Thursday, June 8, 2017

"While My Qatar Gently Weeps"

"While My Qatar Gently Weeps"

"Menopause, I'm told, is horrible. Men don't know too much about it, and thankfully I've not been exposed to it... yet. One minute you're hand in hand on the beach with your sweet adoring wife and the next she's a sobbing wreck who wants to stab you in the thigh with a pair of knitting needles.

This is probably just how Qatar feels right now. Sure, they've never been "mates" with their neighbors but they've always tolerated each other. Only months ago, they had joined with Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Hand in hand, they had come together with the shared vision of bombing Yemen back into the sand. Happy days! Today, knitting needles.

Two questions:
What is actually going on?
Should we care?

The two are related. We can only know if we should care if we actually know what's going on. To answer the first question, let's begin with the second. Consider that the most expensive, complicated, and unpopular wars are those that Western powers (which really means the US these days) wage directly. Outright wars... Washington has found... are unpopular. And I'm not referring only to women with hairy armpits and unshaven men running around, waving silly placards chanting and throwing chairs through McDonald's windows every time they feel triggered. After Iraq and Afghanistan, Trump faces a populace sick of "their boys" coming home without their legs.

Here's what happens: the US military, after offloading a few billion dollars worth of hardware, flattening designated cities... I mean, "strategic targets" (remember shock and awe?) must ultimately commit ground troops to "secure the peace". Puppets need installing and that's impossible to do without security, and security means ground troops.

And this is where the fun starts. The average terrorist looks exactly like everybody else in the country. US ground troops, however, stand out like a sore thumb. Brave young Billy Joe Swanson, armed with pimples, testosterone, and enough hardware to take out New Zealand, doesn't actually know why he's there, but he's there because he was recruited from a low socio-economic area where his prospects were late shift at Taco Bell or the excitement of "fighting for freedom".

Young, uneducated, and not being the sharpest tool in the shed, Billy chose the latter and now, in a country and culture he knows absolutely nothing about, is faced with unknown and mostly unidentifiable attackers who will cut him down in an instant. Billy, together with his friends, feels increasingly isolated, frustrated, frightened, and angry. We're here to help, he thinks. WTF is wrong with these people?

When Billy has to push what's left of his best friends organs back into the gaping hole an IED left in his side, he quickly comes to hate the locals. They're all terrorists or terrorist sympathisers. You can tell by the language used by Billy and his fellow soldiers where they are in the world - narcos, gooks, chinks, flops, commies, ragheads.

The countries change but the results do not. Billy and his friends hate them, and this means that more innocents are killed. This turns the country increasingly against the invaders. The locals, now presiding over rubble, grow increasingly intolerant of arrogant, heavy handed Billy and the "liberating forces". Whatever synergy and initial euphoria may have existed rapidly disappears. The gap - a result of cultural, religious, and value systems - widens with each viewing the other as more alien than ever.

Remember Abu Ghraib? The lines between acceptable and outrageous blur in war. All wars, all militaries. None are immune. It's how it is. Western media continue to speak of "precision strikes" and, when things inevitably go wrong, "isolated incidents". Locals speak of genocide and murder.

For Washington it becomes an embarrassment. The world's most sophisticated military with B1s, drones, guided missiles, satellites, helicopter gunships, and bunker busting bombs still, many years later, are struggling to win against sandal-wearing goat herders with AKs and RPGs.

Just like Musk figured with Tesla, it's far easier to simply outsource all the parts to someone else and get someone to fund the whole thing. Enter proxy wars and the US puppet dictatorship of Saudi Arabia. Trump likely figured this out. Ground troops in yet another Middle Eastern backwater will be as popular as herpes. So why going there? Trump to his military advisors on Saudi Arabia: "Isn't it time these guys started working for us?"

The real issue here isn't Qatar. They are merely a pawn in this. The target here is Iran, and now that Chairman Trump just gave the Saudis a "we've got your back" pledge, it's time to move things forward. This is likely to be as messy as ever. Why? Because it's all been tried before. Direct wars, as discussed, have their problems. Proxy wars, on the other hand, aren't all peaches and cream either. The folks in the 5-sided building in Virginia may have higher IQs than Billy but they're still as dumb as "isht".

Here's what happens with proxy wars. US forces "train" local forces to stand up and fight for whatever the US thinks they should be fighting for. All too often it involves killing the citizens of their own country. Pray tell, why US-trained forces in Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan never seem to work? Let me put it this way. It'd be like the Russians invading the United Kingdom and having Ivan force Peter in Yorkshire to fight Luke in Devon. Only government could fail to see this for what it is: a terrible idea. This won't stop it from happening. You can't fix stupid.

What Now? Iran, a country that hasn't invaded another in 200 years, is a terrible danger to the US, and Qatar supports them. We know this because the MSM tells us it's so. As that thug Henry Kissinger stated: "It is not a matter what is true that counts but a matter of what is perceived to be true." Sadly, he is correct. That this narrative is being championed now by none other than the biggest sponsor of terrorism makes it all the more laughable.

Washington have decided Iran is the enemy and that's really what matters, which begs the question, was Trump's Middle Eastern visit used to drum up support for an offensive on Iran? An easy sell to the Saudis who like Iran in the same way Jews like bacon. Given the speed with which the Saudis and 6 other Middle Eastern countries cut ties with Qatar, I think it's safe to say there is a far broader plan in the works.

As ZeroHedge pointed out yesterday it's about energy and the money and power that comes with it. Surprise:  "The real reason behind the diplomatic fallout may be far simpler, and once again has to do with a long-running and controversial topic, namely Qatar's regional natural gas dominance. Recall that many have speculated (with evidence going back as far back as 2012) that one of the reasons for the long-running Syria proxy war was nothing more complex than competing gas pipelines, with Qatar eager to pass its own pipeline, connecting Europe to its vast natural gas deposits, however as that would put Gazprom's monopoly of European LNG supply in jeopardy, Russia had been firmly, and violently, against this strategy from the beginning and explains Putin's firm support of the Assad regime and the Kremlin's desire to prevent the replacement of the Syrian government with a puppet regime."
Click image for larger size.
With nearly 30% of global LNG supply, Qatar has more natural gas than Michael Moore after a bowl of cauliflower. And what's more, it has the lowest extraction rates in the world. It's how they got to be the richest country in the world on a per capita basis.

What to Expect? Remember Libya? Well, it's no coincidence that the amount of terrorist attacks in Europe have increased ever since the US-led "coalition" shoved a flag pole up Gaddafi's bum.

Any conflict in the Middle East is likely to increase the surge of refugees into Europe, and you can read my article on this very topic "7 steps to the easiest short in recent history" for a rundown. That particular theme will only increase the already fragile political and social fabric of Europe. While it's currently a low probability, should the powder keg that is the Middle East really blow, expect a US-led "coalition" to first provide "support" and finally to put boots on the ground. Then we go from passive to active and Billy gets to "integrate" once more with the natives. We've seen it all before.

Who wins? Who loses? It's hard to see how any disruption to the supplier of 1/3rd of the natural gas market wouldn't move prices. Any escalation leading to war won't help already ballooning deficits, and yet the treasury will almost certainly need to sell more of those. Wars don't come cheap.

Something else to consider is that this move by Middle Eastern countries led by the Saudis - designed no doubt to contain Qatar ahead of a more aggressive stance towards Iran - could backfire spectacularly, pushing Qatar closer to both Turkey and Iran. Qatar has money... lots of it... and Turkey and Iran have decent military capabilities and regional ambitions."
"There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true;
 the other is to refuse to believe what is true."
- Søren Kierkegaard
http://www.zerohedge.com/

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