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Iran Commentary Criticizes US` `Hypocritical` Support of Qatari Power Transfer
Javan Online
June 30, 2013

US Secretary of State John Kerry, center, walks through the airport with Ambassador Ibrahim Fakhroo, Qatari Chief of Protocol, left, after being greeted on arrival in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday, June 22, 2013. (photo credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin)


Commentary by Abbas Haji-Najjari entitled: “Elections in the North, and a Selection for the South.”

In recent weeks, the North and South of the Persian Gulf witnessed two important political developments, each of which contains historical lessons. In the south of the Persian Gulf and in the country of Qatar, we witnessed the transfer of power and a quiet coup d`etat by a son against his father, during which sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani handed power over to his son sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani. A brief look at the short history of this country shows that there have been eight cases of transfer of power in this emirate, all of which have been through coup d`etats and by force, and there is no sign of democracy and the people playing a role in the management of this small country through elections.

There have been numerous speculations concerning the reason for this transfer. But the point that cannot be denied is that Qatar has now turned into the main channel for the implementation of the United States` regional policy, and the Americans are advancing their own regional agenda and pursuing issues such as Syria, the Taliban, and (as published), by relying on the oil revenues of this regime and the political position they have created for Qatar through their own influence and rule. If we do not want to rely on the report by Al-Safir newspaper, which had written that the United States communicated Washington`s absolute decision concerning the necessity of the withdrawal of the emir of Qatar to him and had asked him to be replaced by an individual favored by the United States, the undertaking of these changes at a time when John Kerry is in this country under the pretext of the so-called Friends of Syria meeting, makes the US connection with these changes clearer. Furthermore, Simon Henderson, a researcher at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy has said in this respect: “Qatar is not the decision maker concerning its foreign policy and the implementation of US policies in the Middle East and North Africa constitute a considerable section of this country`s policies. Instead of involving itself directly in the regional crisis, the United States prefers to enter Qatar into these crises by proxy.”

However, the point that raises the significance of this issue, is not the changes in Qatar, because almost all transfers of power in the Persian Gulf emirates take place in the same manner under the Americans` supervision and it seems that the so-called champions of human rights in the United States and the West do not believe the people of these countries to have any right in the management of their country and the transfer of power, and they must remain silent in the face of US rule over these countries and these substitutions of power. The important point here is the type of reaction showed by the West and the United States in particular, concerning the issue of elections in Iran and it is in an adaptive comparison with these countries that the reason behind the Americans` sensitivity regarding “human rights” in Iran and their media and propaganda controversies over the election in Iran, becomes clear.

Less than a month ago, when the Guardian Council announced its views on the candidates eligible for the 11th presidential election, the same Mr John Kerry, who was in the occupied lands at the time, hastily took part in interviews with the media and questioning the mechanism of elections in Iran said: “I cannot imagine that there is anybody in the world who has not been amazed by the actions and the vetting process of the Guardian Council members; a group that has not been chosen by the people and who is not accountable to them, but has disqualified hundreds of candidates on the basis of ambiguous criteria.”

During the 10th presidential election, there was not the least doubt that the United States has applied all its capacity to transform the post-election scene into the scene for the overthrow of the system by supporting the seditionists. In an interview with the BBC on 26 October 2011 (4 Aban 1390), Mrs Clinton, the US secretary of state at the time, emphasized this point and said: “The US government did everything it could from abroad in support of the protesters.”

There is no doubt that the main reason for this hypocritical behavior on the part of the West toward the elections in the North and South of the Persian Gulf must be sought in the honor and independence of Islamic Iran and undisputed US rule over these emirates. In a meeting with the country`s judiciary officials on Wednesday 26 June (5 Tir), the Supreme Leader correctly explained this meaning and pointed out that “a nation that is not obedient to the orders of the imperialist front, is subject to their fury.” He explained the various strategies adopted by the West to influence the process of Iran`s election and referred to the complicated and multifaceted planning over the past year, and stated: “The enemies and foes of the Islamic Republic tried to prevent the election from taking place or for it to meet with the people`s indifference and apathy. They even had plans for after the election to enable them to pursue their evil intentions using different pretexts. But with God`s grace, the people showed their skills and grandeur on the day of voting and what happened was 180 degrees contrary to the enemies` wishes.” He believes the key to this presence and the people`s faith to lie in the fact that the Islamic Republic is standing defiantly and firmly, like a lion, against the greedy, defending the country, and its national honor and interests.

(Description of Source: Tehran Javan Online in Persian -- Website of hardline conservative daily affiliated with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC); URL:

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.

Jordan: Roundup of Reaction to Qatari Emir`s Handover of Power to Son
Sunday, June 30, 2013

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Qatar`s prime minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, after a ministerial meeting on Syria, in Doha, Qatar. Photograph: Str/EPA

On 26 June, several Jordanian writers were observed to comment on the stepping down of Sheikh Hamad bin-Khalifah al-Thani as the emir of Qatar and handing power over to his son Sheikh Tamim bin-Hamad al-Thani. Some writers said the decision had already been made as Tamim had been a partner in his father`s decisions. A number of reasons were given to explain the Qatari emir`s decision, such as his health condition, US pressures, and a desire to pass on the rule to a new generation

. In a 456-word article in Amman Al-Dustur in Arabic, a major Jordanian daily of wide circulation partially owned by government titled “Why Did Emir Step Down?” Mahir Abu-Tayr says that the Qatari emir has stepped down “suddenly and at a sensitive time.”

He says: “The emir`s departure from his position raises many questions. Some considered that the step was due to health reasons and the emir`s desire to rest, away from the activities of leading the country, politics, and their harsh pressures.” Abu-Tayr also says that “some others considered his stepping down an expression of desire to voluntarily distance himself in the context of proving his desire to make change in the Arab world, and that he is implementing the principle he adopted toward others, on himself too, but in a peaceful and selective way.”

The writer says that some others also believe that the emir`s stepping down “came in fulfillment of Washington`s desire that imposed the change for its own considerations in Qatar. On this level, and whoever adopts this opinion, believes that the capitals of the Gulf countries have complained about Qatar`s extended role and the influence of this role on stability in the Gulf and Arab world, which led to the demise of Arab regimes. This is in addition to the great financial and political support that Doha gave to political Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood group, and also to relations with extremist Islamist groups. Those who believe this insist that Qatar`s role will be reproduced in a new way in the upcoming period, and this change in the role requires a change in leadership.”

Abu-Tayr continues: “All the scenarios that are being discussed are not convincing, and are closer to being estimations rather than information, because a health circumstance does not prevent the emir from continuing to rule. We have evidence of Arab rulers who suffer from health problems but do not renounce power and do not leave their chairs under the pressure of their health circumstances. This makes this scenario far-fetched.”

According to Abu-Tayr, “the second scenario that is related to the emir`s desire to present a different model of Arab rulers who fall with uprisings, by voluntarily stepping down, is also not convincing because the emir is not confronting chaos in his country.”

The third scenario, Abu-Tayr says, “which indicates Washington`s interference because of complaints from Arab capitals about Qatar`s role expansion and Doha`s alliance with Islamists is also not convincing, because the Qatari role did not derail the American will, and because Doha`s responsiveness to the US desires was possible without having the emir step down even if Washington wanted Doha to change its policies, renounce its alliances, return to square one, and announce the divorce from the Arab Spring, which would have been possible by keeping the same emir.”

Continuing, the writer says that changes to Qatar`s politics “are not likely to happen soon because the new emir was part of and partner to the decision. The new emir will not be able to oppose his father`s policies in a short period of time and in his father`s presence for political and family considerations.”

Abu-Tayr describes the decision to step down as “mysterious” and that nobody has managed to disclose the “secrets and motives” behind it. He also says that “the composition of the new governance indicates a complex over the presence of the emir, deputy emir, and crown prince, and in the shadows, the father emir is still present with his influence. Meanwhile, the influence of his right arm, Prime Minister Hamad Bin-Jasim is very strong inside Qatar and in the international decision-making centers!”

He concludes by saying that “we have to wait for the missing answers to these questions instead of making guesses,” adding that “Doha did not give a convincing explanation for this stepping down.” In another 604-word article in Amman Al-Dustur titled “About Change in Qatar`s Leadership,” Yasir al-Za`atirah says that the transfer of power “has been taking place gradually for the past three years almost

.” He adds that “a series of files were being transferred consecutively to the heir apparent as he started to undertake a significant part of the state`s tasks thus confirming that the decision to transfer power had already been made.”

According to Al-Za`atirah, the issue is not health-related “because the father seems to be in good health and does not prevent him from exercising authority since he has not yet passed 61 years of age.” Elaborating, the writer says “it is related to personal beliefs, whether he is convinced of the need to pump new blood into the authority or a desire to stay away from the tiresome political worlds.” He continues: “Whatever it is, the position is very noteworthy. In such hereditary emirates, people are not used to such political behavior because rulers are usually very old and continue ruling until they die. Renewing blood in power is good to a great extent. It sends a message to others that they can take the same path, even though this would probably not happen.”

Regarding political reforms, Al-Za`atirah says: “If Qatar, under the new emir, undertakes other political reforms, such as electing a parliament, which the father had promised, it will be presenting another model that responds to the Arab Spring and does not consider it to be dangerous as he himself had said in his inaugural speech at the last Arab Summit in Doha.”

The writer says: “The question that is raised is related to the country`s foreign policy under the new situation, and whether it will take a less adventurous path than before, or will the situation continue the same way?”

The writer concludes: “In any case, we can only welcome such a step, and at the same time, we hope that it coincides with political reform and elected parliaments that represent the people and achieves political partnership in harmony with the ongoing developments around the world, including the Arab world after its Spring that is being subjected to a major conspiracy run by internal and external sides, many of which everybody knows.” In a third 647-word article in Amman Al-Dustur titled “Smooth Transition, Irony of History,” Urayb al-Rintawi

says “The most circulated story coming from the Western media and experts did not publish the story of the smooth transition of power from father to son and attributed the change to US pressures conveyed by a CIA official who asked the ruler of Qatar to hand over authority to his fourth son from one of his three wives with an expression that indicates threats!”

The writer wonders why the US would do so by asking: “How did the ailing emir, as reports say, provoke the US, when he was very skillful in setting his policies to the beats of US strategies and interests?” He further asks: “Where does the US want Qatar to go after its emir goes into comfortable retirement? Does it want a more vital and vicious Qatari role to fight the Syrian regime after it decided to arm the opposition? Did the emir fail to play this role so that it demanded his replacement by the heir apparent? Was it not enough that Qatar spent over $ 3.5 billion in its project to topple the Syrian regime at any cost? How much does Washington want Qatar to spend in the absurd and bloody Syria war?”

Al-Rantawi adds: “There are those who see the picture from another perspective and propose an explanation that is different from the US position, as if they are saying that Washington wants Geneva 2 to see the light, and that it is now talking about restoring the balance in Syria and not turning the balance over the head of Dr Bashar al-Asad, and that it is now convinced of the need to maintain the army and the apparatuses to prevent Syria`s collapse and transformation into a safe haven for all the factions, movements, and groups that hate it and are hostile to it such as Hizballah, and even Ayman al-Zawahiri. Such a leap in the US position requires, as this reading suggests, the departure of Hamad and the arrival of Tamim.”

According to Al-Rantawi, there will not be a change in Qatar`s policy “because the heir apparent was a partner in making all the major political and strategic decisions that his father and right arm (Hamad Bin-Jasim) have made.”

The writer says that according to some “Washington is tired of the leaders of some Gulf countries and decided to make Qatar a laboratory to experiment the transfer of power from fathers to sons.”

However, he adds that there are several factors that made change in Qatar “possible” such as the emir`s “difficult” health condition as he has been living for a long time with one trans-planted kidney.

The writer concludes by saying that one has to wait and see how Qatar fares with the “exploding” crises in the region, and “how Doha`s alliances and positions will develop. If things remain as they are then we will not be concerned and just consider it to be a family affair. If positions, policies, and alliances change, then we will have something to build on.” In a fourth 521-word article in Amman Al-Dustur titled “June of Egypt, But First Qatar,” Umar Kallab says:

“Underestimating the step taken by the Qatari amir as if it were an international arrangement linked to regional issues rather than a smart step that disregards the truth in order to prove that the small emirate was punished for daring to enter the major files as a main player without taking into consideration the geopolitical balances.”

He adds: “Change or withdrawal from the authority and the scene came as an objective response to the continuation of a regime and dynasty. Most of the political battles that the small emirate entered made it attract many enemies, contrary to the other Gulf countries that are used to distancing themselves and sufficing with economic and humanitarian assistance to poor or developing countries whereby they established good political relations with regimes and popular forces with limited intervention in the political forces due to their overall neutral political view. This is contrary to Qatar which entered into partnerships with political forces and especially the political Islam parties and opposition sides of regimes.”

He also says that the Arab Spring had exposed Qatar`s “excessive” role in the files of the Arab Spring countries. He says: “Its intervention reached the point of direct military intervention in Libya, supporting militants in Syria, in addition to financial and logistic, and particularly media support in the rest of the countries that experienced popular protest movements.”

Kallab says that Qatar was accused by many countries of “messing with its affairs.” He goes on to say that “the supporters of the liberal, leftist, and secular trend now look at Qatar as being hostile to this trend and that it publicly sided with the political Islam forces such as Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia.” He also notes that since these countries now “hate” Qatar, he fears that this “hatred” will be directed against the Qatari people.

The writer says that amid this changing attitude toward Qatar, the emir made a “smart step” by stepping down, adding that Qatar “struck three birds with one stone.” According to him, “Qatar is present in the political scene, it is capable of backing down from any costly step, and the response to the demands of the new generation has been fulfilled for the young emir. The transfer of power will excite many of the young generation in many countries and grant credibility to the Qatari reform rhetoric.”

Kallab concludes: “June is ending with flaming heat for many of the Arab countries, specifically Egypt that is waiting for the end of June that will be open to all possibilities. If President Mohammad Mursi contemplates the Qatari emir`s step he would spare himself and his country a lot of trouble.”

In a 540-word article in Amman Al-Arab al-Yawm in Arabic, an independent newspaper that focuses on domestic affairs titled “New Emir, New Logic,” Nabil Ghishan says that “renouncing power is an unprecedented idea because it is not a part of the culture of the Arabs.” He says: “None of the leaders or sheikhs has ever renounced power,” describing the step as “new, bold, interesting, and unprecedented.”

Ghishan asks: “Was it a result of foreign pressure, a pressing health condition, or personal conviction that the world has changed and that handing power over when alive is better than handing it after death?”

He also asks: “What makes the emir of Qatar at 61 years of age step down? How can a ruler who took control of the reins of power by overthrowing his father voluntarily hand over power to his son?”

He says that the reaction of the rulers and people of Arab countries was a “happy” one when they learned about the new leadership “that will reduce a lot of the tension over the years in relations with the Arab region.”

Ghishan says: “What is important today is that Qatar has a new young emir who has good administrative experience and relies on the experience of his father who will be behind him and a new team far away from Hamad Bin-Jasim, prime minister and foreign minister where much has been said about his role. This is in addition to Al-Jazirah channel and the massive national income estimated this year at $ 189 billion.”

The writer concludes by saying that “change is the feature and logic of the phase, and the Arab political theater started years ago with new and young players,” adding that “Emir Hamad must stay in the background of the picture and he will continue to play an important role, but he has to head to Arab charity work which is a broad field in which he can accomplish a lot. The new emir has a new opportunity to continue the success and accomplishments if he works in a modern national spirit far from sensitivities and in search of success.” In a 312-word article in Amman Al-Sabil, political daily affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood`s political wing the Islamic Action Front titled “Qatar Between Handing Over, Bequeathal,” Umar al-Ayasirah says

“Sheikh Hamad`s stepping down to hand over power to his son is an unprecedented Arab step worth examining though we maintain our position that what happened is not considered a rotation of authority or a democratic position.”

Al-Ayasirah says: “Sheikh Hamad expanded Qatar to an extent exceeding its geographic and demographic size, and this man brought together in a state all the contradictions that raise problematic questions.”

He goes on to say that “Camp Al-Sayliyah, the US military base, is seen in Qatar, and next to it is the Al-Jazirah channel, which opposes America, sides with the Arab people, and supports the Arab Spring with all its strength.”

The writer asks if Qatar`s policies will change after this “smooth transition” and “in which direction will it go and to what extent.”

He also asks: “What will Tamim do after today? It is a legitimate question because to the Arabs, it is the individual who rules and not the institution. Consequently, we will wait for some differences to arise.”

Al-Ayasirah says that he was “comfortable” with Qatar`s performance in the past few years “despite all the attempts to cast doubts that are still wrapped up in mystery.”

He asks if Qatar will continue the same path it follows with its “economic prosperity, joining the club of major players in the region, and influencing all the files, or does Tamim have a different opinion?”

He concludes: “There are indications that Qatar will continue and not move backward because the young man who has taken over power did not inherit the responsibility, he took over to continue the journey.” In a 282-word article in Amman Al-Sabil in Arabic -- Political daily affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood`s political wing the Islamic Action Front; strongly opposed to government domestic and foreign policies, pro-HAMAS, anti-US -- titled “Qatar Surprises Us,” Abdallah al-Majali says

“as usual Qatar surprised us when the strong emir who built modern Qatar handed over power to his son at his peak, just as a professional tennis player resigns at his peak.”

He says that Qatar has also surprised the world with Al-Jazirah channel and it “endured a lot for its huge success.” Besides Al-Jazirah, the writer says that Qatar “hosted one of the largest US military bases.”

The writer notes that “surprises, adventure, and contradiction were a distinguishing mark in the small rich emirate`s policy. On the one hand it opens an Israeli trade office and on the other hand it hosts HAMAS leaders.”

However, he says that Qatar`s biggest surprise was the emir`s “stepping down voluntarily and handing power over to the heir apparent while he sits in the back row.”

Moreover, the writer says that some have been saying that this step is related to his health while others have been talking about US “pressures.”

He concludes by saying that “this matter is related to the man`s nature who loves surprises, adventures, contradictions, and passion to precede everybody even if that cost him stepping down.”

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.


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