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The Sun that Never Sets: Why was Mugabe forced to resign?

We take a closer look at the facts behind the Zimbabwe coup, and here’s what we found.

Haneul Na'avi

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Republished with permission from Regional Rapport

“We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.” Chuang Tsu

93-year old former Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party leader and President Robert Mugabe finally met his maker, at least politically, after a nearly 40-year reign.

After foolishly sacking Vice President Emmanuel Mnangagwa to pass the Mugabe dynasty to his wife, “Gucci” Grace Mugabe, the Zimbabwe National National Army swiftly retaliated in what “seemed like a coup” at his posh Harare residence.

The military elite, many from the defunct Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) that fought alongside both officials during the Rhodesian Bush War, seized control of the government.

Watching nervously from afar, African Union Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat meeped that the shocking events should be “resolved in a manner that promotes democracy and human rights, as well as the socio-economic development of Zimbabwe.”

Surprisingly, the military did just that. Nobody was injured and Mugabe was forced to resign, and  Mnangagwa was reappointed to office shortly afterwards.

Zimbabwe now has the real possibility of a political restructuring, following imminent purges to remove political deadwood, to clear the way for a rapid industrialisation of the country.

The country can now assume a more moderate position seamless with its Asia-centric Look East” foreign policy, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Johannesburg Action Plan, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and African Union’s Agenda 2063 plan.

Theoretical Analyses of the Zimbabwean Coup

Mugabe actions violated his sacred contract with the nation’s military top brass—the backbone of Zimbabwean government—which has guaranteed his longevity until now.

Revisiting Niccolò Machiavelli’s “The Prince” he explains in Chapter XIV that,

[…] it is seen that when princes have thought more of ease than of arms they have lost their states. And the first cause of your losing it is to neglect this art; and what enables you to acquire a state is to be master of the art.

Going further, Machiavelli notes in Chapter XIX that rulers are,

[…] contemptible to be considered fickle, frivolous, effeminate, mean-spirited, irresolute […]

This is precisely what Mugabe’s leadership had become, as he depended too heavily on his military to retain power, whilst neglecting his ‘princely duties’. Conversely, Mnangagwa, known as “the Crocodile” for his formidable military expertise, fully kept the confidence of his armed forces.

In reality, Zimbabwe’s battle is not with ‘imperialists’, but with Mugabe’s own counterproductive policies, international sanctions regimes, massive hyperinflation, health crises, capital and power shortages, and its pariah reputation abroad.

On the surface, the country has longed to eradicate these problems, but has continuously vacillated between Chinese and Western financial support, and its pseudo-socialist foundations have now achieved the same results as the Former Yugoslavia, Brazil and Argentina.

Consequentially, Mugabe’s controversial 2000 ‘land reform’ policy (known as the ‘Third Chimurenga’) aggravated his relationship with Western benefactors.

A SAIIA report offers incredible insights,

[While] Mugabe wanted to ‘free’ Zimbabwe from its traditional Western partners, the country received substantial aid from them in the 1980s, including $417 million from the World Bank, $204 million from the US, and $156 million from the European Economic Community. In the early 2000s, most of Zimbabwe’s trade, investments and loans were with or came from its neighbours and the West.

It continues,

After the US’ promulgation of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZDERA) in December 2001, Zimbabwe reeled under tightened targeted sanctions, [which] were exacerbated by the prohibition of budgetary assistance by the [IMF] and the World Bank.

Therefore, Mugabe’s post-millennium career of anti-Western twaddling wholly contradict the primary source of his capital wealth prior to 2000.

The ZANU-PF’s Look East policy and 2013-2018 Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZIM-ASSET) programme were merely reactions to this painful transition from West to East, as the country capitalised on the 2000 Forum on Chinese-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) to help eliminate the country’s Western debt and restructure its impoverished economy.

Another reason for Mugabe’s economic dithering is that Zimbabwe is strategically positioned amongst two Chinese allies within the SADC portion of the New Silk Road, quite similarly to Turkey as the Eurasian doorway to Europe; both are guilty of using this to their advantage.

The London Telegraph explains,

In the last four years, [China] has provided more than half a billion dollars in direct aid for schools, clinics and transport infrastructure in a bid to stabilise a country that sits at a strategically vital point between [its] two largest investments in Africa – Angola and South Africa.

Certainly, the ZANU-PF’s history of double-dealing is not an isolated case, as it has capitalised on China’s belief in the supremacy of the peasantry over that of the USSR working class (proletariat), especially after losing Soviet backing to the rival ZAPU.

This has always been Mugabe’s original support base—the peasantry and military—as the proletarian base was under Soviet control until being merged into the ZANU party in 1987.

SAIIA continues,

For ZANU, the China–USSR split presented an opportunity to maximise its gains in its struggle against ZAPU. The ZANU–ZAPU split coincided with the Sino–Soviet split, partially explaining why China and the Soviet Union were so invested in this proxy-like war in Zimbabwe.

The ZANU-PF party inherently rejects Marxist-Leninism and embraces Narodism, a movement based on the peasantry and their blind submission to heroic figures—precisely what Mugabe and Mnangagwa represent. The ZANU-PF use their legacy of ‘anti-colonialism’ and ‘heroic struggles’ as a superstructural mechanism to rule Zimbabwe, with very little material successes.

Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin explained in his essay “On Narodnism” that,

The revolution of 1905 finally revealed this social essence of Narodism, this class nature of it. The movement of the masses […] swept aside Narodnik, professedly socialist, phrase mongering like so much dust and revealed the core: a peasant (bourgeois) democratic movement with an immense, still unexhausted store of energy.

He continues,

[…] “popular” socialism is a meaningless phrase serving to evade the question of which class or social stratum is fighting for socialism throughout the world […] Class-conscious workers [must] ruthlessly ridicule would-be socialist phrases and not allow the only serious question, that of consistent democracy, to be hidden behind them.

Zimbabwe, through its land reform programme, focused its revolutionary struggle on race instead of class, developing the ZANU-PF party along ideological lines and not material; the fundamental difference between the ZANU and ZAPU.

Lenin clearly demonstrates the correct path to take in “From Narodism to Marxism”,

With the bourgeois peasantry against the survivals of serfdom, against the autocracy, the priests, and the landlords; with the urban proletariat against the bourgeoisie in general and against the bourgeois peasantry in particular—this is the only correct slogan for the rural proletarian […]

‘Anti-colonial’ parties such as the ZANU-PF (and to an extent, many African political parties) are fundamentally bourgeois at their cores because they have not addressed the question of consistent democracy, which is establishing a proletarian dictatorship to eliminate class strata, in addition to this financial dillydallying with Western and Eastern financial institutions.

The Rise of “The Crocodile”

In order to understand the nature of the November coup d’etat, one must look into the support China has poured into Zimbabwe, why this is significant, and why Mnangagwa was seen as the preferred successor to Mugabe.

Firstly, in 2008, political turmoil between the ruling ZANU-PF and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) parties erupted after Mugabe won a ‘landslide’ victory that year.

Reuters stated,

The Movement for Democratic Change has refused to recognize Mugabe’s overwhelming victory in a June 27 vote held after MDC candidate Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out, citing violence by ruling party militia […]

Following the chaos, both parties signed the 2008 Inter-party Agreement, brokered by then-South African President Thabo Mbeki and the United Nations, in order to stabilise the country and continue negotiations with China on the SADC and FOCAC.

After doing so, the premise was simple. Either the ZANU-PF party can lead the country’s macroeconomic initiatives, or the MDC will, prompting the party to revive Sino-Zimbabwean relations in 2011, which were previously cooled after Mugabe’s brutal 2008 electoral crackdown.

The London Telegraph continues, citing MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa,

It’s not a government-to-government relationship, but a Zanu PF-China relationship […] These relations have consequences considering Zanu PF is a sunset party and the sun shall set on its allies.”

Dr. Martyn Davies, China-Africa relations expert and CEO of Frontier Advisory seconded this,

It’s not in [China’s] interests to do some transaction which in two years or maybe even sooner would have to be restructured if there’s a change in Zimbabwe’s political arrangement […]

To prevent this ‘change’, an important part of Sino-Zimbabwean relations included rebuilding ZANU-PF’s coercive apparatus—the national military. SAIIA reports that since 2003,

The major arms sales include 12 jet fighters and 100 military vehicles valued at $240 million in 2004; six trainer/combat aircraft in 2005; six additional trainer/combat aircraft in 2006; and 20 000 AK-47 rifles, 21 000 pairs of handcuffs and 12–15 military trucks in 2011.

The PRC Embassy to Zimbabwe noted that, shortly after adopting the Look East policy, Sino-Zimbabwean trade skyrocketed, with Harare incurring a massive trade surplus with China.

“The trade volume between the two countries in 2002 was 191 million U.S. dollars. The export of China to Zimbabwe [totalled] 32 million U.S. dollars and import 159 million U.S. dollars,” it stated.

Following the 2003-2006 hyperinflation crisis, China threw the Mugabe administration a lifeline by increasing development projects and investment throughout Zimbabwe to sustain its economy.

Additionally, from 2015-2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping cancelled debts for Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and partially Angola and following the write-offs, Zimbabwe adopted the Chinese Yuan to its basket of currencies.

Zimbabwean Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa expressed that,

They [China] said they are cancelling our debts that are maturing this year and we are in the process of finalizing the debt instruments and calculating the debts […]

Contrary to public opinion, this was not under Mugabe’s orders, but VP Mnangagwa.

An observant Bloomberg article revealed that,

Mnangagwa, who received military training in China during a war for independence decades ago, proposed in 2015 to have the Chinese yuan as legal tender in inflation-prone Zimbabwe.

It continues, citing Shen Xiaolei, Chinese Acadamy of Social Sciences research fellow,

Mnangagwa has a more open and moderate approach in economic policies and is also a friend of China […] Mugabe’s receding power is just a matter of time, and sooner is better than later because it can help stabilize the domestic situation.

Wang Hongyi, research fellow on Sino-Africa ties continues,

[Mugabe’s] policy was too radical and Chinese companies there stood to suffer […] Mnangagwa is seen as a steady hand, and he will limit or even revoke the indigenization law.

In conclusion, the military coup was an existential concern for the ruling ZANU-PF party, and the new Emmanuel Mnangagwa administration plans to correct the mistakes of Mugabe’s dynasty. This will satisfy everyone, from the Chinese, to the Zimbabweans, to the new ZANU-PF party, which will undergo a severe but necessary transformation via purges.

As this transition period comes to pass, one must not forget the ominous words of the Zimbabwean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA),

[There] is an unwritten understanding that there are no permanent friends or enemies, but permanent interests. Zimbabwe’s Foreign Policy therefore, strives to foster long-standing relationships of mutual co-operation and trust.

Those permanent interests have just been safeguarded. In dialectics, there is no permanence, and prominence is given to that which is developing and rising, not decaying and passing away.

Haneul Na’avi is a regular contributor to The Duran, Global Village Space, and ALLRIOT. His work has been featured in RT News, PressTV, openDemocracy, the Centre for Research on Globalisation, and The Pravda Report. Kindly visit his blog Dialectic Productions for more information.

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Russia calls on US to put a leash on Petro Poroshenko

The West’s pass for Mr. Poroshenko may blow up in NATO’s and the US’s face if the Ukrainian President tries to start a war with Russia.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Russia called on Washington not to ignore the Poroshenko directives creating an active military buildup along the Ukrainian-Donbass frontier, this buildup consisting of Ukrainian forces and right-wing ultranationalists, lest it “trigger the implementation of a bloody scenario”, according to a Dec 11 report from TASS.

The [Russian] Embassy [to the US] urges the US State Department to recognize the presence of US instructors in the zone of combat actions, who are involved in a command and staff and field training of Ukraine’s assault airborne brigades. “We expect that the US will bring to reason its proteges. Their aggressive plans are not only doomed to failure but also run counter to the statements of the administration on its commitment to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine by political and diplomatic means,” the statement said.

This warning came after Eduard Basurin, the deputy defense minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic noted that the Ukrainian army was massing troops and materiel for a possible large-scale offensive at the Mariupol section of the contact line in Donbass. According to Basurin, this action is expected to take place on 14 December. TASS offered more details:

According to the DPR’s reconnaissance data, Ukrainian troops plan to seize the DPR’s Novoazovsky and Temanovsky districts and take control over the border section with Russia. The main attack force of over 12,000 servicemen has been deployed along the contact line near the settlements of Novotroitskoye, Shirokino, and Rovnopol. Moreover, more than 50 tanks, 40 multiple missile launcher systems, 180 artillery systems and mortars have been reportedly pulled to the area, Basurin added. Besides, 12 BM-30 Smerch heavy multiple rocket launchers have been sent near Volodarsky.

The DPR has warned about possible provocations plotted by Ukrainian troops several times. Thus, in early December, the DPR’s defense ministry cited reconnaissance data indicating that the Ukrainian military was planning to stage an offensive and deliver an airstrike. At a Contact Group meeting on December 5, DPR’s Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonorova raised the issue of Kiev’s possible use of chemical weapons in the conflict area.

This is a continuation of the reported buildup The Duran reported in this article linked here, and it is a continuation of the full-scale drama that started with the Kerch Strait incident, which itself appears to have been staged by Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko. Following that incident, the president was able to get about half of Ukraine placed under a 30-day period of martial law, citing “imminent Russian aggression.”

President Poroshenko is arguably a dangerous man. He appears to be desperate to maintain a hold on power, though his approval numbers and support is abysmally low in Ukraine. While he presents himself as a hero, agitating for armed conflict with Russia and simultaneously interfering in the affairs of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church, he is actually one of the most dangerous leaders the world has to contend with, precisely because he is unfit to lead.

Such men and women are dangerous because their desperation makes them short-sighted, only concerned about their power and standing.

An irony about this matter is that President Poroshenko appears to be exactly what the EuroMaidan was “supposed” to free Ukraine of; that is, a stooge puppet leader that marches to orders from a foreign power and does nothing for the improvement of the nation and its citizens.

The ouster of Viktor Yanukovich was seen as the sure ticket to “freedom from Russia” for Ukraine, and it may well have been that Mr. Yanukovich was an incompetent leader. However, his removal resulted in a tryannical regíme coming into power, that resulting in the secession of two Ukrainian regions into independent republics and a third secession of strategically super-important Crimea, who voted in a referendum to rejoin Russia.

While this activity was used by the West to try to bolster its own narrative that Russia remains the evil henchman in Europe, the reality of life in Ukraine doesn’t match this allegation at all. A nation that demonstrates such behavior shows that there are many problems, and the nature of these secessions points at a great deal of fear from Russian-speaking Ukrainian people about the government that is supposed to be their own.

President Poroshenko presents a face to the world that the West is apparently willing to support, but the in-country approval of this man as leader speaks volumes. The West’s blind support of him “against Russia” may be one of the most tragic errors yet in Western foreign policy.

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Second Canadian Citizen Disappears In China

According to the he Globe and Mail, the man was identified as Michael Spavor, a Canadian whose company Peaktu Cultural Exchange brings tourists and hockey players into North Korea.

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Via Zerohedge…


For a trade war that was supposed to be between the US and China, Canada has found itself increasingly in the middle of the crossfire. And so after the arrest of a former Canadian diplomat in Beijing in retaliation for the detention of the Huawei CFO in Vancouver, Canada said a second person has been questioned by Chinese authorities, further heightening tensions between the two countries.

The second person reached out to the Canadian government after being questioned by Chinese officials, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said, at which point Canada lost contact with him. His whereabouts are currently unknown and Global Affairs Canada said they are in contact with his family.

“We haven’t been able to make contact with him since he let us know about this,” Freeland told reporters Wednesday in Ottawa. “We are working very hard to ascertain his whereabouts and we have also raised this case with Chinese authorities.”

According to the he Globe and Mail, the man was identified as Michael Spavor, a Canadian whose company Peaktu Cultural Exchange brings tourists and hockey players into North Korea. He gained fame for helping arrange a visit to Pyongyang by former NBA player Dennis Rodman, and he met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on that trip, the newspaper reported. Attempts to reach Spavor on his contact number either in China, or North Korean went straight to voicemail.

Spavor’s personal Facebook page contains several images of him with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un including one of him with both Jong-un and former Dennis Rodman at an undisclosed location.

Michael P. Spavor, right, pictured here with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, second from right, and Dennis Rodman.

Another image shows the two sharing a drink on a boat.

The unexplained disappearance takes place after China’s spy agency detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig in Beijing on Monday, who was on leave from the foreign service. The arrest came nine days after Canada arrested Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou at the request of U.S. DOJ. While Canada has asked to see the former envoy after it was informed by fax of his arrest, Canada is unaware of Kovrig current whereabouts or the charges he faces.

“Michael did not engage in illegal activities nor did he do anything that endangered Chinese national security,” Rob Malley, chief executive officer of the ICG, said in a written statement. “He was doing what all Crisis Group analysts do: undertaking objective and impartial research.”

One possibility is that Kovrig may have been caught up in recent rule changes in China that affect non-governmental organizations, according to Bloomberg. The ICG wasn’t authorized to do work in China, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang said during a regular press briefing in Beijing Wednesday.

“We welcome foreign travelers. But if they engage in activities that clearly violate Chinese laws and regulations, then it is totally another story,” he said, adding he had no information on Kovrig specifically.

As Bloomberg further notes, foreign non-governmental organizations are now required to register with the Chinese authorities under a 2017 law that subjects them to stringent reporting requirements. Under the law, organizations without a representative office in China must have a government sponsor and a local cooperative partner before conducting activities. ICG said this is the first time they’ve heard such an accusation from the Chinese authorities in a decade of working with the country. The company closed its Beijing operations in December 2016 because of the new Chinese law, according to a statement. Kovrig was working out of the Hong Kong office.

Meanwhile, realizing that it is increasingly bearing the brunt of China’s retaliatory anger, Trudeau’s government distanced itself from Meng’s case, saying it can’t interfere with the courts, but is closely involved in advocating on Kovrig’s behalf.

So far Canada has declined to speculate on whether there was a connection between the Kovrig and Meng cases, with neither Freeland nor Canadian Trade Minister Jim Carr saying Wednesday that there is any indication the cases are related. Then again, it is rather obvious they are. Indeed, Guy Saint-Jacques, who served as ambassador to China from 2012 to 2016 and worked with Kovrig, says the link is clear. “There’s no coincidence with China.”

“In this case, they couldn’t grab a Canadian diplomat because this would have created a major diplomatic incident,” he said. “Going after him I think was their way to send a message to the Canadian government and to put pressure.”

Even though Meng was granted bail late Tuesday, that did not placate China, whose foreign ministry spokesman said that “The Canadian side should correct its mistakes and release Ms. Meng Wanzhou immediately.”

The tension, according to Bloomberg,  may force Canadian companies to reconsider travel to China, and executives traveling to the Asian country will need to exercise extra caution, said Andy Chan, managing partner at Miller Thomson LLP in Vaughan, Ontario.

“Canadian business needs to look at and balance the reasons for the travel’’ between the business case and the “current political environment,’’ Chan said by email. Chinese officials subject business travelers to extra screening and in some case reject them from entering, he said.

Earlier in the day, SCMP reported that Chinese high-tech researchers were told “not to travel to the US unless it’s essential.”

And so, with Meng unlikely to be released from Canada any time soon, expect even more “Chinese (non) coincidences”, until eventually China does detain someone that the US does care about.

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Multipolar World Order in the Making: Qatar Dumps OPEC

Russia and Qatar’s global strategy also brings together and includes partners like Turkey.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The decision by Qatar to abandon OPEC threatens to redefine the global energy market, especially in light of Saudi Arabia’s growing difficulties and the growing influence of the Russian Federation in the OPEC+ mechanism.

In a surprising statement, Qatari energy minister Saad al-Kaabi warned OPEC on Monday December 3 that his country had sent all the necessary documentation to start the country’s withdrawal from the oil organization in January 2019. Al-Kaabi stressed that the decision had nothing to do with recent conflicts with Riyadh but was rather a strategic choice by Doha to focus on the production of LNG, which Qatar, together with the Russian Federation, is one of the largest global exporters of. Despite an annual oil extraction rate of only 1.8% of the total of OPEC countries (about 600,000 barrels a day), Qatar is one of the founding members of the organization and has always had a strong political influence on the governance of the organization. In a global context where international relations are entering a multipolar phase, things like cooperation and development become fundamental; so it should not surprise that Doha has decide to abandon OPEC. OPEC is one of the few unipolar organizations that no longer has a meaningful purpose in 2018, given the new realities governing international relations and the importance of the Russian Federation in the oil market.

Besides that, Saudi Arabia requires the organization to maintain a high level of oil production due to pressure coming from Washington to achieve a very low cost per barrel of oil. The US energy strategy targets Iranian and Russian revenue from oil exports, but it also aims to give the US a speedy economic boost. Trump often talks about the price of oil falling as his personal victory. The US imports about 10 million barrels of oil a day, which is why Trump wrongly believes that a decrease in the cost per barrel could favor a boost to the US economy. The economic reality shows a strong correlation between the price of oil and the financial growth of a country, with low prices of crude oil often synonymous of a slowing down in the economy.

It must be remembered that to keep oil prices low, OPEC countries are required to maintain a high rate of production, doubling the damage to themselves. Firstly, they take less income than expected and, secondly, they deplete their oil reserves to favor the strategy imposed by Saudi Arabia on OPEC to please the White House. It is clearly a strategy that for a country like Qatar (and perhaps Venezuela and Iran in the near future) makes little sense, given the diplomatic and commercial rupture with Riyadh stemming from tensions between the Gulf countries.

In contrast, the OPEC+ organization, which also includes other countries like the Russian Federation, Mexico and Kazakhstan, seems to now to determine oil and its cost per barrel. At the moment, OPEC and Russia have agreed to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day, contradicting Trump’s desire for high oil output.

With this last choice Qatar sends a clear signal to the region and to traditional allies, moving to the side of OPEC+ and bringing its interests closer in line with those of the Russian Federation and its all-encompassing oil and gas strategy, two sectors in which Qatar and Russia dominate market share.

In addition, Russia and Qatar’s global strategy also brings together and includes partners like Turkey (a future energy hub connecting east and west as well as north and south) and Venezuela. In this sense, the meeting between Maduro and Erdogan seems to be a prelude to further reorganization of OPEC and its members.

The declining leadership role of Saudi Arabia in the oil and financial market goes hand in hand with the increase of power that countries like Qatar and Russia in the energy sectors are enjoying. The realignment of energy and finance signals the evident decline of the Israel-US-Saudi Arabia partnership. Not a day goes by without corruption scandals in Israel, accusations against the Saudis over Khashoggi or Yemen, and Trump’s unsuccessful strategies in the commercial, financial or energy arenas. The path this doomed

trio is taking will only procure less influence and power, isolating them more and more from their opponents and even historical allies.

Moscow, Beijing and New Delhi, the Eurasian powerhouses, seem to have every intention, as seen at the trilateral summit in Buenos Aires, of developing the ideal multipolar frameworks to avoid continued US dominance of the oil market through shale revenues or submissive allies as Saudi Arabia, even though the latest spike in production is a clear signal from Riyadh to the USA. In this sense, Qatar’s decision to abandon OPEC and start a complex and historical discussion with Moscow on LNG in the format of an enlarged OPEC marks the definitive decline of Saudi Arabia as a global energy power, to be replaced by Moscow and Doha as the main players in the energy market.

Qatar’s decision is, officially speaking, unconnected to the feud triggered by Saudi Arabia against the small emirate. However, it is evident that a host of factors has led to this historic decision. The unsuccessful military campaign in Yemen has weakened Saudi Arabia on all fronts, especially militarily and economically. The self-inflicted fall in the price of oil is rapidly consuming Saudi currency reserves, now at a new low of less than 500 billion dollars. Events related to Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) have de-legitimized the role of Riyadh in the world as a reliable diplomatic interlocutor. The internal and external repression by the Kingdom has provoked NGOs and governments like Canada’s to issue public rebukes that have done little to help MBS’s precarious position.

In Syria, the victory of Damascus and her allies has consolidated the role of Moscow in the region, increased Iranian influence, and brought Turkey and Qatar to the multipolar side, with Tehran and Moscow now the main players in the Middle East. In terms of military dominance, there has been a clear regional shift from Washington to Moscow; and from an energy perspective, Doha and Moscow are turning out to be the winners, with Riyadh once again on the losing side.

As long as the Saudi royal family continues to please Donald Trump, who is prone to catering to Israeli interests in the region, the situation of the Kingdom will only get worse. The latest agreement on oil production between Moscow and Riyad signals that someone in the Saudi royal family has probably figured this out.

Countries like Turkey, India, China, Russia and Iran understand the advantages of belonging to a multipolar world, thereby providing a collective geopolitical ballast that is mutually beneficial. The energy alignment between Qatar and the Russian Federation seems to support this general direction, a sort of G2 of LNG gas that will only strengthen the position of Moscow on the global chessboard, while guaranteeing a formidable military umbrella for Doha in case of a further worsening of relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

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