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Saudi Arabia and Qatar: war on terror or race to regional primacy?

Saudi Arabia has decided to stop diplomatic relations with Qatar, suspending maritime and air traffic, followed by Egypt, Bahrein and United Arab Emirates.

This choise was necessary since Qatar is suspected to support Islamic extremist groups like al-Qaeda, IS and Muslim Brotherhood.

At the same time Yemeni government of Hadi has accused Qatari government to support Houthi, a Shiite group born at the end of XX century which fight in Yemen against president Hadi, Head of Government backed by Saudi Arabia (and Qatar, before these charges). Moreover Qatari government is accused to support other Shiite groups which would help to create instability in the region, because of ambiguity within alliances and fundings. However with this action Saudi Arabia seems to want to give a signal to West, presenting itself at the forefront like an allie in the war of terror, either this is made by Sunni extremist fringes with a Wahhabite ideology and it come from more different Shiite fringes known to be linked to Iranian theocracy. These charges create more confusion in Middle East, where every war seems endless and where there is a jumble of contradictory alliances, of which the most emblematic example is the Syrian conflict. 

The Doha government itself was surprised of being seen with concern as an Irani possible allie, historical antagonist of Arabic States and USA. Since these contradictions were born in a game of power aimed to control the region, notoriously rich of resouces and strategically important, such a clear stance took by Countries so similar to Qatar emirate, which sees a State as Saudi Arabia adding itself to the "goods" club,  devoted to destroy terrorism, seems pretty suspicious.

If we consider right values those of freedom, empowerment, happiness research, gender equality, human dignity, etc. and if we completely believe in the rule of law, individual and collective self-determination, we cannot close our eyes in front of all these contradictions, we cannot not notice that together with "us" in the coalition of goods seems to be present also a State which professes Wahhabite ideology, which is inspired by the integral rigour in the intepretation of koranic precepts, which has powered for decades the thought of those we define crazy and fanatical terrorist with its ideological factory. Moreover Saudi Arabia is busy in different wars in the region especially through Sunni ribellion against Bashar al-Assad government, often hardly detachable from terrorism. Saudi monarchy does not allow women to drive, it does not present any kind of Parliament, it regularly practices death penalty also for minor crimes and it does not guarantee the main civil and politic rights so dear to West. Moreover, it notoriously finances terroristic organizations to guarantee itself, through cordial relations with democratic States, that other countries, suspected to make alliances with fundamentalist, first Iran and now Qatar, were pursued.

What makes you think about these clutches which herald possibile conflicts, anti-terrorist measures, penalties or show of strength, just like conflicts in Middle East as in Syria, Iraq or in the endless Arab-israeli conflict is that wars rarely present well-defined coalitions of good ones or bad ones and often politic measures and consequent events are less clare than they appear, especially when we talk about economic issues. What happens in these areas seems a struggle of power and influences among States, also through religious ideology. However it is probably just a collateral effect that is fought also a war against terror, which often seems have roots much deeper than simple madness of some people, or simple expression of ancestral hate towards individual freedom. Just like it seemed have roots deeper than the madness of a man only the national-socialist ideology of Hitlerian Germany.

It is also true what Noam Chomsky has said in an essay. That is we are very often inclined to consider terroristic attacks those made by someone which we do not see as similar to our values, while acts made by "our" coalitions are called reprisals as to justify armed intervention and, why not, also collateral effects on civilians. This is happened and happens in the Arab-israeli conflict and it is the same principle which makes us regret for attacks in European soil and we are unmoved by events that are far from us. Chomsky himself has Jewish origin, nevertheless he recognizes what Israel has made and is making against Palestinian people can be defined like terrorism, just like he considered terrorism some American actions around the world after the Cold War, according to the most traditional sense of the word, just like terrorism is that performed by al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc. when this happens against indiscriminate armed attacks against civilians in order to strike fear in people.

However we have the task to be coherent to our values and think about what happens in the world trying to go over the superficiality of the information, investigating and comparing situations and events, seeking to see things from many point of view and thinking about different situations. These events need a study to find possible answers and cause reactions that are not only emotional, but also meant.

Finally it seems evident how acts of terror made by any groups, State or person towards weaker and helpless are always considered deplorable. But it is equally obvious that very often there is a fine line between good one and bad one, although there are positive events and negative events, this is transferable in the international system, especially when we talk about States as entity having economic and political interest which, although changeable in time, are occasionally very defined and intuitable, they sometimes present sneaky characters. The hope is that values we represent and for which we are proud must not fail so frequently depending on contradictions and that determined policies could be followed coherently in the future. Perhaps a hope too much utopian.

Translated by Giorgia Melis


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