(WMR)—America’s Middle East version of NATO, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which will become the GCC Plus if Jordan, Egypt, and Morocco join, is quietly celebrating the return of the Saudi, UAE, and Bahraini ambassadors to Qatar after a diplomatic row triggered by Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood. Apparently, the 34-year old Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, who succeeded to the throne after the 2013 abdication of his father, Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, agreed to limit the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in Qatar.
Limiting the Muslim Brotherhood from Qatar is easier said than done. What Tamim agreed to was to pressure the Brotherhood to cease its anti-regime activities in the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE held an emergency summit in Riyadh on November 16 and agreed to return their ambassadors to Doha in response to Qatar’s assurances that Doha would not be used as a base from which to destabilize the three GCC countries. Oman, which is putting greater emphasis on good relations with Iran, did not attend the summit and has been generally distancing itself from the GCC. Kuwait, which has developed its own special relationship with Iran, has also largely distanced itself from the GCC squabbling.
The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan, recently traveled to Qatar to ensure that GCC problems were settled ahead of the December 9-10 GCC summit in Doha at which Qatar will be handed the GCC’s chairmanship. The Obama administration places much faith in the GCC as an ally in its war against ISIL but the truth is that the GCC is now a mere “paper tiger.” Washington wants Jordan, Morocco, and Egypt to join the GCC to give the organization more clout but Egypt has not sent its ambassador back to Doha and Al Jazeera journalists remain jailed in Egypt on treason charges based on their alleged support for the former Muslim Brotherhood government of President Mohamed Morsi.
There is no doubt that former Emir Hamad was a major champion of the Brotherhood. Under his reign, Brotherhood members not only infiltrated Al Jazeera but also leading Qatar Arabic and English language newspapers. However, at the same time the Muslim Brotherhood set up its regional headquarters in Doha, Qatar permitted the Haim Saban Center for Middle East Policy, funded by the Israeli-American Zionist Hollywood producer Haim Saban, to operate the Brookings Doha Center. The Doha Center provided pro-Israeli spokespersons for Al Jazeera’s Doha broadcasts while also talking up the George Soros-enabled “Arab Spring” revolutions in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, and Yemen.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan placed much of his political capital on the de facto Turkish-Qatari-Brotherhood alliance that helped to bring about the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who has just had all criminal charges against him dropped; the revolution against Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi; and the Syrian rebellion against Syrian President Bashar al Assad. While Erdogan has condemned Israeli aggression in Gaza and Lebanon, he is content to dovetail Turkey’s support for ISIL and Al Nusra with that of Israel.
As far as the Qatar government-funded Al Jazeera network is concerned, the satellite news outlet continues to support the goals of the American neocons and Brotherhood, which are to bring about the ouster of the Assad government and the marginalization of the pro-Iranian Shi’a-led government in Baghdad. Although Qatar is a member of the Obama administration’s shaky coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), some members of the Qatari royal family and Qatari businessmen have been financing ISIL-affiliated units in Syria and Iraq. These include the Al Nusra Front, which is also backed by Israel.
The major support network for ISIL in Syria and Iraq has been Qatar, Turkey, and the Muslim Brotherhood. The facts on the ground in the Middle East, as far as ISIL is concerned, are as confusing as the lack of a coherent strategy on Syria and Iraq from President Obama’s National Security Council. Chuck Hagel discovered just how confusing U.S. policy, torn between Israeli, Turkish, Saudi, and Qatari interests, can be.
For example, it is likely that Hagel became aware that within a short drive of Qatar’s Al-Udeid airbase, America’s largest military base in the Middle East, Qatari Special Forces were training radical Syrian rebels at a covert base located between Al-Udeid and the Saudi frontier. Among those receiving military training were members of the Syrian Islamic Front, whose allegiances switch between the fanciful “Free Syrian Army” and the Al Nusra Front, the Khorasan Group, and ISIL. In addition to Qatari Special Forces present at the secret training camp, Central Intelligence Agency operatives have also been identified. Part of Hagel’s frustration with the White House was likely his knowledge that John Brennan’s CIA training operations in Qatar, Turkey, and Jordan were directly benefiting radical takfiri elements who were being attacked by American air and special operations forces in Iraq and Syria.
Although the British government ordered a crackdown on Brotherhood activities in the United Kingdom, it has permitted Qatar to start up another media operation, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed (The New Arab), which started an Arabic language newspaper in London, ramped up an English language website, and will begin a television satellite news network. There are charges flying around London that a number of individuals affiliated with the Brotherhood are associated with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed. Egypt’s president Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has accused the London-based news operation of targeting the “stability” of Egypt.
The one thing that is consistent about the current state of the Middle East is that it is inconsistent. The lack of a clear U.S. Middle East strategy, with the Pentagon and CIA on opposite sides of the military lines in the region, has led to the widespread confusion in the region. Although Israel always benefits from such Arab disunity, the interests of the United States are being ill-served by the amateur nature of National Security Adviser Susan Rice’s policies, along with those of her deputy Ben Rhodes and the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power. Compounding the problem is the fact that Brennan’s CIA is actively supporting the recruitment of takfiri rebels into the ranks of ISIL from organizations as far afield as the Iranian Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) terrorist group—also supported by the American neocons and Israel—and CIA-supported Salafist groups based in the Republic of Georgia and Ukraine.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
Copyright © 2014 WayneMadenReport.com
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).