Blockading Qatar, targeting Iran

The Saudi-Israeli alliance is out of the closet.

Iran anti US/Israel protest
Iranian protesters chant slogans against the ruling Al Saud family of Saudi Arabia, the US and Israel during a rally after weekly Friday prayer in Tehran [AP]

The almost simultaneous blockade of Qatar spearheaded by Saudi Arabia and joined by a few of its sidekick states and two pernicious, violent attacks on two symbolic sites in Tehran may have taken the world by surprise but the mad logic and the mischievous rhetoric of them are anything but surprising.  

The organic link between the regional, decidedly anti-Palestinian, ambitions of Israel and the sectarian designs of Saudi Arabia for the Arab and Muslim world at large have been known for quite some time now. The question is what has triggered that alliance between the Israeli settler colony and the Saudi garrison state suddenly to up the ante and come out with such ferocious intensity, throwing all pretences of “Arab brotherhood” or “Muslim unity” under the speeding Zionist bus.

As reported by Al Jazeera, there is now an active lobbying putsch in Washington, DC, coordinated among Israel, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates, simultaneously targeting Qatar and Iran, with the future of Palestine and the fate of millions of Palestinians in and out of their homeland as the focal points of this treacherous alliance to sabotage and destroy the cause of Palestinian self-determination. 

Taking full advantage of this crisis, the timing of the US ambassador to the United Nations, the die-hard Zionist, Nikki Haley’s visit to Israel marks Benjamin Netanyahu‘s long-standing design to push the Palestinian question completely off the global agenda. The ruling regimes in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt are willing and eager parties to this perfidious act. 

Although there can never be any hard evidence of the Saudi instigation of the suicide attacks and bombing of two symbolic sites in Iran, the parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini, Iranian officials are pointing fingers at the Saudis. But we need not necessarily accept the Iranian account to realise that Israel and Saudi Arabia are (and have been for a very long time) the main beneficiaries of such violent acts against Iran and Iranians. 

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If we put the blockade of Qatar by its Arab neighbours and the unprecedented attack on Iran analytically together, a number of crucial consequences emerge to redefine the geostrategic map of the region. 

Israel and Saudi Arabia as two garrison states 

The current Saudi-Israeli alliance in trampling the Palestinians’ fate, warmongering against Iran, and subjecting Qatar to a crippling blockade dominates and distorts the real picture of the region. The principle enemies of the Saudi and Israeli garrison states are not their counterpart states in the region but, in fact, the defiant nations that are falsely framed by these states. 

The simultaneous targeting of Qatar and Iran should forever put an end to the false flag that this is a battle between Arabs and Persians or else between Sunni and Shia Muslims.


Three powerful nations in this area defy their respective states to map out their own democratic destinies: Egypt, Iran, and Turkey. These are the three nations that, in their thick historical memories and ensuing democratic aspirations, pose the greatest threat to the Saudi and Israeli colonial concoctions with no historical legitimacy on the ground. By virtue of US military and diplomatic support, this Saudi-Zionist alliance dominates the geopolitics of the region beyond its historical deserve.  

Among these three historic nations, the Saudi Arabia and Israel falsely assume they have neutralised Egypt by recruiting the military junta that has aborted its revolutionary momentum. Egyptians as a people, as an historically self-conscious nation (remember Tahrir Square), are not to be confused with the corrupt junta that now rules it, tramples on Palestinian rights, and is even willing to sell its own territorial integrity to Saudi Arabia. 

This Saudi-Zionist alliance thinks it can also disregard Turkey for it confuses the current coup-countercoup draconian dynamics of Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s government with the robust democratic urges of Turks as a people, as a deeply rooted and self-conscious nation (remember both the Gezi Park movement and the popular uprising against the military coup last year). 

The alliance, therefore, laser beams on Iran for, contrary to its ridiculous claims, it is not the adventuresome disposition of its state that bothers it but, in fact, the volcanic democratic upsurge of Iranians as a nation frightens the living daylights out of these two colonially manufactured garrison states. 

It is not accidental that the primary target of those demented mercenaries attacking Iran was the Iranian parliament, next to the office of the presidency and the city councils the most democratic institution in an otherwise theocratic state apparatus. It is the democratic effervescence of the people of Iran (and Turkey and Egypt), trapped as they are within the framing of a misrepresenting state, that poses an existential threat to Saudi-Israeli alliance. 

Keep your eyes on these three nations: Turkey, Iran, and Egypt – do not be distracted by the antics of their respective state apparatuses being dragged into the geopolitics of the region – and you will have a far more accurate conception of every single development in the Arab and Muslim world. Keep also in mind that the Palestinian cause is at the heart of these three nation’s democratic aspirations, and not a matter of systematic political abuse by their respective states.  

Despite its tiny size and sparse population, though deeply informed by waves of Arab and non-Arab migrant skilled labourers, scholars, journalists, artists, and intellectuals from across the world populating its universities, museums, and research institutes, Qatar has dared dreaming itself integral to the larger Arab-Muslim desire to fulfill its historic sense of dignity, which it has in part invested in putting the Palestinian self-determination at the forefront of its sense of moral identity. 

Qatar is not just for Qataris. Despite all its structural limitations as a minuscule rentier state with a massive US military base on its soil, Qatar has enabled an engine of social, intellectual, and artistic ambitions for the larger Arab and Muslim world. Donald Trump looks at Qatar and all he sees are dollar signs for his military contractor friends. Israel looks at Qatar and it is worried to see a thriving Arab capital with a sharp critical intelligence to the Palestinian politics it enables. Saudi Arabia looks at Qatar and sees dangerous ideas being bandied about its northern frontiers. 

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That Zionists see that dream as a nightmare is, of course, natural. That the Saudis and their sidekicks have now joined forces with these Zionists in crushing that dream is an obscenity beyond words. The marriage of convenience between Israel and Saudi Arabia as two garrison states, armed to their teeth by the US to spread menace and to pit one group of Muslims against another, overcomes all other disparities between the odd couples. 

The simultaneous targeting of Qatar and Iran should forever put an end to the false flag that this is a battle between Arabs and Persians or else between Sunni and Shia Muslims. Qatar is both an Arab and a Sunni country, and is today the target of a most pernicious blockade and defamation by its own Arab and Sunni neighbours, while planeloads of food are being flown to Doha from Turkey and Iran.

For now, let it be remembered that Israel, with all its ridiculous claim to be “the only democracy in the Middle East” (built on stolen Palestinian lands), is today in active alliance with the most retrograde and backward-ruling regimes in the region against the democratic aspirations of their nations. Let it also be remembered that the ruling family in Saudi Arabia are now in active alliance with the European settler colony that has stolen Palestine from its rightful inhabitants. Everything else from this point forward must commence with these two sobering facts. 

Hamid Dabashi is Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York. 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.