Not satisfied with failed U.S. efforts at regime change in Iraq and Afghanistan which they promoted, U.S. neocons continue to push for the overthrow of governments in the region which they find objectionable or inconvenient. Everyone knows about joint Israeli and U.S. efforts to promote domestic terror, assassinations and military assault against Iran. Less well-known, is the Bush administration encouragement of a failed 2007 Fatah putsch against Hamas, which resulted in mass violence in both Gaza and the West Bank, including murders and torture. But lately, with the dumping of the e-mail correspondence of UAE’s flamboyant ambassador to the U.S., Yousef al-Otaiba, we get a clearer picture of just how aggressive these efforts have become.
Reporting in Middle East Eye, Victoria Alabaster offers this exchange between the ambassador and ex-felon, Elliot Abrams:
In a May 2017 email thread with former US diplomat Elliott Abrams, Otaiba wrote that conquering Qatar would “solve everyone’s problems. Literally. And King Abdullah of Saudi came pretty close to doing something in Qatar a few months before he passed” in January 2015.
Abrams, clearly surprised, replied: “I didn’t know that. Dramatic!”
“How hard could it be?” he asked, pointing out that the local Qatari population numbers around 250,000 to 300,000 people.
“Foreigners won’t interfere,” he added. “Promise the Indians a raise, promise the police a raise and who is going to fight to the death?” he wrote, presumably referring to Qatar’s high migrant population of South Asian workers.
Otaiba replied: “That was the conclusion. It would be an easy lift.”
“Obama would have hated it,” Abrams replied, “but the new guy …” he added, appearing to imply that current US President Donald Trump would support such a military takeover of Saudi Arabia’s Gulf neighbour.
“Exactly,” Otaiba replied.
Otaiba was originally responding to a suggestion from Abrams that Jordan should conquer Qatar.
“The Hashemites need to conquer Qatar,” Abrams wrote, as “that solves their cash problem and the problem of Qatari support for extremism.”
Abrams is the guilty party who conspired to mount that Palestinian coup I mentioned in the above paragraph. Its failure led to a decade-long split between Hamas and Fatah, which remains unhealed. In the e mails, Abrams chortles at the prospect of Saudi Arabia mounting a military coup against the Qatari regime. He suggests as an alternative that Jordan could do the job.
I’ve approached the Council on Foreign Relations, where Abrams is a Fellow, for comment. I will update if they respond. It would seem to me that one of their official Fellows advocating military assaults on sovereign nations, a violation of international law, might trouble them.
The interesting aspect of this suggestion is that the Israeli far-right regularly notes that not only is there no such thing as Palestine, but that Palestine is Jordan. In essence, they’re advocating ethnic cleansing of West Bank Palestinians and their absorption into Jordan proper. Given the recent unpleasantness between Israel and Jordan, in which an embassy Shin Bet agent murdered two Jordanians in cold blood, this option doesn’t seem particularly viable.