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5 possible outcomes of the Qatar crisis

Deadlock or bloodless regime change is far more likely than a real war.

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On the second day of the Qatar crisis, people are all ready looking for possible outcomes.

Here are the most likely outcomes based how things currently stand, in order from most to least likely.

1. Palace Coup/Internal Regime Change 

It is a open secret among the Qatari elite and watchers of the Gulf that many prominent figures in Qatar have been openly opposed to the wily rule of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Coming to power at the age of 34 in 2013, the young Emir has often pursued foreign policies designed to ‘rock the cradle’.

This caused a temporary diplomatic crisis between Qatar and Saudi Arabia in 2014 and is the proximate cause of the current, much deeper crisis.

READ MORE: 5 things you need to know about what’s going on with Qatar

Many have openly complained that Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s mother is secretly pulling many of the strings of government behind the scenes and are consequently deeply desirous for a more experienced or at least a less controversial leader to take power.

With pressure from all sides, many in Qatar may feel that now is the time to do something they have always wanted to do, enact a controversial but likely bloodless palace coup against the current leader.

Such things are not without very recent precedent in Qatar. In 1995, the current Emir’s father, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, came to power in a bloodless coup before resigning in 2013.

Some reports from Arab media have suggested that privately, the still living former Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, favours  Abdullah bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani to take over as the ruler of Qatar. Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani is the half-brother of the current ruler.

If the situation continues to deteriorate, members of the Qatari ruling family and other elite members of the Qatari state may simply take matters into their own hands. The Saudis would almost certainly be happy that their pressure could help to foment regime change and the wider world would look the other direction. The United States, a staunch ally of both Qatar and Saudi, would likely tacitly approve of such an event.

2. Indefinite Deadlock 

In spite of many in Qatar being uneasy with the young and overly ambitious rule of Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, he still does command a considerable amount of loyalty and power.

Of course, if an attempted palace coup were to fail, this would mean that the ruling regime would if anything tighten its grip on power making peaceful regime change all the more unlikely.

In this case, if the Saudis and Emiratis are intent on geographically isolating Qatar, the state could plunge into an internal crises that could force external mediators to attempt to intervene.

It is still however too early to say that this might happen any time soon. Even Turkey, the non-Arab state which is most keen to actively intervene in the crisis, has resigned itself to sit and wait to be called upon to step in. President Erdogan’s phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the matter, is testament to the fact that for the time being, Turkey will not act unilaterally. The Untied States has publicly urged for calm and adopted a tone of total neutrality.

3. A Brokered Deal 

Russia’s stated neutrality is legitimate while Turkey’s pro-Qatari stance while not yet openly flaunted by the Turkish regime, is unambiguous.

Egypt will never take Qatar’s side as Qatar’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood which is once again outlawed in Egypt, is seen as unforgivable.

Syria has no relations with Qatar or Saudi and Iraq is in no position to broker its own crisis let along one beyond its borders.

Kuwait and Oman don’t have the political influence necessary to broker such a deal and Iran will wisely keep well away from the Gulf which is to put it mildly, the most anti-Tehran region this side of Los Angeles. Iran will offer a lot of wise commentary on the issue, but will not politically intervene in the region, contrary to what some Gulfi and Salafist propaganda might say.

That leaves the United States which has a tremendous military presence in Qatar but also a notably one in Saudi Arabia. America is an ally to both and some would define both sates as having an inter-dependant relationship with the United States.

That being said, Donald Trump appears far less likely than his predecessor to want to get his hands dirty in a local Arab spat, however wide-reaching this spat may become.

While Russia could possibly broker a deal, first of all, Russia would only do this if both Qatar and Saudi called for it. Egypt would almost certainly be happy about this, but the Gulf states while not enemies of Russia, generally read from a totally different geo-political page. Still though, such a scenario isn’t impossible.

Russia could evenwork with Turkey. If such a thing is possible in Astana over the much more heated issue of the Syrian war, than it may be possible in respect of the Gulf. That being said, such a thing is still a long way off.

4. Pretext For War With Iran 

This scenario is one that ought to be dealt with, if for no other reason than to address the fact that such an absurd hypothesis is still being seriously entertained by many people. It is time to put such things to rest.

No US President from Jimmy Carter up through Donald Trump has gone to war with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Most have sought to destroy Iran but none of the them attempted to do so directly, because none of them could.

Iraq with both Soviet and western weapons could not do it in the 1980s and Iran has become far more powerful since then, in more ways than one.

Saudi and America were never going to be able to unite the Arab world against Iran. Iraq is now pro-Iranian and Ba’athist Syria is an Iranian ally. Lebanon has its own problems and its most powerful and well organised military party, Hezbollah would actively fight for Iran.

Egypt has its own problems and would simply look the other way.

Crucially, Pakistan which both Saudi and Qatar would rely on to provide mercenaries in the event of a war against Iran, has carefully refused to follow the Saudi led path to isolate Qatar. Pakistan is ultimately looking out for itself and sees no reason why it should alienate any Gulf country.

If anything, recently developments make the possibility of a war on Iran less likely because the most anti-Iranian region in the Arab world, the Gulf, is now witnessing an internal crisis. So much for an ‘Arab NATO’, something that was doomed to failure the moment such a shambolic phrase was uttered.

Iran looks more and more like the stable ancient state that it always has been. Meanwhile, the Gulf has descended into the tribal, familial fighting that says a lot about just how ‘state like’ the Gulf ‘states’ really are.

5. Hot Saudi War on Qatar 

The United States will simply not allow Saudi and Qatar to fight each other on a field of battle. When it comes to ascertaining who has the best military in the Gulf, the answer is simple: America.

America, with the soldiers and equipment it currently has stationed in the Gulf, could win any war it wants among rival Gulfis. This is why not even a rogue Gulfi general would be so stupid to try and act unilaterally in this way.

Some might dream of it, but in this case ‘The American Dream’ is the only fairy-tale which matters in the Gulf.

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Clinton-Yeltsin docs shine a light on why Deep State hates Putin (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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Bill Clinton and America ruled over Russia and Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s. Yeltsin showed little love for Russia and more interest in keeping power, and pleasing the oligarchs around him.

Then came Vladimir Putin, and everything changed.

Nearly 600 pages of memos and transcripts, documenting personal exchanges and telephone conversations between Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin, were made public by the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Dating from January 1993 to December 1999, the documents provide a historical account of a time when US relations with Russia were at their best, as Russia was at its weakest.

On September 8, 1999, weeks after promoting the head of the Russia’s top intelligence agency to the post of prime minister, Russian President Boris Yeltsin took a phone call from U.S. President Bill Clinton.

The new prime minister was unknown, rising to the top of the Federal Security Service only a year earlier.

Yeltsin wanted to reassure Clinton that Vladimir Putin was a “solid man.”

Yeltsin told Clinton….

“I would like to tell you about him so you will know what kind of man he is.”

“I found out he is a solid man who is kept well abreast of various subjects under his purview. At the same time, he is thorough and strong, very sociable. And he can easily have good relations and contact with people who are his partners. I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the nearly 600 pages of transcripts documenting the calls and personal conversations between then U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin, released last month. A strong Clinton and a very weak Yeltsin underscore a warm and friendly relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

Then Vladimir Putin came along and decided to lift Russia out of the abyss, and things changed.

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Here are five must-read Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges from with the 600 pages released by the Clinton Library.

Via RT

Clinton sends ‘his people’ to get Yeltsin elected

Amid unceasing allegations of nefarious Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, the Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges reveal how the US government threw its full weight behind Boris – in Russian parliamentary elections as well as for the 1996 reelection campaign, which he approached with 1-digit ratings.

For example, a transcript from 1993 details how Clinton offered to help Yeltsin in upcoming parliamentary elections by selectively using US foreign aid to shore up support for the Russian leader’s political allies.

“What is the prevailing attitude among the regional leaders? Can we do something through our aid package to send support out to the regions?” a concerned Clinton asked.

Yeltsin liked the idea, replying that “this kind of regional support would be very useful.” Clinton then promised to have “his people” follow up on the plan.

In another exchange, Yeltsin asks his US counterpart for a bit of financial help ahead of the 1996 presidential election: “Bill, for my election campaign, I urgently need for Russia a loan of $2.5 billion,” he said. Yeltsin added that he needed the money in order to pay pensions and government wages – obligations which, if left unfulfilled, would have likely led to his political ruin. Yeltsin also asks Clinton if he could “use his influence” to increase the size of an IMF loan to assist him during his re-election campaign.

Yeltsin questions NATO expansion

The future of NATO was still an open question in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and conversations between Clinton and Yeltsin provide an illuminating backdrop to the current state of the curiously offensive ‘defensive alliance’ (spoiler alert: it expanded right up to Russia’s border).

In 1995, Yeltsin told Clinton that NATO expansion would lead to “humiliation” for Russia, noting that many Russians were fearful of the possibility that the alliance could encircle their country.

“It’s a new form of encirclement if the one surviving Cold War bloc expands right up to the borders of Russia. Many Russians have a sense of fear. What do you want to achieve with this if Russia is your partner? They ask. I ask it too: Why do you want to do this?” Yeltsin asked Clinton.

As the documents show, Yeltsin insisted that Russia had “no claims on other countries,” adding that it was “unacceptable” that the US was conducting naval drills near Crimea.

“It is as if we were training people in Cuba. How would you feel?” Yeltsin asked. The Russian leader then proposed a “gentleman’s agreement” that no former Soviet republics would join NATO.

Clinton refused the offer, saying: “I can’t make the specific commitment you are asking for. It would violate the whole spirit of NATO. I’ve always tried to build you up and never undermine you.”

NATO bombing of Yugoslavia turns Russia against the West

Although Clinton and Yeltsin enjoyed friendly relations, NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia tempered Moscow’s enthusiastic partnership with the West.

“Our people will certainly from now have a bad attitude with regard to America and with NATO,” the Russian president told Clinton in March 1999. “I remember how difficult it was for me to try and turn the heads of our people, the heads of the politicians towards the West, towards the United States, but I succeeded in doing that, and now to lose all that.”

Yeltsin urged Clinton to renounce the strikes, for the sake of “our relationship” and “peace in Europe.”

“It is not known who will come after us and it is not known what will be the road of future developments in strategic nuclear weapons,” Yeltsin reminded his US counterpart.

But Clinton wouldn’t cede ground.

“Milosevic is still a communist dictator and he would like to destroy the alliance that Russia has built up with the US and Europe and essentially destroy the whole movement of your region toward democracy and go back to ethnic alliances. We cannot allow him to dictate our future,” Clinton told Yeltsin.

Yeltsin asks US to ‘give Europe to Russia’

One exchange that has been making the rounds on Twitter appears to show Yeltsin requesting that Europe be “given” to Russia during a meeting in Istanbul in 1999. However, it’s not quite what it seems.

“I ask you one thing,” Yeltsin says, addressing Clinton. “Just give Europe to Russia. The US is not in Europe. Europe should be in the business of Europeans.”

However, the request is slightly less sinister than it sounds when put into context: The two leaders were discussing missile defense, and Yeltsin was arguing that Russia – not the US – would be a more suitable guarantor of Europe’s security.

“We have the power in Russia to protect all of Europe, including those with missiles,” Yeltsin told Clinton.

Clinton on Putin: ‘He’s very smart’

Perhaps one of the most interesting exchanges takes place when Yeltsin announces to Clinton his successor, Vladimir Putin.

In a conversation with Clinton from September 1999, Yeltsin describes Putin as “a solid man,” adding: “I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

A month later, Clinton asks Yeltsin who will win the Russian presidential election.

“Putin, of course. He will be the successor to Boris Yeltsin. He’s a democrat, and he knows the West.”

“He’s very smart,” Clinton remarks.

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New Satellite Images Reveal Aftermath Of Israeli Strikes On Syria; Putin Accepts Offer to Probe Downed Jet

The images reveal the extent of destruction in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport.

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Via Zerohedge


An Israeli satellite imaging company has released satellite photographs that reveal the extent of Monday night’s attack on multiple locations inside Syria.

ImageSat International released them as part of an intelligence report on a series of Israeli air strikes which lasted for over an hour and resulted in Syrian missile defense accidentally downing a Russian surveillance plane that had 15 personnel on board.

The images reveal the extent of destruction on one location struck early in attack in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport. On Tuesday Israel owned up to carrying out the attack in a rare admission.

Syrian official SANA news agency reported ten people injured in the attacks carried out of military targets near three major cities in Syria’s north.

The Times of Israel, which first reported the release of the new satellite images, underscores the rarity of Israeli strikes happening that far north and along the coast, dangerously near Russian positions:

The attack near Latakia was especially unusual because the port city is located near a Russian military base, the Khmeimim Air Force base. The base is home to Russian jet planes and an S-400 aerial defense system. According to Arab media reports, Israel has rarely struck that area since the Russians arrived there.

The Russian S-400 system was reportedly active during the attack, but it’s difficult to confirm or assess the extent to which Russian missiles responded during the strikes.

Three of the released satellite images show what’s described as an “ammunition warehouse” that appears to have been completely destroyed.

The IDF has stated their airstrikes targeted a Syrian army facility “from which weapons-manufacturing systems were supposed to be transferred to Iran and Hezbollah.” This statement came after the IDF expressed “sorrow” for the deaths of Russian airmen, but also said responsibility lies with the “Assad regime.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to express regret over the incident while offering to send his air force chief to Russia with a detailed report — something which Putin agreed to.

According to Russia’s RT News, “Major-General Amikam Norkin will arrive in Moscow on Thursday, and will present the situation report on the incident, including the findings of the IDF inquiry regarding the event and the pre-mission information the Israeli military was so reluctant to share in advance.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry condemned the “provocative actions by Israel as hostile” and said Russia reserves “the right to an adequate response” while Putin has described the downing of the Il-20 recon plane as likely the result of a “chain of tragic accidental circumstances” and downplayed the idea of a deliberate provocation, in contradiction of the initial statement issued by his own defense ministry.

Pro-government Syrians have reportedly expressed frustration this week that Russia hasn’t done more to respond militarily to Israeli aggression; however, it appears Putin may be sidestepping yet another trap as it’s looking increasingly likely that Israel’s aims are precisely geared toward provoking a response in order to allow its western allies to join a broader attack on Damascus that could result in regime change.

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“Transphobic” Swedish Professor May Lose Job After Noting Biological Differences Between Sexes

A university professor in Sweden is under investigation after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded”

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Via Zerohedge


A university professor in Sweden is under investigation for “anti-feminism” and “transphobia” after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded” and that genders cannot be regarded as “social constructs alone,” reports Academic Rights Watch.

For his transgression, Germund Hesslow – a professor of neuroscience at Lund University – who holds dual PhDs in philosophy and neurophysiology, may lose his job – telling RT that a “full investigation” has been ordered, and that there “have been discussions about trying to stop the lecture or get rid of me, or have someone else give the lecture or not give the lecture at all.”

“If you answer such a question you are under severe time pressure, you have to be extremely brief — and I used wording which I think was completely innocuous, and that apparently the student didn’t,” Hesslow said.

Hesslow was ordered to attend a meeting by Christer Larsson, chairman of the program board for medical education, after a female student complained that Hesslow had a “personal anti-feminist agenda.” He was asked to distance himself from two specific comments; that gay women have a “male sexual orientation” and that the sexual orientation of transsexuals is “a matter of definition.”

The student’s complaint reads in part (translated):

I have also heard from senior lecturers that Germund Hesslow at the last lecture expressed himself transfobically. In response to a question of transexuallism, he said something like “sex change is a fly”. Secondly, it is outrageous because there may be students during the lecture who are themselves exposed to transfobin, but also because it may affect how later students in their professional lives meet transgender people. Transpersonals already have a high level of overrepresentation in suicide statistics and there are already major shortcomings in the treatment of transgender in care, should not it be countered? How does this kind of statement coincide with the university’s equal treatment plan? What has this statement given for consequences? What has been done for this to not be repeated? –Academic Rights Watch

After being admonished, Hesslow refused to distance himself from his comments, saying that he had “done enough” already and didn’t have to explain and defend his choice of words.

At some point, one must ask for a sense of proportion among those involved. If it were to become acceptable for students to record lectures in order to find compromising formulations and then involve faculty staff with meetings and long letters, we should let go of the medical education altogether,” Hesslow said in a written reply to Larsson.

He also rejected the accusation that he had a political agenda – stating that his only agenda was to let scientific factnot new social conventions, dictate how he teaches his courses.

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