Qatar, which Isolated Itself

Qatar

No country in the world was as patient with Qatar’s political transgressions as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and UAE have been for the past two decades.

For 21 years, Qatar disregarded all concepts of Gulf unity and neighborly behavior. Twenty-one years and the repercussions of Qatar’s policies are worsening year after year.

The Gulf’s 21 years of patience was understood by Qatar as weakness, not wisdom of not wanting to lose a brotherly country.

The three countries repeatedly exerted political and diplomatic efforts without any true response from the other party.

In 2014, the Emir of Qatar pledged and agreed to the Riyadh agreement to end his country’s harmful policies. Yet, and as usual, it didn’t commit to any of its pledges and ambassadors were withdrawn during that time.

Interference in internal affairs and creating chaos and instability became intolerable. Six countries therefore decided to cut all diplomatic relations with Qatar in an attempt to end Doha’s disastrous methods and unprecedented isolation.

The surprise did not lie in severing diplomatic relations, seen as a harsh and unavoidable solution, but in Gulf countries’ tolerance of the damage of Qatar’s foreign policy for two decades.

Qatar had exploited Saudi Arabia’s will not to lose the younger brother.

The small gulf country manipulated and fooled everyone until it cut all political and brotherhood ties.

In the statement following the decision to cut ties with Qatar, Saudi Arabia said: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has taken this decisive decision as a result of grave violations committed by the authorities in Doha over the years, in secret and in public. These violations were aimed at dividing Saudi ranks, creating incitement against the state and infringing on its sovereignty, as well as harboring terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilizing the region.”

How terrible what Qatar has done! How patient Saudi Arabia has been!

Had Iran done that, no one would have justified this aggression, yet it was Qatar who did that.

Even though it easily can, Saudi Arabia never intervened in the internal affairs of Qatar. So, how can Doha defy logic and do that?

The question is whether Qatar will be able to return to the Gulf fold or not.

This time, Qatar only has one way to go, while all other roads are blocked. The real and honest return hinges not only on a change in policies, which is possible but temporary, but actual and necessary change should take place in the main policy that Doha has adopted. It believes that it should be the most important state in world, tossing aside geopolitical basics.

This strategy made Qatar embrace terrorist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS and al-Qaeda. It promoted their schemes and rhetoric, allowing it to commit grave violations against the sovereignty of fraternal countries.

Sooner or later, this strategy will end and Qatar will not be able to defy logic and reason for long. The decisions to sever all ties and close borders and cancel aviation licenses will be enough because Qatar knows it can’t exist without its surrounding. It is quite aware of the very high tax it can’t pay if it chooses to manipulate history and geography.

Hopefully, the brotherly country Qatar will learn the lesson this time as money doesn’t buy geography or history. Ambitions are accessed through doors, not tiny holes. Countries can manipulate a little and contradict a lot, but they cannot hold out against the facts and reality. A country can’t be isolated from its neighbors and surrounding.

It is true that the severing of relations this time has been the most damaging to Doha in history, but it is a chance for it to wake up, return to its senses and change its political strategy.

If Doha did that tomorrow, then it will be welcomed with open arms before open borders.

Anger from Qatar

Qatar

In May 2014, Bloomberg published statements of former Qatari prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim: “It is our right to make Qatar seem as the most important country in the world. But the problem is that some Arab countries did not play their role properly so when we played our role some thought that we are taking theirs.”

These statements were reiterated since the former emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa took over the rule in the country in 1995 – they brief the strategic targets of the Qatari foreign policy but the political reality says that no state can do the role of another.

Bahrain, for example, can’t do Egypt’s role and Saudi Arabia can’t do the role of UK. Doha continued through its endless provoking and throughout the past twenty years it was in a quest to achieve its goal in becoming a regional power even if at the expense of the Gulf countries and the region’s security and stability.

Aside from statements claimed to be said by Emir of Qatar and that Doha is denying, they actually represent the Qatari policy since Qatar has always used contradictions as a way to deal with brotherly countries.

The Gulf countries – including Qatar – take strict stances towards Iran during the meetings of the GCC to stop its intervention and to face its expanding project. In October 2015, Doha signed with Tehran a military security agreement. Qatar participates in the Decisive Storm in Yemen that has a major goal to put an end to the Iranian power.

Few months later on, the emir said in the UN that the relation with Tehran is developing and growing continuously based on common interests and good neighborliness. When the Gulf summit was held in Doha, leaders were surprised by the attendance of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad upon a Qatari invitation as an honor guest.

Bahrain is suffering turbulence that has exceeded demands of reforms and constitutional kingship into aborting it and establishing a republican regime in the country. The Gulf countries refuse these acts because any chaos in a country would sure transfer to the neighboring ones.

But Doha is being impartial and is suggesting initiatives that go in favor of the militias supported by Iran. Al Jazeera, the diplomatic media arm of Qatar, has continued to support the chaotic forces in Bahrain and described them as a “national revolution”.

The Gulf countries fight terrorism fiercely while Doha – unfortunately – has a different agenda. It hosts the Muslim Brotherhood and funds it. It granted al-Qaeda leaders a media platform they used to dream of. It also presented al-Nusra Front as a “moderate force” and promoted for its separation from the terrorist al-Qaeda group.

Recently, the agreement to release Qatari captives from Iraq took place and displaced four Syrian towns as a price.

Guarantors of the agreement included Iran and Nusra Front. In 2014, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain summoned their ambassadors from Doha after accusing it of threatening the security and political stability of the Gulf countries through supporting Muslim Brotherhood figures in the Gulf.

Also, the Qatari funds have threatened the whole region after reports that have proven Qatar’s support to Nusra Front. It also backed the anti- Saudi, Emirate and Bahraini media through transforming Qatari institutions into platforms to attack them. Qatar also funded figures that object over the ruling regime in these countries in addition to recruiting political funds and public relations companies in the US and West to damage the Gulf interests.

After Qatari pledges, the three ambassadors returned after nine months under one condition that Doha abides by Riyadh Agreement. However, Qatar did not – a Gulf official told me that the former Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah considered that the agreement was over with the death of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud who sponsored the agreement.

The justifications that pushed Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain to summon their ambassadors then still exist today, nothing has changed.

Every state has the right to follow policies that comply with their interests and there is no condition in the international policy that imposes identical stances among countries. However if these policies damaged the regional security, led to chaos and shook stability then no state would be as patient as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

If Doha doesn’t change its policies that are damaging its neighbors and threatening their national security then any return would be useless and a dead end would be reached.

Washington, Manama… Ending the Six-Year Strain

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa at the Gulf Cooperation Council leaders summit in Riyadh

With six years of ongoing negligence of a key ally and overlooking Iranian interference to its record, US former president Barack Obama’s foreign policy chipped away at Bahrain’s security the most.

Following the Bahrain 2011 unrest and pursuant demands of overthrowing its monarchy, the Obama administration gave its Gulf ally a cold shoulder, allowing for a boundless inflow of Iranian propaganda, the spread of extremism and armament of militias.

Not only that, but Washington also loudly opposed and ‘aborted’ a Gulf intervention by the Peninsula Shield Force tasked with tuning the situation in Bahrain and preventing it from spiraling out of control.

To say the least, US disregard was a miscalculation given that its vital Middle East naval garrison –the Fifth Fleet– is based in Bahrain waters.

In her memoir, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton cites that the Peninsula Shield Force was the only force standing against Iran torching the entire region with anarchy that holds the potential to reign uncontained.

WikiLeaks also disclosed on illicit emails sent by Clinton showing negative meddling in the work of Bahrain’s independent investigation committee looking into the 2011 uprisings. Kindly put, declassified documents show that the Obama administration had fallen short on supporting an ally. Not to mention that it had conspired against Bahrain in a way that benefited Iran, a common foe!

President Donald Trump’s visit to Riyadh showed that his administration has caught up to Obama’s catastrophic blunders in Bahrain and would make amends by restoring the century-old relation to its pre-Obama norm.

Vowing to mend the strained ties, Trump held talks with Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in which he outlined a new framework that focuses on backpedaling from Obama’s policy and on strengthening US-Bahrain ties. More so, Trump went as far as describing relations between the two countries as ‘wonderful.’

Restoring US-Bahraini relations is a strategic demand not for Bahrain alone, but for all Gulf states. The Kingdom of Bahrain has always been the seen as the first chip in a domino effect that would compromise the security and stability of neighboring countries. The Obama administration was sending mixed signals when failing to actively support its strategic ally, Bahrain.

Some Gulf States saw that it was a tactical pressure mechanism meant to influence policy—how else could it have been for the US to abandon the security of a key factor to regional stability and security?

The two countries have decided on extending their defense cooperation agreement—a critical step that the former US administration would have opted out on.

Trump seeks to salvage whatever is left of US alliances.

“Our countries have a wonderful relationship together, but there has been a little strain, but there won’t be strain with this administration,” Trump said during a photo session with Sheikh Al Khalifa in Riyadh.

“We’re going to have a very, very long-term relationship. I look forward to it very much – many of the same things in common.”

Despite Bahrain being the most to suffer from recent US policy, it wasn’t the only one affected by rising tensions.

It remains to be said that despite the bitter crisis, Bahrain sought serious reform to its security services. The kingdom has also pursued the option of holding discussions with the opposition, a way rare to the region.

However, the Obama administration turned a blind eye to all these efforts.

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister said that his country felt it was being persecuted for no clear reason, but for the mere risk we took for tackling issues encountered by all countries.

While the Obama administration suspended a central Bahrain arms deal, the Trump US administration dropped the inhibiting clause and announced its intentions to proceed with a sale worth up to five billion dollars of F-16 interceptors, 23 engines, and other related equipment.

Such a step confirms that Washington is on the right track to radically restore its relations with allies.

The historical Arab-Islamic-US summits recently held in Riyadh were not at the level of rudimentary protocol as many had hoped, but had carried new American weight and action 180 degrees different from than that of the Obama era– the era that had hurt Gulf people, as did no other US presidency.

From Riyadh … A Middle East without ‘Constructive Chaos’

chaos

In June 2006, former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice launched her great project at the time: “The New Middle East” instead of the “Great Middle East.” She was openly promoting this concept that was aimed at creating a state of instability and chaos to remap the region.

This would later unleash the forces of “constructive chaos”, as they were called. These forces would spread violence and instability in all corners of the Middle East, which is indeed what happened or at least a large part of it did through the “Arab Spring”.

The repercussions of this disastrous project did not emerge in the region alone, but in the world, which realized that it was harmful and lethal chaos, not a “constructive” one at all as much as it brought about terrorism and instability.

Perhaps the magic equation that was used for that alleged “constructive chaos” was pressuring regional countries to introduce change from abroad according to ideas that do not fit the radically different peoples in the region. This was later firmly proven to be ineffective as balances were changed and unprecedented fragmentation hit the region.

The repercussions and remains of this disastrous project are still present. This is why Riyadh’s Arab-Islamic-US summit was a good opportunity to bury it for good. Saudi Arabia, led by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz managed to rearrange regional cards primarily on the basis of country interests and stability and secondarily on bolstering historic alliances. This was demonstrated through reviving the strategic alliance with the United States and convincing it that its interests do not differ much from those of the countries of the Middle East.

Perhaps altering the official American mentality about its interests and limits of its meddling in the affairs of the region will be marked as a victory in its favor. US President Donald Trump had clearly indicated this in Riyadh by stressing that his country does not want to dictate to the people how to lead their lives or what to believe it. He called on the Muslim leaders to take measures themselves to confront the extremists.

The radical change from the previous US administration was clear when Trump declared that “we are not here to lecture. We are not here to dictate to others how to live their lives or act or practice their religion. We are here to propose this partnership on the basis of interests and common values in order to reach a better future for us all.”

This new basis that was declared by Trump in Riyadh was crowned with the formation of the “Middle East Strategic Alliance in the city of Riyadh” to contribute in achieving peace and security in the region and the world. The alliance will be a joint platform to bolster the desired stability in the Middle East that has long been absent from it. The summit, under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, succeeded in setting the framework of the new Middle East project, which is built on interests and restoring stability without the need to impose foreign agendas.

The announcement of the establishment of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology was then made seeing as regional stability cannot be achieved without confronting terrorist ideology that leads to terrorism, which is the top common enemy of the world. This center aims at spreading moderate values and fortifying families and societies. It is based on confronting extremism through the most advanced intellectual, media and digital means. Its promotion campaign was broadcast on all traditional and electronic media.

These are the same platforms that helped spread extremism without any real restrictions. The greatest significance in the establishment of this center is that it is the first time that all world countries have seriously come together to stand united in the fight against the danger of extremism. Consequently, after today, the idea of linking Islam to fundamentalism is no longer viable. This link was at some occasions made out of ignorance and at others out of selfish intent.

Now that regional countries, led by Saudi Arabia, will combat extremism militarily and ideologically, there is no longer a future justification to continue with this great lie.

The map of the region’s stability will in the future be described in terms of “pre-Riyadh summit” and “post-Riyadh summit.” The peoples of the region will remember a king called Salman bin Abdulaziz who buried for good the “constructive chaos” project and replaced it with a real one that is based on “committing to development as a strategic goal to confront extremism and terrorism and provide a dignified life.”

Trump in Riyadh, Game Rules Change

Saudi

With the landing of US President Donald Trump airplane in King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh as his first foreign destination, Obama’s phase in foreign policy reached an end. Choosing Saudi Arabia is a clear sign of the upcoming priorities of the US foreign policy.

This policy is embodied in the role the US administration believes that Riyadh can play in achieving their joint strategy. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz said that the visit will reinforce strategic cooperation and achieve security for the region and world.

Riyadh and Washington are not only betting on correcting bilateral relations but also on enhancing level of coalition between them and returning it to its normal state. This alliance was fulfilled with a joint Saudi-US strategy.

There are four goals behind Trump’s visit and they seem on their way to be achieved.

The first goal is that strategic cooperation with Saudi Arabia is a cornerstone that enables US to reinforce its interests and security. Trump’s administration is aware that terrorism can’t be defeated without the support of the kingdom – the country standing in the frontline at the war against ISIS and al-Qaeda.

Saudi Arabia has proven itself to be the closest security partner of US and the intelligence relations between the two countries since Sep. 11 attacks have protected thousands of Americans and deterred terrorist operations that had US as a target.

The second goal is to help the US public opinion correct its image on Saudi Arabia and its importance in facing terrorism. Without the kingdom, terrorism can’t be besieged and eradicated. This highly important concept is absent and unclear for Americans.

The third goal is related to Trump’s explaining his correct image on Islam. When he wants to clarify his stance towards extremism and not mix it with Muslims then there is no better way than a summit where presidents and heads of the Arab world meet in the land of Makkah and Medina – the two sacred cities.

The fourth goal is to deliver a strict message to the Iranian regime since it is a regime isolated from the majority of the Islamic world and the page of Washington-Tehran rapprochement – during eight years of former administration – has been flipped.

The defensive agreement signed between Riyadh and Washington expressed this clearly – the White House described its goals as defying threats of Iran and regional terrorism as well as supporting the kingdom efforts in confronting terrorism.

The 48 hours Trump will spend in Riyadh will change the rules of the game in the region and world – it is not an official visit like other visits to Riyadh. Barack Obama visited Saudi Arabia four times but none of his visits carried a change or a wish to mend and reform the coalition.

This time, however, Riyadh-Washington ties as well as Arab-Islamic-US ties are expected to come out with a new strategy that contributes in the regional and international security and stability.

Trump is aware of the huge relapse of US in the past eight years and is also aware of the security threats that have doubled on the country and the whole world. For this, he has started rearranging the region’s papers through a visit that carries much symbolism after announcing that he will reconsider the US military role.

This doesn’t contradict with his slogan “America First” since without maintaining the interests of the strongest country in the world and reinforcing current coalitions, US position will shake and other powers will replace it. For sure, this is the last thing a great power such as US wants.

RPG in al-Awamiyah

Saudi Soldier Killed in RPG Attack in Qatif Province

This time, al-Awamiyah witnessed a striking event with terrorist groups launching an RPG missile in the area killing one Saudi policeman and injuring five others.

Surely, clashes with security forces and terrorizing citizens are no new incidents to this organization, but the introduction of a new weapon that isn’t available easily explains the developments in the city and uncovers its reality.

Since the outset in 2010, they tried to fool the world with names like protests, demonstrations, peaceful and activists until they reached a point when they used missiles. For six years, Saudi security forces were self-restrained making sure not to harm the civilians in the region given that they are suffering from the terrorism of these groups as well.

With time, every reasonable person no longer felt any sympathy towards the terrorists. When they launched the RPG missile, they lost their last supporter and were outcast by the residents.

Surely, it is soon to tell how the terrorists received the RPG, and the Saudi Ministry of Interior is still investigating the issue.

In August 2015, it was announced in Kuwait that 19,000 kilos of various types of ammunitions, 144 kilos of highly explosive TNT and 56 grenades were discovered with what later became known as the Abdali cell.

The Abdali cell was supported by members affiliated with Hezbollah and Iran. In Bahrain, too, terrorist groups used such weapons, because such organizations are willing to go far.

We can’t rely on Iran and others to stop weapons’ supply. We can depend on the successful method through which the Saudi security forces managed to classify extremists and reveal their true face to the world. It was not an easy mission.

So, terminating those organizations is only a matter of time, and it won’t be long before tranquility and security return to the area.

It is important to mention here that the use of RPG is an indication that what has been happening in Awamiyah for over six years was never more than riots that gradually became blatant terrorism. It was never an issue of rights as some want to portray and neither was the purpose of targeting citizens.

This is not just about international media outlets thousands of miles away from reality and how they were fooled before the truth was revealed. This is also about regional media like the very close al-Jazeera channel which used to claim that security forces killed the protesters and opened fire at the demonstrations. It is about time a media outlet like Jazeera clarifies its position and how it was fooled while reporting those debunked allegations.

Up until last December and over the past 16 years, 128 terrorists targeted Saudi Arabia killing and injuring over 1147 Saudi citizens, residents, and security men. During those 16 years, Saudi Arabia would come back stronger than the year before, and like that terrorism in Awamiyah would be terminated whether they used RPG or any other weapon or they were supported by Iran. Eventually, the state will remain and terrorism will be abolished.

Turki Al-Sudairi’s Will

Sudairi

There are several editors in chief, several journalists and several column writers. Rare are those however who had a vision and who were able to properly read the future and be confronted with attacks at the beginning of their career and yet after so much hardship be able to pave the way to others.

Saudi Arabia has not witnessed a journalist, editor-in-chief or writer such as the late great Turki Al-Sudairi. This is not due to his professionalism alone or his leadership of the major “al-Riyadh” newspaper or even for heading the journalism syndicate in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf for several decades, but because he was among the first to confront extremism through his pen and journalistic work. He dedicated his newspaper to the nation first and foremost at a time when simply hinting at and criticizing hardliners could lead you into an endless dark tunnel and expose you to battles that are not easily won.

Even after beginning his voyage of criticizing forms of extremism and naming things as they are, he did that out of a national conviction that baffled his adversaries. He never overstepped his boundaries, insulted anyone or provoked the readers. Rationalism was his way and reason was his style. This is the path he chose for several years before paving the way for the rest of the media and opinion influencers to continue on enlightening the society.

Turki Al-Sudairi turned “al-Riyadh” newspaper into a journalistic pillar that is unique in thought and practice. He managed during his long career, which spanned 41 years, in transforming “al-Riyadh” into his country’s official newspaper without anyone asking that of him. Under Turki Al-Sudairi, “al-Riyadh”, reached heights that no one could easily reach. Arab and international media even began to consider it as the official mouthpiece of the state. Turki did that out of his high patriotism that enabled him to overcome all delicate issues that could have complicated his journalistic career. He was able to overcome all of those hardships, cementing “al-Riyadh’s” name as a solid media outlet that leads the media scene in Saudi Arabia. The vision that he set in place for over four decades led to this resounding success. I do not think that anyone can repeat his feats.

In December 2011, two months after my appointment as editor-in-chief of “el-Eqtisadiah” newspaper, I paid a visit to Turki Al-Sudairi at his “al-Riyadh” office seeing as he is the senior journalist in the country. Despite the age and height difference between us, he insisted on escorting me out at the end of my visit. All my attempts to dissuade him from doing so failed. During our walk from his second-floor office to the exit, I asked him for advice. He replied: “If you face any difficulties or problems within the newspaper or outside of it or with the official powers, do not hesitate to contact me.” I smiled and thanked him. He then added: “I am not humoring you, Salman, but I am asking you.” We departed with him telling me: “My son, I am by your side. Whenever you need me, you will find me.” This was a statement that he never failed to tell me whenever we met again in the future.

Indeed, whenever I contacted him, he never disappointed me, offering advice and guidance at times and correcting me at others. He would then make the same request, which was never an attempt at humoring me as much as it was a statement that he actually meant.

In March 2013, he wrote an article in his famous column, “Liqaa”, entitled: “Ignoring… and Ignorance.” He cited me in the article in words that have made me happy. I hope that I am up to the task he cited and I am proud to have been mentioned by a man of such high stature. I telephoned him at the time to thank him and express my gratitude. He again reiterated his “will” to me, asking: “Did you forget my request, my son? I am by your side. Whenever you need me, you will find me.”

Your son has not forgotten the father, teacher and educator. You are now departing and leaving us at a time when we need you the most and when men like you are so rare.

‘The Aden Declaration,’ Dangers of a Southern Secession in Yemen

YEMEN-SOUTH-DEMONSTRATION-UNREST

Southern separatist ambitions in Yemen are not recent news but have been in the backdrop of the Gulf country’s 1994 civil war.

At the time, one of the vital factors in stoking conflict between the north and south was the role played by the then president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Southern political figures largely blamed the now-ousted president Saleh for marginalizing the south after Yemen declared its unification in 1990.

Albeit separatists putting forward objective and understandable arguments, realizing those ambitions remains near impossible. The international system in power will not allow for Yemen to be divided.

Mr. Abdulrahman al-Rashed, former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel, had given insightful details as to why a separation in Yemen is unlikely in his May 9 opinion piece “The Separation of the South in Yemen”.

Additionally, there are the two clear-cut United Nations Security Council resolutions 2014 and 2051 that recognize and value Yemen’s unity. Not to mention that sponsor states undertaking the South dilemma have, over and over again, affirmed that a settlement must manifest within the context of a unified Yemen.

British and Russian diplomats have openly announced their countries’ support for a united Yemen, which at a point in time shocked separatists who relied on the two powers backing their cause. They had hoped for deep-rooted ties linking Britain and Moscow to southern Yemen to garner enough support for the South to gain autonomy.

Advancing separatist ambitions, the southern movement has arrived at a forked path. A faction of independence-seekers — in light of the upheaval caused by Iran-backed Houthis leading a coup in Yemen– have understood that priorities have been reshuffled.

Taking into account rapid developments on the Houthi-led civil war, restoring Yemen’s legitimate government led by Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi to power takes precedence over eventual independence, as conceded to by the South overwhelming majority.

After the government would return to full control, a safe and gradual separation and ultimately independence could be negotiated under unanimous Yemeni agreement. Nevertheless, a faction of the southern movement has opted for a more dramatic approach that is an uncalculated and rushed separation.

Personally speaking, a recent declaration released by Aden leaders provides a precise and elaborate answer to southern momentary autonomy. It simply is impossible under the current circumstances and conditions experienced by the nation.

In the meantime, these ambitions are announced for reasons of political leverage and interests. The south perhaps is looking out to secure a score of political gains—particularly that Hadi recently sacked Aden’s now-former governor Aidarous Al-Zubaidi. He also dismissed the Hani Ali Breik, the former Secretary of State and ordered that he be investigated for several charges including political disobedience and involvement in corruption.

It is worth nothing that any internal political gains to the southern leaders’ account will be temporary and fleeting mindful of a wider strategy fixed on driving Houthi militants and armed loyalists backing Saleh out of Sana’a.

Gulf states–leading a coalition which freed Aden from the control of Houthi and pro-Saleh militias– have been clear in demanding Yemenis in general, and southerners in particular, to stand in solidarity with pro-legitimacy forces “to instate full state authority and sovereignty, restore security and stability across all Yemen.”

That comes as a clear message that any moves to resolve the southern issue “must be carried out through Yemeni legitimacy and consensus represented by the outcomes of national dialogue. ”

Perhaps after terminating the Houthi – Saleh staged coup, Yemen could reopen the southern and also provide an alternative– a previously reviewed and conceded draft solution based on establishing a federal state consisting of six regions.

A federal state is the only way out for southerners, whose demand for secession was not an end or an objection to unity. It was a protest fueled by a rejection of marginalization, tyranny, and expropriation exercised by the deposed Saleh since the 1994 war.

Trump to Jeddah… Message Delivered?!

Trump

It is normal for any president to choose his inaugural visit based on his country’s interests. However, if this was done by US President Donald Trump then no doubt that the state he chooses will have the lion’s stake from these interests.

This is what Trump did when he chose Saudi Arabia to be his first foreign visit destination. If the kingdom is the country Trump chose to launch from it his new strategy in the reginal and the Islamic world then the visit will not be a protocol one as other official visits.

Trump will hold three summits in Jeddah to explain his wish to reposition US in the region, besiege the Iranian extension, ostracize extremism and terrorism and differentiate between Muslims and extremists.

Although the visit was a delightful surprise for the majority yet some are still shocked from selecting the kingdom specifically since US president sent positive message to his historic allies and partners in the region and Islamic world as well as warnings to Iran and extremists groups and countries supported by Iran.

It was also a surprise for those who cheered up when Trump became president assuming that he is an enemy of Saudi Arabia and Islam and that he will fulfill their wish in spurring tension and crises in the region – they were quickly disappointed especially after Trump put the Saudi-US ties back on track.

As a matter of fact this man is always surprising us. During 100 days of his term, he was able to gradually change the world’s perspective towards him as if he is separating between his previous electoral statements and his stances after entering the White House.

Here he is opening up on the Islamic world, starting from Saudi Arabia with a historic visit that serves his goal in proving that he is not an enemy of Islam but extremists and terrorists. Choosing Saudi Arabia as a first destination is an attempt to face the widely spread claims that Trump is an enemy of Islam, especially after his promises to ban Muslims from entering the US and his travel restrictions related resolutions – this visit also denies claims promoted by parties close to the administration of former US President Barack Obama that Saudi Arabia overlooks terrorism.

Trump’s visit will change the equation through a pursuit to aid Riyadh in confronting terrorism and extremism.

As for the Saudi-US coalition then it is certain that the historic visit will solve any disputes that occured through the past eight years. It is clear that the visit of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, to Washington and his meeting with Trump resulted in putting the Saudi-US ties on track again. Points of agreement surpassed points of conflict.

The anticipated visit of Trump is a US keenness to reveal a new policy in the Middle East in addition that this visit will be a strong indicator of a bigger attempt to isolate Iran that is seen by the new US administration as a sponsor of terrorism in the world – deputy crown prince warned Iran that the kingdom will bring war to its territory in case it resumed its expansive policies.

The Muslim Brotherhood affiliated media – as described by deputy crown prince – seeks to undermine the importance of this visit and to find points of difference in US-Arab relations as well as to spread frustration.

I see that this reaction is expected – it also proves that accusations against this media are true as it seeks to disturb any attempts to restore stability in the region. As for the pessimists and concerned towards Trump’s future policies we advise them to go with the flow.

Final Chapter of Dialogue with Iran

Iran

While Iran is fighting Saudi Arabia and Gulf states through its militias in Yemen and directly in Bahrain, and combats for its interests in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, reconciliation and peacemaking attempts continued between Iran and the Gulf States, prominently Saudi Arabia.

Occasionally, calls for negotiations would come from former US President Barack Obama, or through European foreign ministers, and sometimes – shockingly – through Gulf countries’ efforts.

Each party credits itself for strengthening their positions even if it came on the expenses of Arab and Gulf states, though these calls would benefit Iran.

Everyone knows that Iran can’t go on with a reasonable dialogue while executing its expansion and interference in internal affairs policy.

Yet, it seems that the final chapter of these callings is irreversibly over after Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman explained his country’s position saying it is impossible to reach mutual understanding between Saudi Arabia and Iran: “There is no common ground between us and the Iranian regime.”

So, it is rather impossible to hold negotiations with Iran which Prince Mohammed said was busy with its “extremist ideology” and ambitions to “control the Islamic world.”

The more important and clearer message here is that the battle will be in Iran and not Saudi Arabia.

Why the final chapter?

Precisely because Gulf efforts should be exerted to stop Iran’s expansions rather than being occupied with mediations that are only exhausting and offer the Iranian regime with an opportunity to catch its breath and promote its revolution before western state, and not country, as a peace agent.

It is about time things are set straight and positions are made based on facts, reality and the consequences the area will face because of Iran’s sabotage project. It is no longer useful for the collective Gulf official statements to follow a hostile policy towards Iranian extremism, and then it all changes once the meetings are over.

Iran’s position towards Arab interests became unprecedentedly hostile that it exceeds its eight years’ war on Iraq during the eighties of the last century. Tehran’s main goal is to reach Muslims’ Qiblah, as the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince said in his televised interview.

After all the one-way hostility that spreads from the east to the west of the Gulf, is it right to accept the requests for dialogue and mediation which occupy the region rather than focusing on the real battle?

Surely it is understandable for every country to run its policies based on its own interests. It is also clear that no state can force its own statements on another that doesn’t share the same ideas. But, it is important that the old tools of diplomatic exploitation be stopped, like this endless boring tale of dialogue. It is also crucial to end Iranian regime’s penetration of the Gulf system in a way that helps Tehran proceed with its extreme strategies.

It is about time policies match the reality of the stances given that Iran is literally waging wars on its neighbors via sending weapons and training militias.

Those who believe that their interest doesn’t include collectively fighting the Iranian regime should at least let someone else do this mission in a way that doesn’t complicate the decisive confrontation and thus lessen its strategic success once in a while.

No one wants to go into war with Iran or any other for that matter. Stopping Iran’s extremist project surely doesn’t mean anyone is banging the drums for war. But at the same time, an easy policy is never productive with a state like Iran. The administration of former US President Obama followed that policy for eight years and failed catastrophically.

The issue is now clearer to end Iran’s expansion. Offense is the best defense. It began with putting an end to Iran’s external interventions and exposing the Tehran regime for its domestic reality after it had deprived its people of development for over thirty years. Or, as the Saudi Crown Prince said: “We know we are a main target of Iran. We are not waiting until there becomes a battle in Saudi Arabia, so we will work so that it becomes a battle for them in Iran and not in Saudi Arabia.”