It is very clear that the recent tension and blockade between Gulf States (lead by Saudi Arabia) and Qatar have absolutely nothing to do with terrorism, and everything to do with natural gas and energy dominance.
–as often happens, the official narrative is traditionally a convenient smokescreen from the real underlying tensions.
The real reason behind the diplomatic fallout may be far simpler, and once again has to do with a long-running and controversial topic, namely Qatar’s regional natural gas dominance.
As a result of the tiny nation’s growing financial and political “independence”, its neighbors grew increasingly frustrated and concerned: “Qatar used to be a kind of Saudi vassal state, but it used the autonomy that its gas wealth created to carve out an independent role for itself,” said Jim Krane, energy research fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute, quoted by Bloomberg.
Furthermore, Qatar’s natural gas output has been “free from entanglement” – and political pressure – in the OPEC, the oil cartel that Saudi Arabia dominates.
“The rest of the region has been looking for an opportunity to clip Qatar’s wings.”
And, as Bloomberg adds, “that opportunity came with U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia, when he called on “all nations of conscience” to isolate Iran. When Qatar disagreed publicly, in a statement the government later said was a product of hacking, the Saudi-led retribution followed.”
US President Trump is tweeting that the reason for Qatar’s isolation is “to end the horror of terrorism”, but we all remember that just a few weeks ago, the United States signed a $100+ billion weapons deal with Saudi Arabia, the single biggest supporter of terrorism on the planet.
The world’s energy wars are now drawing in football powerhouse FIFA, which is being used as leverage over Qatar.
Football’s governing body FIFA weighed in on the Qatar dilemma saying it was in “regular contact” with the organising committee of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
FIFA failed to comment directly on the diplomatic situation unfolding in the Middle East.
FIFA said in an emailed statement that it was….
–“in regular contact with the Qatar 2022 Local Organising Committee and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy handling matters relating to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”
“We have no further comments for the time being.”
The German Football Association (DFB) did comment on the situation in Qatar, saying it would discuss the matter with the German government.
DFB President Reinhard Grindel said in a statement….
“We will discuss the new, complex political situation in the region and specifically in Qatar with the federal government.”
“In such matters we will of course be in very close contact with (European soccer’s governing body) UEFA.”
“There are still five years to go before the World Cup starts. During this time priority should be given to political solutions rather than threats of boycott.”
“But one thing is clear. The football community worldwide should agree that…major tournaments should not be played in countries that actively support terror.”
Grindel statement carries extra weight given that he is also a FIFA Council member.
Qatar’s local World Cup organising committee and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC,) which organises international matches in the region, both declined to comment.
Qatar’s national team is in the middle of the qualifying competition for the 2018 World Cup to be held in Russia.
Qatar is at the bottom of their group, with four points from seven games played, with matches against South Korea, Syria, and China still pending.
There is a chance Qatar could finish third in the table, and qualify for a playoff match against the team that finishes third in the other Asian qualifying group…with both Saudi Arabia and the UAE among potential opponents.
Qatar is organising 72 sporting events this year, with 39 of those events being international competitions.
A FINA Swimming World Cup is scheduled for September in Qatar. So far the swimming governing body did not respond to requests for a comment as to whether it would still go ahead with its plan to hold the competition in Qatar.
What do you think?
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.