Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Gulf States

Power: Not a Point of View. Power is the level and quality of education, an education targeting the needs of the population and neighboring markets.

Posted on March 10, 2009

Iran is planning to build 20 atomic power sites to generate electricity.  Russia has aided finish the first power station for a cost exceeding one $ billion dollars.

Iran is not only the fourth exporter of oil but has also huge reserves in oil and gas. And yet, Iran spends enormous amount of hard cash money to import oil products and gasoline from overseas refineries.

The Iranians are building a second atomic power generator, almost alone and strong with the expertise they acquired.  The Iranian officials said that oil is a precious commodity that should not be wasted to generate dirty power

The developed nations have oil reserves but prefer to purchase oil at a reduced price in order to save their oil resources for their chemical and pharmaceutical industries for later generations. (Actually, chemical industries, the most dirty for earth and the climate, rely almost exclusively on oil products.)

The Emirate Gulf States have established “sovereign funds” for the next generations, but they all have vanished during the latest economic and financial recession.  What is left are highways and built stones.

I am exaggerating on purpose.

This piece is meant to be a wake-up call. It is time to invest on the human potentials, social institutions, and political reforms.

Lebanon used to export electricity to Syria and Jordan in the 30’s during the French mandate. Presently, and 80 years later, and 65 years after its “independence”, Lebanon import electricity from Syria, Jordan, and Egypt.

The populations of all these States have quadrupled in 80 years while Lebanon barely doubled, due to massive immigration, and we could not even double our power production. 

Our neighboring States have reached sort of power sufficiency and exporting surplus electricity to Lebanon. Lebanon has plenty of water and rivers but we failed to invest properly on our natural resources and hydraulic potentials. 

Not only we have not enough electricity, and none of it is hydraulically generated, but we have no running water.  We receive water twice a week for a few hours and we have to filtrate and purify what we receive.

The Lebanese family has to pay twice for electrical power and for water by supplementing their needs from the scalpers of private providers.

The main culprits are those “Christian” Maronite political parties who claimed that the power of Lebanon resides in its military weakness.  Implicitly, those sectarian political parties meant that Lebanon should not challenge the dicta of Israel regarding our planning of our water resources.

Mind you that Israel purpose is to divert all our rivers toward its own Zionist State.

Electricity is a kind of power and oil and gas are essentials for locomotion and mechanization and industries.  Nevertheless, nations are judged developed according to the level of their research institutions. 

You might start the “egg or chicken” priority of security and stability first, but this is not the case.  When States invest on almost everything except knowledge base and research institutions, then you should not hope for stability and security. 

Developed nations respect States that focus their energies and resources on knowledge, literacy, and technologies and are willing to protect them from neighboring bullies.

Developed nations respect States that generate highly educated and well trained citizens regardless of size, origin, and natural resources.

Power is the level and quality of education, an education targeting the needs of the population and neighboring markets.

Power is no longer a point of view.

America is no longer a force for stability in the Gulf

The blacklisting of Qatar is a sign of President Trump’s new world disorder

AMERICA’S president got on so well last month with King Salman of Saudi Arabia that he has embraced the monarch’s foreign-policy goals.

Sunni Saudi Arabia detests Shia Iran, its chief regional rival. So does Donald Trump. (Why that? What does Trump knows of Iran?)

He also appears to share the Saudi view that the most egregious bankroller of terrorism in the Middle East is the tiny sheikhdom of Qatar.  (Qatar is a late comer, after 2011. Saudi Kingdom since 1980)

He applauded when, on June 5th, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, as well as land, sea and air links. The Gulf states gave Qatari citizens 14 days to leave.

Ludicrously, the UAE declared that anyone publishing expressions of support for Qatar can be jailed for up to 15 years. Mr Trump tweeted: “Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!”

Though tiny (in population), Qatar matters. It is the world’s largest producer of liquefied natural gas and an airline hub. It is also host to Al Jazeera, the nearest the Middle East has to an uncensored broadcaster (so long as it does not criticise the Qatari monarchy).  (That was before Syria upheaval)

It has good ties with Iran, with which it exploits a vast gasfield. It is supportive, too, of the (Sunni) Muslim Brotherhood, the most popular face of political Islam. (Brotherhoods in Egypt, Turkey and Syria)

All this makes Saudi Arabia hate it. The Saudi regime has tried in the past to bend Qatar to its will, but failed. Qatar hosts a large American airbase, which until now has made it feel safe. But with Mr Trump in the White House, nobody is now so sure.

No concrete reasons have been given for the blacklisting of Qatar.

There is lots of chatter that wealthy Qataris fund terrorism. (Kuwait, Saudi Kingdom and Gulf Emirates allowed its citizens to collect and fund Syria, Iraqi and Libya terrorist factions)

This accusation, which is also levelled at rich Saudis, is unproven, though the Financial Times reports that Qatar paid $1bn to Iran and an al-Qaeda affiliate for the release of Qatari royals who were taken hostage while on a falcon-hunting trip to Iraq. A billion-dollar ransom would buy a lot of explosives.

The spat has split the Gulf Co-operation Council, hitherto a force for stability in an unstable region.

It may drive Qatar, as well as Kuwait and Oman, the other two members of the GCC, who pointedly declined to support the Saudi move, further into the arms of Iran. Tempers may eventually cool, but some observers worry that the price of Saudi Arabia backing down will be the muzzling of those pesky Al Jazeera journalists.

Mr Trump’s support for Saudi actions also damages America’s credibility. It suggests that, under him, the superpower can abandon its allies after a brief chat with their enemies.

“During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar—look!” tweeted Mr Trump on June 6th.

The sober foreign-policy types who cling on in his administration are scrambling to downplay such undiplomatic words and calm tempers. Perhaps recognising his error, Mr Trump offered his services as a mediator the following day.

Now anything goes

Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s autocratic president, has also decided that Mr Trump is an American leader who will let him persecute his enemies without hindrance. On May 23rd, two days after the two men met and praised each other in Riyadh, Mr Sisi had a potential opponent arrested for allegedly making an indecent hand gesture at a rally five months earlier.

On May 25th the government blocked access to the websites of Mada Masr, Egypt’s leading liberal newspaper, and those of 20 other media outlets, including Al Jazeera and Huffpost Arabic.

In Bahrain the authorities killed five people and arrested 286 more in a raid on the home of a Shia cleric; shortly after that, they dissolved the main secular opposition party. America would once have objected to all this. No longer—and that is a recipe for a less stable Middle East.

This article appeared in the Leaders section of the print edition under the headline “Donald does Doha”
Note: Gulf Emirates have been tacitly attacking Qatar since 2014 in US and Arabic news media. The US airbase in Qatar was moved from Saudi Kingdom after strenuous events in the 90’s.

adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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