Qatar is trying to embroil Iraq in a foolish conundrum

Qatar is once again conspiring against Iraq by dragging it into a direct confrontation with the Americans.
Sunday 25/11/2018
Wrong steps. Iraq’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim (L) walks with Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani in Baghdad, on November 7. (Reuters)
Wrong steps. Iraq’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim (L) walks with Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani in Baghdad, on November 7. (Reuters)

Qatar has proposed to Iraq the creation of a five-party alliance that would include both countries along with Iran, Syria and Turkey, media reports claim. The alliance would be based on shared political and economic interests of the concerned countries.

Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani’s visit to Iraq on November 7 is seen within the context of manoeuvres to counter the international political siege of Tehran or at least minimise its effects.

Tehran is apparently of the opinion that this five-party coalition would allow it to continue backing the activities of its militias in the region. The plan is to have the militias divert US attention through terrorist activities and would spare Iran any direct implication. In addition to that, Iran-backed militias would continue to create chaos in the region with Qatari assistance.

Iraqi political analyst Nizar al-Samarraei said Qatar is slowly pushing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan towards a confrontation with Arab countries through the building of a special relationship with Iran.

That scenario would be catastrophic for Turkey and the region because once Tehran is finished with its Arab targets, it would turn on Turkey. In that case, history will be repeating itself. Turkey’s Sultan Selim I will have to rise from his tomb and square off with Shah Ismail al-Safawi in Iraq once again. By that time, international circumstances would have changed and Iran would enjoy greater international support due to the changes in the balance of power in the region.

Samarraei said Qatar has chosen to ally itself with Iran and to spend its money to weaken the effects of economic sanctions. Qatar puts itself in grave jeopardy even if its goal is to harm Saudi Arabia.

The Iraqis cannot forget that Qatar conspired against their country by allowing the Americans to use its territory to launch air attacks on them. Qatar is once again conspiring against Iraq by dragging it into a direct confrontation with the Americans. It is deliberately luring the Iraqi government into an alliance that simply defies the United States’ will. The United States has made clear that it will take severe measures against any country that stands with Iran.

Mohammed al-Halbousi, speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, invited Qatar to participate in the reconstruction of Iraq and invest in the Iraqi economy. He stressed that the parliament would seek to provide the proper environment for a safe investment. All we heard in return from the Qatari minister were vague diplomatic expressions about his country “being ready to open all types of horizons of cooperation and to strengthen the historically friendly ties with the Iraqi government and people.” In other words, nothing but hollow promises.

Qatar is involved in shady deals at the expense of Iraq. Official statistics indicate that more than 40,000 barrels of crude oil are smuggled through Basra province every day towards Iran and Qatar. It is a daily occurrence to see convoys of hundreds of tanker trucks loaded with crude oil head towards seaports and other crossing points with Iran under the protection of carloads of gunmen.

It is naive to assume that Qatar, which conspired against Iraq and ganged up with Iran to steal its oil and contribute to the destruction of its economy, could one day contribute to its reconstruction. There is no denying that Qatar is seeking to embroil Iraq in the greatest folly in history by enticing it to join an anti-US coalition.

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