A friend in a position to know these things recently wrote and informed me that the video al Jazeera ( My TV Interview with Al Jazeera put together on the Egyptian army in which I participated is one of the reasons the Egypt along with most Gulf states have broken ties with Qatar. Of course it was a very minor one…like the straw that broke the camels back. The main reason of course is the Qatari support for the Muslim Brotherhood. The Arab leaders mostly all recognize, unlike many Western politicians, that the Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamist movement in sheep’s clothing., In the West it is al Qaeda in suits and ties.
Qatar is like Monte Carlo, a Middle East principality, with the difference that it has immense amounts of oil money, which it uses liberally to promote movements and organizations, which tickle the fancy of the Ruling family. The family has been in power since the early 19th century. Originally a Sheikhdom under the Al Thani family and a Wahhabi pirate state, it became a British protectorate following the demise of the Ottoman Empire. It has been lauded by the UN for its human rights development but a more descriptive fact about the State is that 80% of its inhabitants are not citizens, and with the exception of a few Western expats, few derive much from the oil and gas wealth. Most are little more than indentured servants.
Al Jazeera that originally was seen by the Western media as some sort of Arab media breakthrough, a independent media source, and it has done some good journalism. I consider the piece on the Egyptian army (in reality on the Arab armies) to have been done very well with an obvious point of view. But one has to understand like most Arab media, it is just part of the State-run media. The irony is that although Arab armies are part of the State repressive system they usually enjoy popular appeal by the public. I did receive a number of text messages from active or former Egyptian soldiers expressing their appreciation for airing the video.
There is no doubt that Qatar has funded terrorism and Sunni supremacy organizations for years, and its wealthy citizens continue to do so. Including Hamas in the Gaza strip, the Taliban in Afghanistan, and of course the Muslim Brotherhood centers all over the world. It also tends to cozy up to Iran, which of course infuriates most Arabs, and especially Saudi Arabia. It also hosts a huge American airbase, part of the Arab proclivity to have two opposing ideologies/ interests reside in harmony among them. Something we have a problem with, being unable to come to grips with this nuanced mentality.
On the video itself the military problems and issues depicted in the film are prevalent throughout the Arab world, In all their armies, Syria, Iraq, the North African states, and particularly Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, despite the vast amounts of money these Gulf States have poured into the military they are unable to punch themselves out of a wet paper bag. But as I have written it l keeps our weapons assembly lines running.
I remember being in Qatar for about a week returning from Iraq during the 2004 holiday season, and the glass world of fancy malls with artificial Christmas trees. I found it to be a boring place, a world of illusionary reality, like a Matt Damon movie set. The large British community seemed to enjoy their lives there with plenty of beer, nice restaurants, and lot of hash house harriers, beer busts etc. Just not my cup of tea.
But the break with the Arab states is more theatre than real. So stand by for the next episode