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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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Tape recorded evidence of Clinton-Ukraine meddling in US election surfaces (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a look at new evidence to surface from Ukraine that exposes a plot by the US Embassy in Kiev and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) to leak Paul Manafort’s corrupt dealings in the country, all for the benefit of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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Via Zerohedge


Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has launched an investigation into the head of the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau for allegedly attempting to help Hillary Clinton defeat Donald Trump during the 2016 US election by releasing damaging information about a “black ledger” of illegal business dealings by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The Hill’s John Solomon, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko

“Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information,” Lutsenko said last week, according to The Hill

Lutsenko is probing a claim from a member of the Ukrainian parliament that the director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), Artem Sytnyk, attempted to the benefit of the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

A State Department spokesman told Hill.TV that officials aware of news reports regarding Sytnyk. –The Hill

“According to the member of parliament of Ukraine, he got the court decision that the NABU official conducted an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign,” said Lutsenko, speaking with The Hill’s John Solomon about the anti-corruption bureau chief, Artem Sytnyk.

“It means that we think Mr. Sytnyk, the NABU director, officially talked about criminal investigation with Mr. [Paul] Manafort, and at the same time, Mr. Sytnyk stressed that in such a way, he wanted to assist the campaign of Ms. Clinton,” Lutsenko continued.

Solomon asked Lutsenko about reports that a member of Ukraine’s parliament obtained a tape of the current head of the NABU saying that he was attempting to help Clinton win the 2016 presidential election, as well as connections that helped release the black-ledger files that exposed Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort‘s wrongdoing in Ukraine.

“This member of parliament even attached the audio tape where several men, one of which had a voice similar to the voice of Mr. Sytnyk, discussed the matter.” –The Hill

What The Hill doesn’t mention is that Sytnyk released Manafort’s Black Book with Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko – discussed in great length by former Breitbart investigator Lee Stranahan, who has been closely monitoring this case.

Serhiy Leshchenko

T]he main spokesman for these accusations was Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian politician and journalist who works closely with both top Hillary Clinton donors George Soros and Victor Pinchuk, as well as to the US Embassy in Kyiv.

James Comey should be asked about this source that Leshchenko would not identify. Was the source someone connected to US government, either the State Department or the Department of Justice?

The New York Times should also explain why they didn’t mention that Leshchenko had direct connections to two of Hillary Clinton biggest financial backers. Victor Pinchuk, the largest donor to the Clinton Foundation at a staggering $8.6 million also happened to have paid for Leshchenko’s expenses to go to international conferences. George Soros, whose also founded the International Renaissance Foundationthat worked closely with Hillary Clinton’s State Department in Ukraine, also contributed at least $8 million to Hillary affiliated super PACs in the 2016 campaign cycle. –Lee Stranahan via Medium

Meanwhile, according to former Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr, Leshchenko was a source for opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the infamous Trump-Russia dossier.

Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for the Washington, D.C.-based Fusion GPS, testified on Oct. 19 that Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist turned Ukrainian lawmaker, was a source for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign.

“I recall … they were mentioning someone named Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian,” Ohr said when asked who Fusion GPS’s sources were, according to portions of Ohr’s testimony confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation. –Daily Caller

Also absent from The Hill report is the fact that Leshchenko was convicted in December by a Kiev court of interfering in the 2016 US election.

A Kyiv court said that a Ukrainian lawmaker and a top anticorruption official’s decision in 2016 to publish documents linked to President Donald Trump’s then-campaign chairman amounted to interference in the U.S. presidential election.

The December 11 finding came in response to a complaint filed by another Ukrainian lawmaker, who alleged that Serhiy Leshchenko and Artem Sytnyk illegally released the documents in August 2016, showing payments by a Ukrainian political party to Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

The documents, excerpts from a secret ledger of payments by the Party of Regions, led to Manafort being fired by Trump’s election campaign.

The Kyiv court said that the documents published by Leshchenko and Sytnyk were part of an ongoing pretrial investigation in Ukraine into the operations of the pro-Russian Party of Regions. The party’s head had been President Viktor Yanukovych until he fled the country amid mass protests two years earlier.

-RadioFreeEurope/Radio Liberty (funded by the US govt.).

So while Lutsenko – Solomon’s guest and Ukrainian Prosecutor is currently going after Artem Sytnyk, it should be noted that Leshchenko was already found to have meddled in the 2016 US election.

Watch:

Meanwhile, you can also check out Stranahan’s take on Leshchenko being left out of the loop.

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‘I will take over as Brexit Party leader’: Nigel Farage back on the frontline

Nigel Farage says that if the UK takes part in European elections, he will lead his new Brexit Party.

RT

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Via RT


Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has announced that he will lead his new Brexit Party into the European elections if UK MPs decide to delay Brexit beyond May 22.

Farage, who has ostensibly appointed himself leader, told various media, including the BBC and Sky News on Friday morning: “I will take over as leader of the Brexit Party and lead it into the European Elections.”

It comes after the Brexit Party’s leader, Catherine Blaiklock, quit over a series of alleged Islamophobic statements and retweets of far-right figures on social media.

It is not yet thought that Farage has officially been elected as leader, as the party does not, as yet, have a formal infrastructure to conduct such a vote.

The right-wing MEP vowed to put out a whole host of Brexit Party candidates if the UK participates in the upcoming EU elections in May, adding: “If we fight those elections, we will fight them on trust.”

On Thursday night, the EU agreed to PM May’s request for a delaying to Brexit beyond the March 29 deadline. Brussels announced two new exit dates depending on what happens next week in the UK parliament.

The UK will have to leave the bloc on April 12 unless British MPs agree to May’s Brexit deal. If the withdrawal agreement is passed by next week, EU leaders have agreed to grant an extension until May 22.

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Baltics cannot rely on Germany any more

The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it is supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership blunders.

The Duran

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Submitted by Adomas Abromaitis…

On March 29 Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will celebrate 15 years of becoming NATO member states. The way to the alliance membership was not simple for newly born independent countries. They have reached great success in fulfilling many of NATO demands: they have considerably increased their defence expenditures, renewed armaments and increased the number of military personnel.

In turn, they get used to rely on more powerful member states, their advice, help and even decision making. All these 15 years they felt more or less safe because of proclaimed European NATO allies’ capabilities.

Unfortunately, now it is high time to doubt. The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership’s blunders. Every member state does a bit. As for the Baltic states, they are particularly vulnerable, because they fully depend on other NATO member states in their defence. Thus, Germany, Canada and Britain are leading nations of the NATO battle group stationed in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia respectively.

But the state of national armed forces in Germany, for example, raises doubts and makes it impossible not only defend the Baltics against Russia, but Germany itself.

It turned out, that Germany itself remains dissatisfied with its combat readiness and minister of defence’s ability to perform her duties. Things are so bad, that the military’s annual readiness report would be kept classified for the first time for “security reasons.”

“Apparently the readiness of the Bundeswehr is so bad that the public should not be allowed to know about it,” said Tobias Lindner, a Greens member who serves on the budget and defense committees.

Inspector General Eberhard Zorn said (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-arms/germany-not-satisfied-with-readiness-of-submarines-some-aircraft-idUSKBN1QS1G7) the average readiness of the country’s nearly 10,000 weapons systems stood at about 70 percent in 2018, which meant Germany was able to fulfill its military obligations despite increasing responsibilities.

No overall comparison figure was available for 2017, but last year’s report revealed readiness rates of under 50 percent for specific weapons such as the aging CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters and the Tornado fighter jets.

Zorn said this year’s report was more comprehensive and included details on five main weapons systems used by the cyber command, and eight arms critical for NATO’s high readiness task force, which Germany heads this year.

“The overall view allows such concrete conclusions about the current readiness of the Bundeswehr that knowledge by unauthorized individuals would harm the security interests of the Federal Republic of Germany,” he wrote.

Critics are sure of incompetence of the Federal Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen. Though she has occupied the upper echelons of German politics for 14 years now — and shows no sign of success. This mother of seven, gynecologist by profession, by some miracle for a long time has been remaining in power, though has no trust even among German military elites. Despite numerous scandals she tries to manage the Armed Forces as a housewife does and, of course, the results are devastating for German military capabilities. The same statement could be easily apply for the Baltic States, which highly dependent on Germany in military sphere.

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