Wednesday, October 29, 2014

TO BE A CALIPH OR NOT TO BE A PRESIDENT. By Ghassan Kadi 25 Oct 2014

This is Erdogan's question.
25 October 2014
Ghassan Kadi

No one can say with certainty what is exactly the nature of the "difference" between the regional policies of Qatar and KSA. People often look for very complex clues and miss out the obvious. In this context, the obvious seems to be about "who has the upper hand".

Qatar is "two tents and a camel", as a colloquial Arabic proverb puts it, but it wanted to rise to prominence, a prominence that can guarantee the continuity of the ruling family. They are small and weak, and their only strength is financial. They lured/accepted to have their soil as a base to attack Iraq, because having US bases in Qatar gives it security; or so they think.

The Saudis do not want anyone to rival their religious and regional leadership, and for this reason "only" perhaps they don't like the metamorphosis of Qatar from a nothing-state to an aspiring regional leader.

Because Qatar needed strong regional allies, it went to Sunni Turkey for support.

It is hard to know exactly what Erdogan was promises, but one can guess what he really wanted. There is a general belief in Turkey, especially amongst the Islamists, that Turkey should lead and rule the Muslim World like it did before for 400 years. Erdogan wants to re-establish a Turkish Empire that includes present day Turkey, all of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, and the whole Arab Peninsula. In Arabia, he will have Mecca in the West and oil in the east.

He will promise Israel safe borders and an end to any struggle against its sovereignty. That said, he may later on turn around and try to capture Jerusalem.

When it comes to the Turkish-Qatari coalition, we cannot be sure who approached who first, but they needed each other nonetheless. Qatar needed a regional Big Brother, and Erdogan was happy to get the Qatari money.

Erdogan kept his big dreams to himself. It isn't hard to believe that he was only promised a very small prize, a token such as secure borders with Syria under new leadership. But he already had secure borders with Syria. More than likely, Erdogan must have fooled everyone to believe that he was prepared to do all what he was asked to do for virtually no or little benefit for himself. As a big Muslim leader and as a NATO member, he seemed to oblige for no clear gain, but deep down inside, he had a much bigger fish to fry.

Once again, as the Anti-Syrian Cocktail failed to topple Assad, each member went solo trying to get a consolation prize, each on his own, knowing that they are not going to get any support from the former allies.

Right now, Erdogan is happy with the stalemate around Kobani. This buys him time and the hope that he will be offered some prizes. That aside, he would much prefer ISIS to win than the Kurds. It is also easy to believe that he wishes for ISIS to expand and take over KSA. The outcome of this will be very much to his advantage. On one hand, that royal family will get out of his way, paving his personal aspirations of Islamic leadership, and secondly, if and when the world get together and decide to kick ISIS out of Arabia, only a Sunni army will be allowed to do it, and only Turkey will fit that bill, and there will be nothing more for Erdogan to wish for other than being invited by the West to invade and capture Mecca. This will be his Turkish revenge to the events of a century ago.

First published in The Syrian Revolution; The Untold Story (Facebook)

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