Thursday, June 8, 2017

The attacks against Qatar aren't about the funding of Islamic terrorism, but rather the fate of the petrodollar

It is not a coincidence that just a few weeks after President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia and solidified their long-standing partnership with a historic arms deal that nearly overnight, OPEC nations converged en masse against one of their own who had been potentially leaning towards joining the new energy coalition being created in Eurasia.

Diplomats involved in the agreement between Russia and OPEC saw the extensive oil diplomacy as an area of non-confrontation that both sides used to open up channels at the highest levels to secure a common goal, namely to bolster oil prices. The deal involved direct talks between Putin and his Saudi and Iranian counterparts, while the breakthrough came from a late night phone call between the Russian and Saudi oil ministers. 
Similarly, when Qatar bought a 19.5 percent stake in Rosneft in a 10.2 billion-euro ($10.6 billion) deal that also involved Glencore Plc this month, one attraction for the tiny gas-rich emirate was geopolitical, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. Qatar saw the investment as a path to potential business and political links, said the person, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue. 
Changing Picture 
“What is occurring now is about the bigger picture,” said Theodore Karasik, senior adviser at Gulf State Analytics. He sat on Dubai’s Russian Business Council until this year. “It’s not just about Syria, but all of the Levant and, because of Egypt and Libya, North Africa too.” 
The changes are likely to accelerate with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s more transactional approach to foreign policy, he said. 
The deal with the Qatar Investment Authority is also notable because Russia and Qatar have had a particularly difficult relationship. Moscow sees the emirate as a sponsor of Islamist terrorist groups in Chechnya during the Russian republic’s long separatist war, and again now in Syria. Russian agents assassinated the Chechen rebel leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev in Doha, the Qatari capital, in 2004. 
That made it all the more striking last week, when Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani called Putin to talk business, even as Russian aircraft were bombing Qatar-backed rebels into submission in Aleppo. According to a Kremlin statement, the two leaders discussed the Rosneft deal and how to “further promote political, trade, economic and humanitarian cooperation.” - Bloomberg
Qatar is a incredibly ripe and enticing fruit for both Russia and Saudi Arabia, but for different reasons.  This is because Qatar is the largest exporter of LNG in the world, and for Russia to get them into their fold would solidify their goal of becoming the new replacement for the dying OPEC cartel.  On the flip side Saudi Arabia, who has by far more ties to funding terrorism than Qatar does, is desperate to find a new alternative to their diminishing oil production and is in large part the reason behind their attempts to conduct a war in Yemen.

Should Qatar fully move into Russia's camp, then the acceleration of the breakup of the petrodollar system will become inevitable.  And according to some analysts in the Middle East, these swift overnight threats against Qatar are a last ditch effort to stop the petrodollar's hemorrhaging, and perhaps even formulate a replacement as the oil-dollar system is getting ready to come to an end.
The blockade of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen is not a problem that will affect the Gulf states, North Africa and the Middle East alone. This is one of the most important and distinctive historical phases of the global crisis that we are now in. The blockade of Qatar is aimed at replacing the petro-dollar system developed in conjunction with the 1973 oil crisis in both economic and political terms, and making a new economic-political order in the region. - Daily Sabah


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