We've been reporting on the growing Mideast crisis, with numerous Arab nations, led by Saudi Arabia, breaking diplomatic relations with Qatar, and imposing harsh commercial sanctions that threaten Qatar's economy. It's been widely reported that the crisis was triggered by Trump's recent visit to Saudi Arabia, but new reports indicate that the reason was completely different. It seems that in April, Qatar paid $700 million to Iran and Shia militias supported by the Syrian regime. Up to $300 million more was paid to the al-Qaeda linked group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS, Liberation of the Levant Organization). The ransom was paid to gain the freedom of 26 people in a hunting party that included members of the Qatari royal family, who had been kidnapped in southern Iraq in December 2015. The Saudis only learned of the ransom payment in the last couple of weeks. HTS is the latest name change for what was originally called Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front) when it was officially the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda.
Then, in July 2016, Jabhat al-Nusra announced that it was splitting with al-Qaeda, and was changing its name to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS, Front for the Conquest of Syria). The reason given was that the group wanted to create an alliance with "moderate" militias fighting against Bashar al-Assad, but could not do so because none of them wanted to be linked to al-Qaeda. Then, in January of this year, JFS did merge with four other militias, and called itself Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, or HTS.
An unnamed official is quoted as saying:
"So, if you add that up the $300 million paid to HTS to the other $700 million they paid to Iran and its proxies, that means Qatar actually spent about a billion dollars on this crazy deal."
Well, this "crazy deal" was apparently the last straw for the Saudi authorities, because it confirmed all the claims that Qatar was funding al-Qaeda and Iranian extremism, although not in the way that it had been reported. The Saudis were so furious, they initiated the diplomatic break.
Many in the mainstream media have said that the Trump visit "caused" the split by "emboldening" the Saudis. That concept never made sense to me. I said that Trump's visit "triggered" the split, meaning that the forces were in place for the split to occur sooner or later, when the time was write.
From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this is an important distinction. Journalists like to take the easy road of saying that politicians, especially the US president, cause all the events that happen in the world. But the things that I write about are caused by generational pressures that build up over years and decades, and politicians have nothing to do with them, except perhaps to trigger an event that was going to happen anyway.
So now president Trump believes that he's going to bring an end to Islamist terrorism, and he's going to bring peace to the Israelis and the Palestinians. I'm going to respond in pretty much the same way that I responded to President Bush's "Mideast Roadmap to Peace" in May 2003. Just as Islamist terrorism is going to continue and grow, Jews and Arabs are going to refight the bloody war that occurred in 1948 with the partitioning of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel. The generational pressures have been building to this war for decades, as if a huge tsunami was launched in 1948 and is just about to reach shore. And the war cannot be stopped by a politician any more that you can stop the tsunami with a bucket....Times of Israel and Daily Mail (London)