Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (50 sites): Eurasia Review: America, Will It Be Always Great? – OpEd

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America has always been great and generous towards the rest of the world. It unselfishly, helped Europeans, during the WWI a centenary ago. Without its help Germany would not have been defeated and brought to its senses.

American Generosity

Yet, again, without its massive intervention during WWII, with men, armor and funds, Germany would have conquered Europe. American generosity and humanity put forward the Marshall Plan in 1948 (Foreign Assistance Act of 1948) and without it Europe would not be what it is today, a power to reckoned with.

When the billionaire businessman Donald Trump went on the presidential elections campaign trail, he invoked the idea of making America great again, but it was already great with its political ideals, its technological advances, and human solidarity. For Trump “making America great” again was only a pretext for his “making America first”, whereby “first” , here, rhymes with “selfish” — and if one is selfish, he can, in no way, be a role model for the rest of the world.

A leader by definition is a tolerant, generous, loving and brave individual. Someone who thinks about the others more than he does about himself. This was America, until Trump came to power through the democratic process, of course.

America Inc. Or America Great?

Trump, a successful businessman, wants to turn America into America Inc. A country that makes money left and right and shuns anything that does not bring green bucks. He wants to turn his country into a big company, but what if this company does not make money will it go bust and disappear?
A country is a land, people, languages, culture, feeling, ideals that are not money-making concepts, but a supreme philosophy.

American Melting Pot

He does not want immigration because as the good WASP that he is, he is scared, to death, that the white race loses its supremacy in the near future, but America was always multi-colored and that is what highlights its strength and greatness.

At the entrance of the New York harbor there is a proud lady holding a torch of American greatness, welcoming migrants, wayfarers of all colors creeds and idioms, but since Trump arrived to the White House she is wondering what, on earth, is she doing there?

When the white Europeans came to America in the 15th century, the Native Americans did not chase them; on the contrary, they gave them food and welcomed them. But, as more whites came in and moved west, they grabbed the territories of the Indians and pushed them into reserves when they did not massacre them or made them addicted to alcohol, on purpose.

Trump wants to build a massive wall to keep Mexicans from migrating into America, but the strong American economy needs the cheap Mexican labor and the Mexicans need the little money they make in the US to feed their families back home.

No Free-Riders

Trump in his business drive does not like free-riders. Indeed, right after his election he traveled to the Gulf States and made them pay for American protection billions of dollars. He, also, made a very undiplomatic move, recently, when he said publicly that the Al-Saud household, in power in Saudi Arabia, will not last two weeks without American protection. Did he say that to put pressure on the Saudis to increase their oil output on the eve of the American oil sanctions on Iran, or to show American power?

He, also, wants Europeans to pay for the American nuclear umbrella and when, recently, Macron and Merkel spoke of creating a European army he did not like the idea, in the least. So, in many ways Trump seems to want his cake and to eat, too, as the saying goes.

Destroying America’s greatness

Is Trump’s erratic diplomacy destroying the greatness of America just to make a buck?

This question seems to have been answered by a big YES during the midterm elections. Indeed, the American people gave the House of Representatives to the Democrats to counterbalance the massive power of Trump.

This result leads the American public, at large, to two possible options:

Option 1: This is a prelude to booting out Trump out of office in the next presidential elections in 2020.

Option 2: This is a stern message to Trump to review and change his politics and course, to stay in power.

Will America remain always great?

What will be the results of the next presidential elections? “America is first” does not, in anyway, come first before “America is great”, for the following reasons:

  • America is the leader of the free world;
  • America is the beacon of democracy and human rights;
  • America is the country of democratic institutions; and
  • America is the country of checks and balances.

America is a country where anyone can come to power by democratic means, but will, also, be reminded by democratic means that he has gone too far.

You can follow Professor Mohamed CHTATOU on Twitter: @Ayurinu

Eurasia Review

Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (50 sites)

Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)


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Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (50 sites): Eurasia Review: America, Will It Be Always Great? – OpEd

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America has always been great and generous towards the rest of the world. It unselfishly, helped Europeans, during the WWI a centenary ago. Without its help Germany would not have been defeated and brought to its senses.

American Generosity

Yet, again, without its massive intervention during WWII, with men, armor and funds, Germany would have conquered Europe. American generosity and humanity put forward the Marshall Plan in 1948 (Foreign Assistance Act of 1948) and without it Europe would not be what it is today, a power to reckoned with.

When the billionaire businessman Donald Trump went on the presidential elections campaign trail, he invoked the idea of making America great again, but it was already great with its political ideals, its technological advances, and human solidarity. For Trump “making America great” again was only a pretext for his “making America first”, whereby “first” , here, rhymes with “selfish” — and if one is selfish, he can, in no way, be a role model for the rest of the world.

A leader by definition is a tolerant, generous, loving and brave individual. Someone who thinks about the others more than he does about himself. This was America, until Trump came to power through the democratic process, of course.

America Inc. Or America Great?

Trump, a successful businessman, wants to turn America into America Inc. A country that makes money left and right and shuns anything that does not bring green bucks. He wants to turn his country into a big company, but what if this company does not make money will it go bust and disappear?
A country is a land, people, languages, culture, feeling, ideals that are not money-making concepts, but a supreme philosophy.

American Melting Pot

He does not want immigration because as the good WASP that he is, he is scared, to death, that the white race loses its supremacy in the near future, but America was always multi-colored and that is what highlights its strength and greatness.

At the entrance of the New York harbor there is a proud lady holding a torch of American greatness, welcoming migrants, wayfarers of all colors creeds and idioms, but since Trump arrived to the White House she is wondering what, on earth, is she doing there?

When the white Europeans came to America in the 15th century, the Native Americans did not chase them; on the contrary, they gave them food and welcomed them. But, as more whites came in and moved west, they grabbed the territories of the Indians and pushed them into reserves when they did not massacre them or made them addicted to alcohol, on purpose.

Trump wants to build a massive wall to keep Mexicans from migrating into America, but the strong American economy needs the cheap Mexican labor and the Mexicans need the little money they make in the US to feed their families back home.

No Free-Riders

Trump in his business drive does not like free-riders. Indeed, right after his election he traveled to the Gulf States and made them pay for American protection billions of dollars. He, also, made a very undiplomatic move, recently, when he said publicly that the Al-Saud household, in power in Saudi Arabia, will not last two weeks without American protection. Did he say that to put pressure on the Saudis to increase their oil output on the eve of the American oil sanctions on Iran, or to show American power?

He, also, wants Europeans to pay for the American nuclear umbrella and when, recently, Macron and Merkel spoke of creating a European army he did not like the idea, in the least. So, in many ways Trump seems to want his cake and to eat, too, as the saying goes.

Destroying America’s greatness

Is Trump’s erratic diplomacy destroying the greatness of America just to make a buck?

This question seems to have been answered by a big YES during the midterm elections. Indeed, the American people gave the House of Representatives to the Democrats to counterbalance the massive power of Trump.

This result leads the American public, at large, to two possible options:

Option 1: This is a prelude to booting out Trump out of office in the next presidential elections in 2020.

Option 2: This is a stern message to Trump to review and change his politics and course, to stay in power.

Will America remain always great?

What will be the results of the next presidential elections? “America is first” does not, in anyway, come first before “America is great”, for the following reasons:

  • America is the leader of the free world;
  • America is the beacon of democracy and human rights;
  • America is the country of democratic institutions; and
  • America is the country of checks and balances.

America is a country where anyone can come to power by democratic means, but will, also, be reminded by democratic means that he has gone too far.

You can follow Professor Mohamed CHTATOU on Twitter: @Ayurinu

Eurasia Review

Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (50 sites)


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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): 1. Russia from Michael_Novakhov (114 sites): Главные новости – Google Новости: Россия внесла в ГА ООН проект резолюции в поддержку ДРСМД – РИА Новости

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  1. Россия внесла в ГА ООН проект резолюции в поддержку ДРСМД  РИА Новости
  2. В Минобороны напомнили об использовании США ракет-мишеней в нарушение ДРСМД  Известия
  3. Россия призвала ООН сохранить Договор о ракетах — URA.RU  URA.Ru
  4. В российском МИД рассказали о последствиях выхода США из ДРСМД  РИА Новости
  5. «Юридически ничтожно»: в Москве прокомментировали решение США о выходе из ДРСМД  Рамблер/Новости
  6. Взгляд с разных сторон в приложении “Google Новости”

Главные новости – Google Новости

1. Russia from Michael_Novakhov (114 sites)

Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)


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1. Russia from Michael_Novakhov (114 sites): Главные новости – Google Новости: Россия внесла в ГА ООН проект резолюции в поддержку ДРСМД – РИА Новости

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  1. Россия внесла в ГА ООН проект резолюции в поддержку ДРСМД  РИА Новости
  2. В Минобороны напомнили об использовании США ракет-мишеней в нарушение ДРСМД  Известия
  3. Россия призвала ООН сохранить Договор о ракетах — URA.RU  URA.Ru
  4. В российском МИД рассказали о последствиях выхода США из ДРСМД  РИА Новости
  5. «Юридически ничтожно»: в Москве прокомментировали решение США о выходе из ДРСМД  Рамблер/Новости
  6. Взгляд с разных сторон в приложении “Google Новости”

Главные новости – Google Новости

1. Russia from Michael_Novakhov (114 sites)


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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (50 sites): Eurasia Review: Russia Wades Into The Battle For Influence In Africa – OpEd

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The U.S. has sharply altered its strategy in Africa in response to growing foreign influence on the continent, restricting aid for countries which “take action counter to U.S. interests”. Announcing the new policy, national security advisor John Bolton particularly called out Russia’s efforts to “increase its influence in the region through corrupt economic dealings”.

Historically,
China has been the main global power ramping up its clout and
investment in Africa. Now, however, Yevgeny Prigozhin, one of Putin’s
closest allies who
has helped the Russian president pursue his covert operations around
the world, including in Ukraine and Syria— and who was indicted by
Special Counsel Robert Mueller for his interference in U.S. elections—is
spearheading what appears to be a focused attempt
to extend Moscow’s geopolitical reach in Africa.

Russia’s
historic Cold War alliances with African countries are providing a
fertile platform for Moscow’s new diplomatic incursions, as Prigozhin
shores up strongman
presidents and wages a weaponry-for-assets campaign in regimes
that are dissatisfied with the West, including the Democratic Republic
of the Congo, Sudan, Libya and the Central African Republic.

The
multifaceted push to gain influence in Africa comes as Putin prepares
to host dozens of the continent’s leaders next year at the first
Russia-Africa summit. Prigozhin’s
strategy to unleash his mercenaries and spin doctors on Africa is
likely to butt heads with China’s own crusade for leverage on the
continent— particularly in the tension-fraught Horn of Africa, site of
China’s only overseas military base.

The battle for Africa’s assets

Africa
has moved steadily up Putin’s list of priorities as he’s endeavored to
shore up Russia’s superpower status and stabilize his country’s economy.
Today, the continent
offers fresh possibilities not only for pressing Moscow’s political
suit in strategic locations but also for
opening
up

vast and profitable new markets for oil, gas and mining collaborations.
Local media in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), for
example, report that Russia is actively involved in installing
autocratic leader Joseph Kabila’s chosen successor with an eye on the
DRC’s enormous mineral deposits.

In addition to pursuing mineral wealth, Russia is gaining clout through energy partnerships: Moscow is negotiating nuclear cooperation agreements with at least 16 African countries. While some of these collaborations– like those in Angola and Ethiopia – are still in their infancy, Nigeria and Sudan have progressed towards detailed agreements, while Egypt has finalized a deal for the construction of a suite of reactors at El Dabaa.

Russia is challenging China’s dominance in Africa

Despite these initiatives, Russia has a long way to go to catch up with the empire of influence which China has built in Africa. China’s already-substantial $40 billion worth of investments in Africa is set to be dwarfed by Beijing’s pledge of a further $175 billion over the next ten years, primarily in the form of loans for infrastructure development. Much of the funding is intended to drive Beijing’s fabled Belt and Road initiative, including a bold new proposal in Tanzania to transform the country’s Bagamoyo coastline into the largest port in Africa.

While
many Africans have welcomed Beijing’s investment as a route to
strengthening the continent’s economy, analysts fear that a number of
African countries are becoming
excessively indebted to China: an eye-watering 72 percent of Kenya’s
$50 billion in debt, for example, is
owed
to creditors in Beijing.

As Russia ramps up its African interests in parallel with China, tensions between Moscow and Beijing will inevitably escalate. The battle for influence is likely to be particularly acute in the Horn of Africa, after Russia’s decision to place a so-called ‘logistics facility’ in Eritrea, which occupies a highly strategic location in a hotly contested region.

The Horn of Africa: a particular flashpoint

Russia had initially intended to open the installation in neighboring Djibouti, which has already become a noteworthy flashpoint in the struggle among great powers for influence in Africa. China has injected nearly $1.4 billion—equal to a staggering 75 percent of Djibouti’s GDP— in the country, which it is now touting as its ‘gateway to Africa’. The U.S. and China, among other nations, have set up duelling military bases in close proximity, while the tremendous amount of money Djibouti owes to Beijing has raised speculation that the country’s autocratic government intends to gift China with a key port, Doraleh, which it unlawfully seized from the Dubai-owned firm DP World.

Nowhere in the world are so many rival military installations situated in such tight quarters, but it’s China’s naval base—ironically, originally also referred to as a “logistics facility” until live-fire drills and an extraordinary four-layer security perimeter put paid to that façade— that has caused the most consternation among Western powers. Washington has been particularly concerned, warning of “serious consequences” if Doraleh fell into Chinese hands and worrying that a China-controlled port might restrict the U.S. military’s access to its only African base.

Tensions set to rise

In
an electric region where the slightest diplomatic vibration could set
off a political avalanche, any shift in the balance of power in the Horn
of Africa could see
the fur fly. Earlier this year political temperatures spiked
as the U.S. military laid the blame for an incident in which two pilots
on an American cargo plane were injured by exposure to a laser beam
squarely at the door of the Chinese military. The Horn of Africa, with
its foreign powers jostling for influence, is
already a powder keg; Russia joining the fray could provide a dangerous
spark.

It’s
doubtful that the new U.S. strategy to punish African countries who
draw too close to Beijing or Moscow’s orbit will do much to pour water
on the fire. As Russia
and China continue to build parallel influence networks in
Africa—Russia with its mercenaries and Moscow-friendly strongmen, China
with its railways and ports—it’s highly likely that more hotspots like
the Horn of Africa will pop up.

Eurasia Review

Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (50 sites)

Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)


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Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (50 sites): Eurasia Review: Russia Wades Into The Battle For Influence In Africa – OpEd

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The U.S. has sharply altered its strategy in Africa in response to growing foreign influence on the continent, restricting aid for countries which “take action counter to U.S. interests”. Announcing the new policy, national security advisor John Bolton particularly called out Russia’s efforts to “increase its influence in the region through corrupt economic dealings”.

Historically,
China has been the main global power ramping up its clout and
investment in Africa. Now, however, Yevgeny Prigozhin, one of Putin’s
closest allies who
has helped the Russian president pursue his covert operations around
the world, including in Ukraine and Syria— and who was indicted by
Special Counsel Robert Mueller for his interference in U.S. elections—is
spearheading what appears to be a focused attempt
to extend Moscow’s geopolitical reach in Africa.

Russia’s
historic Cold War alliances with African countries are providing a
fertile platform for Moscow’s new diplomatic incursions, as Prigozhin
shores up strongman
presidents and wages a weaponry-for-assets campaign in regimes
that are dissatisfied with the West, including the Democratic Republic
of the Congo, Sudan, Libya and the Central African Republic.

The
multifaceted push to gain influence in Africa comes as Putin prepares
to host dozens of the continent’s leaders next year at the first
Russia-Africa summit. Prigozhin’s
strategy to unleash his mercenaries and spin doctors on Africa is
likely to butt heads with China’s own crusade for leverage on the
continent— particularly in the tension-fraught Horn of Africa, site of
China’s only overseas military base.

The battle for Africa’s assets

Africa
has moved steadily up Putin’s list of priorities as he’s endeavored to
shore up Russia’s superpower status and stabilize his country’s economy.
Today, the continent
offers fresh possibilities not only for pressing Moscow’s political
suit in strategic locations but also for
opening
up

vast and profitable new markets for oil, gas and mining collaborations.
Local media in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), for
example, report that Russia is actively involved in installing
autocratic leader Joseph Kabila’s chosen successor with an eye on the
DRC’s enormous mineral deposits.

In addition to pursuing mineral wealth, Russia is gaining clout through energy partnerships: Moscow is negotiating nuclear cooperation agreements with at least 16 African countries. While some of these collaborations– like those in Angola and Ethiopia – are still in their infancy, Nigeria and Sudan have progressed towards detailed agreements, while Egypt has finalized a deal for the construction of a suite of reactors at El Dabaa.

Russia is challenging China’s dominance in Africa

Despite these initiatives, Russia has a long way to go to catch up with the empire of influence which China has built in Africa. China’s already-substantial $40 billion worth of investments in Africa is set to be dwarfed by Beijing’s pledge of a further $175 billion over the next ten years, primarily in the form of loans for infrastructure development. Much of the funding is intended to drive Beijing’s fabled Belt and Road initiative, including a bold new proposal in Tanzania to transform the country’s Bagamoyo coastline into the largest port in Africa.

While
many Africans have welcomed Beijing’s investment as a route to
strengthening the continent’s economy, analysts fear that a number of
African countries are becoming
excessively indebted to China: an eye-watering 72 percent of Kenya’s
$50 billion in debt, for example, is
owed
to creditors in Beijing.

As Russia ramps up its African interests in parallel with China, tensions between Moscow and Beijing will inevitably escalate. The battle for influence is likely to be particularly acute in the Horn of Africa, after Russia’s decision to place a so-called ‘logistics facility’ in Eritrea, which occupies a highly strategic location in a hotly contested region.

The Horn of Africa: a particular flashpoint

Russia had initially intended to open the installation in neighboring Djibouti, which has already become a noteworthy flashpoint in the struggle among great powers for influence in Africa. China has injected nearly $1.4 billion—equal to a staggering 75 percent of Djibouti’s GDP— in the country, which it is now touting as its ‘gateway to Africa’. The U.S. and China, among other nations, have set up duelling military bases in close proximity, while the tremendous amount of money Djibouti owes to Beijing has raised speculation that the country’s autocratic government intends to gift China with a key port, Doraleh, which it unlawfully seized from the Dubai-owned firm DP World.

Nowhere in the world are so many rival military installations situated in such tight quarters, but it’s China’s naval base—ironically, originally also referred to as a “logistics facility” until live-fire drills and an extraordinary four-layer security perimeter put paid to that façade— that has caused the most consternation among Western powers. Washington has been particularly concerned, warning of “serious consequences” if Doraleh fell into Chinese hands and worrying that a China-controlled port might restrict the U.S. military’s access to its only African base.

Tensions set to rise

In
an electric region where the slightest diplomatic vibration could set
off a political avalanche, any shift in the balance of power in the Horn
of Africa could see
the fur fly. Earlier this year political temperatures spiked
as the U.S. military laid the blame for an incident in which two pilots
on an American cargo plane were injured by exposure to a laser beam
squarely at the door of the Chinese military. The Horn of Africa, with
its foreign powers jostling for influence, is
already a powder keg; Russia joining the fray could provide a dangerous
spark.

It’s
doubtful that the new U.S. strategy to punish African countries who
draw too close to Beijing or Moscow’s orbit will do much to pour water
on the fire. As Russia
and China continue to build parallel influence networks in
Africa—Russia with its mercenaries and Moscow-friendly strongmen, China
with its railways and ports—it’s highly likely that more hotspots like
the Horn of Africa will pop up.

Eurasia Review

Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (50 sites)


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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): 1. Podcasts from Michael_Novakhov (19 sites): NPR News Now: NPR News: 12-14-2018 11PM ET

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NPR News: 12-14-2018 11PM ET

Download audio: https://play.podtrac.com/npr-500005/npr-news.streaming.adswizz.com/2018/12/14/newscast230814.mp3?orgId=1&d=300&p=500005&story=677001751&t=podcast&e=677001751&ft=pod&f=500005

NPR News Now

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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)


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1. Podcasts from Michael_Novakhov (19 sites): NPR News Now: NPR News: 12-14-2018 11PM ET

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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (50 sites): Eurasia Review: GCC Summit Wraps Up In Riyadh: An Uneasy Gathering – Analysis

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Six Gulf nations met in the Saudi capital of Riyadh to discuss cooperation on a wide range of issues from the economy to security. The summit comes at a significant time because the future of the Gulf Cooperation Council may be at stake for the first time since its founding in 1981. The blockade of Qatar, the War in Yemen, and the diplomatic crisis behind the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi are only the few major issues that have overshadowed the summit in Riyadh, but now, many experts and analysts are wondering if the GCC can survive.

One notable absentee in Saudi Arabia was the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamid bin Hamad Al Thani. This is due to a few reasons. One reason is the ongoing blockade from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain on Qatar for two years.

But because the summit took place in Riyadh and not in a venue like Oman or Kuwait, it was not very likely that Qatar could have sent high ranking officials to the meeting. And secondly, the Qatari leadership was not very comfortable in sending its heads of states to Riyadh because they don’t want to see another fiasco like the kidnapping of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Before the GCC crisis, the land border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia was an incredibly busy traffic lane where people would be moving from one place to the other.

But now, the only land border Qatar has is now blockaded by three GCC states who have met in Riyadh. The GCC has been facing tremendous difficulties since the blockade of Qatar in June 2017, and just recently, Qatar’s withdrawal from OPEC as well. Qatar’s decision was mainly because it wanted to export more gas and move away from an economic model that was too dependent on oil. The blockading countries inside the GCC still believe that the current diplomatic crisis with Qatar will not affect the future of the organization, but this still remains to be seen.

Given the tensions between the different members of the GCC, the organization may not have any relevance left. Many people in the region are now questioning the future of the GCC and this may be the most serious crisis facing the six-nation organization since its establishment in 1981. The member countries are vying for different interests and face different threat perceptions.

In 1981, the GCC was established as a political organization that focused on creating a security umbrella to defend the member countries from Iran and its attempts to export the revolution at the time. But today, members like Qatar are facing existential threats from other members within the same bloc.

In terms of the ongoing crisis, there are three different groups. One group is Qatar and Oman, the other is Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, and we have Kuwait trying to mediate between the two.

The summit in Riyadh this weekend was merely a ceremonial meeting because nobody wanted to pronounce that the GCC was a dead organization but want to keep it alive without having any important role for the time being.

The GCC was designed to counter Iranian influence in the Middle East after the Iranian Revolution in 1979. From the Iranian perspective, the GCC was a product for the United States to become more involved in the region. In fact, during the 1980’s, the United States along with its Arab partners supported Saddam Hussein against Iran during the Iran-Iraq War that killed thousands of Iranians and Iranian children were on the frontlines fighting the Iraqis.

Over the last few decades, the United States Israel, and Saudi Arabia have used geopolitical capabilities against Iran to weaken its economy and halt Iran’s growth as a regional power, nor can these countries accept Iran as a regional power that is going to have to be a part of the solution to the cancerous issues in the Middle East.

The hawkish policies coming out of Riyadh over the past few years, especially from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) have irritated many members in the GCC from the kidnapping of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, to the Khashoggi case, the blockade on Qatar, and the war in Yemen. Looking at these specific issues, it is obvious that Saudi Arabia’s policies in the region have totally backfired, and the Saudi leaders are discrediting themselves for only fueling the chaos in the region.

The last Gulf crisis in 2014 came to an end because the GCC states needed to show unity against the Islamic State, which, at the time had taken over huge sways of territory in their own backyard. The United States of course, wants to see a unified GCC to act as a counter to Iran in the region, but the current Gulf crisis seems to have no end in sight.

Since the ascendance of Mohammad bin Salman, the Saudis have backfired on every front. The Saudis want to counter Iran, but they have divided the GCC by constantly getting involved in areas like Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

In fact, Saudi misadventures in the Middle East have led to an increased Iranian influence in the region and forcing Qatar to move closer to Iran is a good example of this. Riyadh needs to rethink its foreign policy and how it is perceived in the region and the GCC itself has failed to bring different member states together on a unified front. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates already have an economic and military partnership, but Oman, Kuwait, and Qatar could form their own grouping which could perhaps bring in Iran and Turkey too.

A core reason for the success of the GCC has been its provision of the free movement of people and goods between member states, but with the current crisis between the blockading countries of Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain against Qatar there are many who question the future of the organization.

We cannot necessarily say that the GCC is confidently dead, but it is probably more realistic to say that the GCC is ensuring very difficult circumstances in a constantly changing region of different geopolitical calculations. The GCC could return to being a relevant regional organization in the Middle East down the road, but it remains to be irrelevant right now given the current state of the current crisis with Qatar. Very little will change as a result of the Riyadh Summit, but the inspirations of a single currency, a defense force, and railway connections between member states remain to be distant ambitions right now.

Eurasia Review

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Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (50 sites): Eurasia Review: GCC Summit Wraps Up In Riyadh: An Uneasy Gathering – Analysis

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Six Gulf nations met in the Saudi capital of Riyadh to discuss cooperation on a wide range of issues from the economy to security. The summit comes at a significant time because the future of the Gulf Cooperation Council may be at stake for the first time since its founding in 1981. The blockade of Qatar, the War in Yemen, and the diplomatic crisis behind the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi are only the few major issues that have overshadowed the summit in Riyadh, but now, many experts and analysts are wondering if the GCC can survive.

One notable absentee in Saudi Arabia was the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamid bin Hamad Al Thani. This is due to a few reasons. One reason is the ongoing blockade from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain on Qatar for two years.

But because the summit took place in Riyadh and not in a venue like Oman or Kuwait, it was not very likely that Qatar could have sent high ranking officials to the meeting. And secondly, the Qatari leadership was not very comfortable in sending its heads of states to Riyadh because they don’t want to see another fiasco like the kidnapping of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Before the GCC crisis, the land border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia was an incredibly busy traffic lane where people would be moving from one place to the other.

But now, the only land border Qatar has is now blockaded by three GCC states who have met in Riyadh. The GCC has been facing tremendous difficulties since the blockade of Qatar in June 2017, and just recently, Qatar’s withdrawal from OPEC as well. Qatar’s decision was mainly because it wanted to export more gas and move away from an economic model that was too dependent on oil. The blockading countries inside the GCC still believe that the current diplomatic crisis with Qatar will not affect the future of the organization, but this still remains to be seen.

Given the tensions between the different members of the GCC, the organization may not have any relevance left. Many people in the region are now questioning the future of the GCC and this may be the most serious crisis facing the six-nation organization since its establishment in 1981. The member countries are vying for different interests and face different threat perceptions.

In 1981, the GCC was established as a political organization that focused on creating a security umbrella to defend the member countries from Iran and its attempts to export the revolution at the time. But today, members like Qatar are facing existential threats from other members within the same bloc.

In terms of the ongoing crisis, there are three different groups. One group is Qatar and Oman, the other is Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, and we have Kuwait trying to mediate between the two.

The summit in Riyadh this weekend was merely a ceremonial meeting because nobody wanted to pronounce that the GCC was a dead organization but want to keep it alive without having any important role for the time being.

The GCC was designed to counter Iranian influence in the Middle East after the Iranian Revolution in 1979. From the Iranian perspective, the GCC was a product for the United States to become more involved in the region. In fact, during the 1980’s, the United States along with its Arab partners supported Saddam Hussein against Iran during the Iran-Iraq War that killed thousands of Iranians and Iranian children were on the frontlines fighting the Iraqis.

Over the last few decades, the United States Israel, and Saudi Arabia have used geopolitical capabilities against Iran to weaken its economy and halt Iran’s growth as a regional power, nor can these countries accept Iran as a regional power that is going to have to be a part of the solution to the cancerous issues in the Middle East.

The hawkish policies coming out of Riyadh over the past few years, especially from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) have irritated many members in the GCC from the kidnapping of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, to the Khashoggi case, the blockade on Qatar, and the war in Yemen. Looking at these specific issues, it is obvious that Saudi Arabia’s policies in the region have totally backfired, and the Saudi leaders are discrediting themselves for only fueling the chaos in the region.

The last Gulf crisis in 2014 came to an end because the GCC states needed to show unity against the Islamic State, which, at the time had taken over huge sways of territory in their own backyard. The United States of course, wants to see a unified GCC to act as a counter to Iran in the region, but the current Gulf crisis seems to have no end in sight.

Since the ascendance of Mohammad bin Salman, the Saudis have backfired on every front. The Saudis want to counter Iran, but they have divided the GCC by constantly getting involved in areas like Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

In fact, Saudi misadventures in the Middle East have led to an increased Iranian influence in the region and forcing Qatar to move closer to Iran is a good example of this. Riyadh needs to rethink its foreign policy and how it is perceived in the region and the GCC itself has failed to bring different member states together on a unified front. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates already have an economic and military partnership, but Oman, Kuwait, and Qatar could form their own grouping which could perhaps bring in Iran and Turkey too.

A core reason for the success of the GCC has been its provision of the free movement of people and goods between member states, but with the current crisis between the blockading countries of Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain against Qatar there are many who question the future of the organization.

We cannot necessarily say that the GCC is confidently dead, but it is probably more realistic to say that the GCC is ensuring very difficult circumstances in a constantly changing region of different geopolitical calculations. The GCC could return to being a relevant regional organization in the Middle East down the road, but it remains to be irrelevant right now given the current state of the current crisis with Qatar. Very little will change as a result of the Riyadh Summit, but the inspirations of a single currency, a defense force, and railway connections between member states remain to be distant ambitions right now.

Eurasia Review

Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (50 sites)


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