Sunday, June 25, 2017

No sympathy for Qatar for its present woes, not from me ....

moreover, I can't help wishing a similar fate for Saudi Arabia, Israel and the USA.
If you think the USA can never be ostracized, never say "never" ... stranger things are happening all over our world these days. 

Yvonne Ridley at MiddleEastMonitor
Qatar is giving Saudi and the UAE a masterclass in international diplomacy

When it comes to international diplomacy, Saudi Arabia and its friends in the Gulf have the grace of a ballerina wearing hobnailed boots. Weighed down by their own sense of self-importance, these petulant male-dominated regimes are used to getting their own way and few will stand up to them. Even their friends in the West, fuelled by greed and super arms deals, are too afraid to rein in the corrupt overlords who rule their people with a rod of iron.

Acting as a mediator, Kuwait has now presented Qatar with a list of demands from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt after all four cut ties with the tiny state on 5 June. One of the demands is for Qatar to shut down Al-Jazeera. To those of us with long memories, this will come as no surprise, because Saudi Arabia simply cannot tolerate criticism and it has a track record of attacking unfavourable media exposure.

In 1980, for example, the government in Riyadh threatened governments, politicians and TV corporations across the globe if they dared to broadcast a TV docudrama, Death of a Princess. The Saudis tried to intimidate Britain with economic sanctions, including the withholding of oil supplies, and recalled their ambassador from London. In the US, oil-rich companies threatened to withdraw sponsorship and advertising from TV stations if the programme was broadcast. A Middle East state attempting to gag the world? Yes, that is exactly what Saudi Arabia was doing.

As it turned out, the broadcast did go ahead and revealed details of the 1977 execution of Princess Mishaal Bint Fahd Bin Mohammed, a granddaughter of the then Saudi king’s elder brother. She was executed in public for adultery, as was her alleged lover Khalid Mahallal.

The Saudi government was outraged. More than a decade later, in 1996, the BBC was forced to close down its Arabic section following pressure from Riyadh when the Saudis again sought to suppress a documentary exposing more executions in the country. Around 250 journalists lost their jobs......

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