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A grand swap deal between Russia and Qatar: Europe in exchange for Asia

So what's really going on around Qatar?

In June 2017, there was a political split in the Middle East, but instead of exacerbating the Sunni-Shiite confrontation, the Sunni peace itself was split in half. What is the reason for the unfolding conflict? What are the interests of the warring parties? Who initiated the current situation? And, finally, who benefits from the next Persian conflict?

Prehistory and background

In the late nineties of the last century, the father of the present Qatari emir created in Doha three powerful instruments of influence on the Islamic world. The first was the international channel "Al-Jazeera" - media number one in the entire modern Middle East. The second - the World Council of Muslims - the most authoritative Muslim organization, consisting of ninety thousand respected theologians. And the third is the Sovereign Fund of Qatar, which is one of the twenty largest global welfare funds. Later, it was these three mechanisms that enabled the "dwarfish" state to become one of the most influential political regional players.

In 2011, during the development of the American strategy of the "Arab Spring", coups took place in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen; civil wars in Libya and Syria; uprisings and mass protests in Bahrain, Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco and Oman; less significant discontent in Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Sudan, Djibouti and Western Sahara. And all this time the Qatar dynasty systematically spoiled the political relations literally with all its allied neighbors of the region. This went on until the coup in Egypt, when the leader of the World Council of Muslims, Ali al-Qaradagh, with the strongest support of the Qatari channel Al-Jazeera, literally dragged the party of the Muslim Brotherhood (an organization whose activities are banned in the Russian Federation) President Muhammad Mursi.

After that, Saudi Arabia finally refused to maintain indifferent neutrality and, to the great displeasure of the Americans, supported in Egypt its own coup d'état, by the year 2013, leading to the rule of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Since then, the discord between the two neighbors has only worsened, and Qatar, in response to the removal of his man from power, released into the open air the most influential in the Sunni world theologian Karadagi, who for months called for the overthrow of the royal system existing in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis used similar methods and gathered around themselves accessible to the influence of the Salafi ulema, periodically trying to use them to recognize the current emirs of Qatar as illegitimate heirs and usurpers of the throne.

Eventually, by the time of 2014, the intensity of mutual passions had reached such a level that all ambassadors of those regional regimes who had recalled them today were recalled from Doha. The further aggravation dragged on for eight months and lasted until high-ranking US officials began arriving in Kuwait. Today, history repeats itself in a mirror image, with the essential exception that the reasons for its emergence, as well as the geopolitical consequences of the current situation, go far beyond the scope of internal regional contradictions.

Nevertheless, the formal motivation for the beginning of the current crisis was the May appeal of the Emir of Qatar in the congratulatory speech of the law enforcement academy, where the latter stated about the serious plans of the ruling regime to reconsider international relations with Iran, Hezbollah and Israel, and in favor of their cardinal improvement. Later the video was publicly available. The Saudis, taking advantage of the arrival of Donald Trump, played an advancing lead by six Arab states - Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Yemen and Libya, declaring Doha to immediately break diplomatic relations. This was followed by the termination of the transport message and the expulsion of the subjects of Qatar from these countries, the receipt of Doha's list of demands from thirteen points, the refusal, the beginning of mutual accusations and the further growth of bilateral opposition ...

The real causes of the Qatari crisis

I. Terrorism.The accusations of terrorism presented to Qatar as the official reason for its isolation in the Middle East do not hold up to any rational criticism. Such points as "granting asylum to the leaders of radical movements, propagation of the ideology of al-Qaeda (an organization whose activities are banned in the Russian Federation) and IG (an organization banned in the Russian Federation), interference in the affairs of neighboring independent states, financing of terrorist formations "and so on, can easily be applied to the accusers themselves. It has long been no secret that Qatar created these terrorist groups banned in Russia, along with Saudi Arabia - they were sponsored, trained and trained by both countries and are their common history of crimes before the safety of humanity. The real reason for the Qatari crisis is not this.

II. Internal competition.No matter what accusations the officials of the Arab world put forward in public rhetoric, the personal occasion that motivated them to break off relations with Qatar always consisted of political rivalry and lost profits. Huge gas reserves and the most extensive state-owned media outlets have always irritated Qatari neighbors. But the greatest political antipathy was caused by the behavior of the emirate in Egypt, where Doha supported the Muslim Brotherhood (an organization whose activities are banned in Russia), in Bahrain, where the emirate developed propaganda for Islamic terror, in Libya and the UAE, where anti-government movements were initiated, and actually in Saudi Arabia itself, where not only the undermining of public confidence was organized, but also the feeding of the opposition to the dynasty in the country.

Even in Yemen, Qatar planned to organize its own alternative project and in a new way to register in it the sole role of the emirate. As a result, by the time of the beginning of the current crisis, literally each of the surrounding countries wanted to reduce the ambitions of the conceited territorial rival to at least zero.

III. Iran.Religious schism between Sunnis and Shiites for centuries was the main conflict in the Middle East region. In this regard, the significant cause of the anti-Qatar demarche is the statement made on his behalf about the need to get closer to the Shiite Iran, the main geopolitical opponent of the Sunni monarchies. Qatar, however, was forced to establish relations with him. The reason for this is that the "North Dome" deposit, being developed by Doha, is located not only within its territorial waters, but also in the waters of neighboring Iran. And if previously the Tehran under sanctions could not begin to develop its own part of the deposit, now the situation has changed, and Qatar could not fail to take into account the Iranian opinion that was manifested.

IV. The USA and Israel.The United States long distanced itself from the developing Middle East problem, and the reason for their so illogical behavior was the constant search for domestic political alternatives. That is why Saudi Arabia, called Trump "America's main problem in the region," very quickly became the first point for his friendly international visit, and Iran, under the pressure of the Israeli lobby, on the contrary, turned into enemy number one. In the matter of Doha, the American leader once again faced the lobby of "internal Israel". And since he needed it in the internal political struggle, he did not interfere in the conflict right away, knowing full well that the emir of this country not so long ago expressed the idea of ​​supporting the current Hamas movement and suggested removing the labels of the terrorist organization from him.

Plus, the delay in the intervention gave Trump and indirect benefits, such as the possibility of hosting the World Cup in 2022 in his country, as the struggle for the venue of his Qatar was won by America.

V. Geopolitics, Russia, gas are the main reasons for the unfolding conflict.Sovereign investment fund of Qatar was organized in 2005 year, and by January of 2017, its capital was at least 335 billion dollars. In June 2013, the fund of Qatar became the owner of 2,95% of the authorized capital of VTB, in September 2016-th - the owner of 24,99% of shares of Pulkovo airport. In December of the same year, they acquired 19,5% of Rosneft shares in a consortium with Glencore, and in June 2017 began active negotiations to purchase an 25 percentage stake in the Independent Oil and Gas Company (which is under direct US sanctions). Today, the fund extensively supports cooperation with the Russian Direct Investment Fund and studies projects with a total volume of 6,5 billion.

From the above figures it is clear that Qatar actively cooperated with Russia before the active phase of the Syrian "civil" war and immediately after the intervention of our country in its military realities. And this in turn means that a short failure in several years was due to the participation of Doha in someone else's geopolitical project, and in a way in which Russia was no longer a companion player. This, of course, is about the American cross-border pipeline Qatar-Europe.

Qatar, at the current rates of gas production, has proven reserves of natural raw materials for 160 years ahead, while a significant competitive advantage over Russia is a much lower cost. Proceeding from this, the US, under the leadership of the previous state administration, tried to bring Qatar to the energy markets of Europe, hoping to gradually squeeze out Russian monopolies from there. Doha in this project followed its own interests, Russia received a colossal blow, and the United States - the corresponding geopolitical benefits. However, with the advent of Russian military aircraft in Syria, the project failed, the pipeline became unrealizable, and the Doha quickly changed its current negotiating positions.

At the end of 2016, the Kremlin made a proposal to Qatar, which could not be abandoned. The essence was to send Qatari gas not to the EU, but directly to Asia, at the expense of Russian Yamal LNG obligations, while Russian gas from the Yamal field, on the contrary, would go to Europe, but already at the expense of Qatar sales. In other words, Russia, through Novatek, entered into a major gas contract with Doha to sell liquefied gas under conditions where Qatar sells its LNG to Asia under the guise of Russia, while Russia sells its own volume in the EU, but under the guise of Qatar.

In fact - this is a grand swap deal, about which Russia and Qatar did not trumpet the whole world, but quietly and quietly realized. In it, all parties except the United States were satisfied: Qatar received an alternative gas route, Russia - political and economic preferences, and in Syria, a significant pool of terrorists IGIL (an organization whose activities are banned in the Russian Federation) ceased to be financed. Judging by America's long-term non-interference in Qatar isolation, Doha decided to accept Moscow's offer, but it was clearly premature to wait for the end of 2017 and launch of the first stage of Yamal LNG.

Unlike previous elites of Washington who planned to bring Qatar to the EU market and thereby squeeze Russia out of it, the current ones behind Donald Trump profess a different policy. Their method of ousting Russia from the EU consists in delivering exclusively American liquefied gas to its energy markets. And, of course, in this strategy of Qatar, in conjunction with Moscow, this plan is extremely unfavorable. On the one hand, there is no necessary infrastructure for liquefying so large quantities of blue fuel in the United States, and on the other hand, its construction will take at least ten years. For comparison: the volume of Russian supplies to Germany alone in 2015 amounted to about 45,3 billion cubic meters, and this in terms of not less than 32 million tons. To transport this amount of US fuel, it would take 329 Creole Spirit tankers for one year, or one supertanker per day in the EU. And this despite the fact that today in the world the number of such ships fluctuates around four hundred.

Given this, Qatar, of course, plans to fight, while for our country any outcome of the situation around Doha is a satisfactory result. First, in the course of the conflict, Qatar has already announced about doubling its own gas production, and this poses problematic LNG projects for us in the US and Australia under big questions. Second, seventy percent of the new US LNG capacity planned for implementation over the next decade from Texas to Australia still does not have investment decisions.

And, thirdly, those who can offer these investment solutions, the directors of the three largest oil and gas companies - Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Total - lined up not with them but with the emir of Qatar, who opened free access for foreign investors to foreign investors the development of a new super-rich gas field. In addition, the conflict around Qatar pushes up oil prices, which also positively affects the Russian economy, and the "Arab NATO", which was discussed during the visit to Saudi Arabia by Donald Trump, in the light of the current Sunni split is clearly not implemented.

The Qatari crisis once again demonstrated to the world that the Arab states can not rally due to severe domestic competition. And this divides the Middle East not only on the axis of the Sunnis and Shiites, but also determines the relationship of Qatar with Egypt and even with Saudi Arabia within the very earlier single Sunni formation. This circumstance qualitatively enhances Moscow's opportunities for a profitable political maneuver and allows Russia not to occupy those uncomfortable positions under which one of the opposing sides will have to take. The geopolitical party is actively continuing, but Russia's success is already encouraging.

A source: A REGNUM

Author: Ruslan Khubiev

Tags: Qatar, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Economics, Analytics, Politics, Iran, USA, Israel, EU, Gas

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