A game of smoke and mirrors

One of the most recurrent topics in the action movies, back in the ‘70s, was the fighting sequence in a hall of mirrors. Hero and villain chasing each other in a long series of hit-and-miss, until the dramatic end. It’s a good metaphor for what’s going on in the Middle East. A pity that there are a lot of players inside the mirrored maze and I can’t see any hero ready to save the day.

The main player should be the Saudi Arabia. It’s the most wealthy and influential actor in the Persian Gulf sector, not to mention its role as guardian of the two most revered Islam’s holy sites. It stands to reason that it’s also the leading country of the current actions against the Qatar. I mean, they are our allies, aren’t they? A few weeks ago we all get the image of the pan-Arabic meeting, calling for a new course of action against ISIS and Al-Quaeda sponsored by the USA. So, the Saudis are the good guys and the Qataris are the bad guys.

No, there is something wrong here. Until two days ago, the Saudis and the Qataris were fighting together in Yemen against the Houthis, supporting the local government in its stand against the rebels. How come that the Qataris became the bad guys in a matter of a few days? It looks like we get some mirror here and a few puffs of smoke.

It’s true, the Qatar government and a number of Qataris organization are supporting the Muslim Brotherhood all over the Middle East. They’re also financing or supporting a wide variety of not-so-clean organizations all over Europe, with as many ties in place with borderline subjects that are very close to terrorist organizations. A pity that similar facts can be related to the Saudis, with a specific reference to a well-known monster named Al-Quaeda.

Qatar is collaborating with Iran, the greatest enemy of Saudi Arabia. They are sharing a great gas field, they have a lot of commercial operations in development and, that’s more under the counter, support a lot of field operations in Syria and in Iraq. So far, the logic could work. Iran is bad, Qatar is bad, they are collaborating openly. How come that a US-UK base, Al Udeid, is hosted in Qatar? What about the support from the same country in both Gulf Wars against Saddam Hussein? More mirrors? More smoke?

In our little story here, the hero (Saudi Arabia) got a trusty sidekick, the Egypt. The key here is the struggle against the Muslim Brotherhood (supported by Qatar, as noted before). Following the hero and the sidekick, we have a small batch of other countries, namely Bahrein, Lybia (one of two current “national” government), Yemen and Maldives (yes, Maldives. Don’t laugh.). Apparently, the script written between Washington DC and Riyadh will force Qatar to stop supporting all those bad guys and it will therefore isolate Iran.

We’re not at the end of this story. Hero and villain are still twisting and turning in the mirrored maze, with the soundtrack still in its basic theme, well before the final crescendo. Get some more pop-corn, this show is not over yet. By the way, does anybody noticed that the good old USA aren’t the eminent domain anymore? And again, does anybody remember how fragile is the ruling family of Saudi Arabia?

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