Re: Qatar paying price for pioneering freedoms in region of tyrants (Opinion, June17)
The Opinion piece (June 17) is right to headline the Middle East as a ‘region of tyrants’. To put it further into perspective, this notoriously democracy-averse corner of planet earth is populated by despots who run their countries as their own personal property. Moreover, businesses and presumably civilised nations are well aware of this in the rush to do deals with these oil-soaked economies.
The Qatar imbroglio, however, forms part of a wider and more salient issue: the struggle between Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia for regional hegemony. Notwithstanding that the Qatari absolutists have been inclined to cut the Iranian autocracy some slack, it is of subordinate moment in the grander scheme of things.
Throw some sexy (and expensive) weapons platforms into the mix, and we have a truly combustible brew. Perhaps the detonator might be the current US administration; as the piece elaborates, “It is nonetheless interesting that ... Trump has closely aligned himself with the Saudis”, an odious, ordnance-loving regime that fetishises public beheadings for non-lethal crimes, and provided the majority of the terrorists who created 9/11.
The politics of the region in question are infamously labyrinthine, and sometimes it’s difficult to make sense of the dynamics. That said, one should treat the manufactured outrage of the Saudis with due caution. Negatively-charged words like hypocrisy often invite opprobrium, but are nevertheless relevant in this instance as the opinion piece correctly states.