Sept. 15 — the failed plot

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WERE we too concerned over the calls to protests on Sep 15? I would say no for those who knew their country and countrymen better. Previous calls — and there were many— ended up with nothing, so why the worry now?

The heated discussion in Twitter, in my opinion, is more about the foreign hands behind the movement — mainly Qatar and its Islamists allies, their electronic army, and the fifth column among us. They were responding — in kind — to the Arab boycott and calls for leadership change in Qatar. Only this was not their first attempt. Since the so-called “Arab Spring,” they teamed up with the Obama Administration, Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood to destabilize traditional US allies. The US inspired Academy of Change, in Doha, trained young Saudis, Kuwaitis, Bahraini, Emiratis and Egyptians (but no Qataris!) on the same strategies used to revolutionize Serbia and Ukraine. Leaked videos showed trainers demonstrating how to outmaneuver police forces. Hundreds were also trained on using social media to organize protests and criticize governments.

The strategies succeeded in setting stable Arab nations, like Egypt, Bahrain and Tunisia, on fire. If it wasn’t for Saudi-led Arab campaigns, Bahrain and Yemen would have been overtaken by Iran and the rest of the Arab world ruled by Muslim Brotherhood governments, supported by America, Turkey and Qatar. Peaceful dialogue with Qatar achieved little. They were building up a modern-day caliphate. A few hiccups on the way won’t stop their express train, or so they thought. Even today, after their disastrous revolutions failed to get them on the top of the Arab world, they never lost hope or ceased trying.

Here comes a new US Administration with a time-tested American strategy. Its priorities are to eradicate terrorism, by standing up to terror sponsors in Tehran and Doha. President Trump has returned America to its traditional Arab allies, led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt. No more covert support for Iran, Qatar and their Islamist militias, and zero tolerance for funding terrorist organizations such as Daesh, Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra and Hezbollah. Also gone were the Democratic Administration schemes to destabilize and remake the Middle Eastern government structure.

Qatar and company found themselves out in the cold. For the first time since they started their unholy alliances, they became defensive. Their calls for change in other countries are matched now by similar ones in Iran and Qatar. Their use of Haj to lift the boycott has boomeranged on them.

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Ali Al-Thani, the legitimate heir of the throne, has come to the rescue. He resolved the Haj issue and took care of his people during their stay in the Kingdom. Other leaders and personalities found their voices and organized an opposition movement. Their first conference in London was a success. They pointed to Qatar’s support of terror groups and financing of destabilizing forces in Arab world, and beyond — Chad and Somalia for example.

To fight back, Qatar intensified its old ways of doing business. The only difference is about light. What they used to do in the dark came now under the spotlight of the international scrutiny. The American umbrella is lifted and their acts are exposed and criticized by the American, European, Russian and Arab governments.

So Saudis were discussing these issues in the media during the days leading to Sept. 15. Knowing who was behind these campaigns made them more patriotic. The occasion became some sort of a “national day” to celebrate our love and devotion to our great nation and unbreakable allegiance to our leadership.

If Iran-Qatar axis was betting on sowing division among Saudis, they got solidarity against their intervention. And if their aim was to transfer the battle from their field to ours, they had the ball back in their court. The next could be a taste of their own medicine. The world has had enough of them, and their people deserve better... much better!

— Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi is a Saudi writer based in Jeddah. He can be reached at kbatarfi@gmail.com. Follow him at Twitter:@kbatarfi


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