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Confrontation between Russia and Qatar amid Syrian conflict

11.02.2013 11:38

Alexei Tsygankov

"Syria currently remains one of the most intense places on the planet. Now major world powers' interests are intertwined there. However, opinions on current events in the international community divided. Some of them support Bashar al-Assad, and others ? Syrian opposition supporters.

One of the points of contact between the opposing sides were the relations between Russia and Qatar. Differences between Moscow and Doha emerged as far back as February 2012, when the states were not able to concur about the conflict in Syria. High hard words between Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, and the representative of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim got into the mass media.

Reports say that the Russian diplomat's discontent was caused by rather a cynical statement by the sheikh that if Russia does not change its position on Syria and Bashar al-Assad, it will lose its influence in the Arab world. This dispute arose after the announcement by the Iranian military leadership on Qatar's involvement in organizing unrest in Syria.

Upon that one and half hour demonstration took place in Doha in front of the Russian embassy, during which they deployed openly anti-Russian and anti-Putin slogans. In addition, the demonstrators did not hide that they were Qataris, not Syrians. The action participants arrived by expensive cars, enjoyed the protection of the police and even a special forces bus (apparently fearing that Russian diplomats consisting of 5 persons may repulse), unfurled banners, and then gently rolled up them for later use. A day later, the same people placed anti-Russian pickets near Doha's biggest shopping center Villagio grandstanding before the cameras of al-Jazeera journalists.

Interestingly, would al-Jazeera keep silent, if the Russian citizens held a demonstration under the slogan "Down with the Qatari intervention in Syria's internal affairs" in front of the Embassy of Qatar in Moscow, or would it present it as a hostile action against the emirate? So far the demonstration in Doha is upon conscience of the Qatari authorities who completely control the country and its capital, where unauthorized demonstrations are absolutely impossible.

Along with "ordinary citizens" demonstrations, the Islamic preachers' impact was also used. Thus, the host of the popular Sharia and Life TV program on Al Jazeera, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi attacked Russia's policy with fierce criticism. One of the gurus of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, author of more than 120 "scientific works", Sheikh spent most of his life in exile in Qatar. He returned to Egypt after the revolution. Sheikh is one of the luminaries of the modern Sunni theology; some even call it the Sunni Khomeini.

In a speech on Qatar TV Sheikh said: "Iran incites Russia to send weapons to Syria... And therefore, our enemies are Russians and Iranians."

Thereby the leadership of the Emirate and al-Jazeera channel try to discredit Russia's policy on the Syrian issue, paving the way for foreign intervention in the internal affairs of the SAR, to which Doha has repeatedly called.

Reporting on the outrage of the Syrian authorities and saying nothing about murders of civilians, marauding and persecution of Christians by the opposition fighters, Qatar through the agency of Al-Jazeera TV channel creates a false picture of events in Syria.

But the entire Arab world understands whose position Qatar and its mass media reflect. Near the capital city of Qatar, Doha there is the U.S. Al Udeid Air Base where more than 7.5 thousand U.S. militaries serve. Given that the size of the Arab absolute monarchy armed forces is not much more than 12 thousand servicemen, any independent policy is out of the question. Therefore, Qatar's voice in the Arab world is deservedly seen as the 's.

However, if Qatar and its Western allies manage to implement their plans - the world will get a full-scale civil war, the aggravation of the Kurdish issue, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Shia-Sunni conflict, and many other problems that will affect the entire region from Turkey to Iraq. Syria, such as we know it, will cease to exist. The country's territorial integrity would be threaten too.