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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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Trump Has Gifted “No More Wars” Policy Position To Bernie Sanders (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 148.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss how US President Donald Tump appears to have ceded his popular 2016 ‘no more wars’ campaign message and policy position to Bernie Sanders and any other US 2020 candidate willing to grad onto a non-interventionist approach to the upcoming Democrat primaries.

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“Is Bernie Stealing Trump’s ‘No More Wars’ Issue?” by Patrick J. Buchanan…


The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016.

“The president has said that he does not want to see this country involved in endless wars… I agree with that,” Bernie Sanders told the Fox News audience at Monday’s town hall meeting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Then turning and staring straight into the camera, Bernie added:

“Mr. President, tonight you have the opportunity to do something extraordinary: Sign that resolution. Saudi Arabia should not be determining the military or foreign policy of this country.”

Sanders was talking about a War Powers Act resolution that would have ended U.S. involvement in the five-year civil war in Yemen that has created one of the great humanitarian crises of our time, with thousands of dead children amidst an epidemic of cholera and a famine.

Supported by a united Democratic Party on the Hill, and an anti-interventionist faction of the GOP led by Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee of Utah, the War Powers resolution had passed both houses of Congress.

But 24 hours after Sanders urged him to sign it, Trump, heeding the hawks in his Cabinet and National Security Council, vetoed S.J.Res.7, calling it a “dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”

With sufficient Republican votes in both houses to sustain Trump’s veto, that should be the end of the matter.

It is not: Trump may have just ceded the peace issue in 2020 to the Democrats. If Sanders emerges as the nominee, we will have an election with a Democrat running on the “no-more-wars” theme Trump touted in 2016. And Trump will be left defending the bombing of Yemeni rebels and civilians by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Does Trump really want to go into 2020 as a war party president?

Does he want to go into 2020 with Democrats denouncing “Trump’s endless wars” in the Middle East? Because that is where he is headed.

In 2008, John McCain, leading hawk in the Senate, was routed by a left-wing first-term senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who had won his nomination by defeating the more hawkish Hillary Clinton, who had voted to authorize the war in Iraq.

In 2012, the Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who was far more hawkish than Obama on Russia, lost.

Yet, in 2016, Trump ran as a different kind of Republican, an opponent of the Iraq War and an anti-interventionist who wanted to get along with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and get out of these Middle East wars.

Looking closely at the front-running candidates for the Democratic nomination of 2020 — Joe Biden, Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker — not one appears to be as hawkish as Trump has become.

Trump pulled us out of the nuclear deal with Iran negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and reimposed severe sanctions.

He declared Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, to which Iran has responded by declaring U.S. Central Command a terrorist organization. Ominously, the IRGC and its trained Shiite militias in Iraq are in close proximity to U.S. troops.

Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moved the U.S. Embassy there, closed the consulate that dealt with Palestinian affairs, cut off aid to the Palestinians, recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights seized from Syria in 1967, and gone silent on Bibi Netanyahu’s threat to annex Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Sanders, however, though he stands by Israel, is supporting a two-state solution and castigating the “right-wing” Netanyahu regime.

Trump has talked of pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the troops are still there.

Though Trump came into office promising to get along with the Russians, he sent Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine and announced a pullout from Ronald Reagan’s 1987 INF treaty that outlawed all land-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

When Putin provocatively sent 100 Russian troops to Caracas — ostensibly to repair the S-400 anti-aircraft and anti-missile system that was damaged in recent blackouts — Trump, drawing a red line, ordered the Russians to “get out.”

Biden is expected to announce next week. If the stands he takes on Russia, China, Israel and the Middle East are more hawkish than the rest of the field, he will be challenged by the left wing of his party, and by Sanders, who voted “no” on the Iraq War that Biden supported.

The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016. And the anti-interventionist wing of the GOP is growing.

And when added to the anti-interventionist and anti-war wing of the Democratic Party on the Hill, together, they are able, as on the Yemen War Powers resolution, to produce a new bipartisan majority.

Prediction: By the primaries of 2020, foreign policy will be front and center, and the Democratic Party will have captured the “no-more-wars” political high ground that Candidate Donald Trump occupied in 2016.

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Over 200 killed, hundreds injured in series of blasts at Sri Lankan hotels & churches

A series of bombings hit churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 200 people.

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Via RT…


A series of eight explosions rocked Catholic churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka as Christians began Easter Sunday celebrations, with over 200 killed and hundreds injured, media reported, citing police.

The blasts started at around 8:45am local time at St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a Catholic-majority town outside of the capital. The Zion Church in Batticaloa on the eastern coast was also targeted. At around the same time, the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury five-star hotels were also hit, police confirmed.

Two more explosions happened later in the day, targeting two more locations in Colombo. All attacks appear to have been coordinated.

At least 207 people were killed, Reuters reported, citing police. More than 450 were injured in the attacks.

Alleged footage of the aftermath, shared on social media, showed chaos and large-scale destruction inside at least one of the churches.

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Mike Pompeo reveals true motto of CIA: ‘We lied, we cheated, we stole’ (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 147.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at a Texas A&M University speech, and subsequent interview, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The former CIA Director admitted, ‘as an aside’ to the question asked, that the Intelligence agency he headed up before being appointed as the top US Diplomat had a motto “we lied, we cheated, we stole”…which, according to Pompeo, contained entire CIA training courses based on ‘lying, cheating and stealing.’

Pompeo finally speaks some truth.

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