. Iran supplied food – quickly! And Iran is continuing to supply anything and everything Qatar needs – without missing a beat.
Iran’s role in saving Qatar has been surprisingly marshalled and timely. Almost as if Iran’s regime was ‘ordered’ to assist British backed Qatar. Turkey, too, has played a very significant role!
In politics, you can never believe the rhetoric, and must always focus on actions. These actions largely confirm a few very important facts: (1) The Mullahs are British backed, (2) The Turkish ‘regime’ (Erdogan) is British Backed. And (3) That the Muslim Brotherhood is largely an extension of British Foreign policy in the region!
The Mullahs in Iran would NOT have survived 40 years without serious foreign backing! That much is clear.
The Iran-Saudi, Qatar-Saudi Turkey-Iraq spats are therefore largely proxy battles between the U.S. and Britain for control of the Middle-East! It’s a battle the U.S. is losing.
With allies like Britain, who needs enemies?