When Rex Tillerson, US former Secretary of State, is said to have ‘stopped in the heels’ the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and United Arab Emirates (UAE) attempt to invade Qatar in 2017 something which has been reiterated recently by Qatar defence minister Khalid Al Attiya, but for the eventuality, Qatar too had ‘pulled-up-its-socks’, as in order to fortify its defence, and had already invited Turkey to make its military base in Doha.
Turkish soldiers were stationed in Doha since 2015 and had been performing their duties in 47 degrees temperature. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had called it a ‘symbol of brotherhood’.
Qatari news channel Al Jazeera on November 27, 2019, reported that Erdogan had addressed his 5000 Turkish soldiers, ‘“It [Turkey-Qatar Combined Joint Force Command] serves stability and peace of not only Qatar but also the Gulf region”, after meeting troops at the newly finished base.
The command centre was named after Khalid bin Walid – one of the Islamic world’s greatest generals who commanded armies of the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century. He was so adept in battle, the Prophet Muhammad gave him the name the “Unsheathed Sword of Allah”’.
Interestingly, Qatar also has the largest US military base in Al Udeid which has more than 10,000 soldiers.
It is this Turkish military base which is in the eye of the storm, as UAE minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash, in GulfNews on October 11, 2020, called the Turkish military base in Doha as meant to destabilise the region and something which contributes to ‘negative-polarisation’.
‘In a tweet, the minister said – the Turkish military presence in the Arab Gulf is an emergency, and it contributes to negative polarisation in the region,” adding “It is the decision of ruling elites in the two countries that reinforces the policy of polarisation and axes and does not take into account the sovereignty of states and the interests of the Gulf and its peoples, so our region does not need regional garrisons and reproduce colonial relations dating back to a previous era.”’
This reference of ‘colonial’ is where the catch lies as it obliquely points to the bygone Turkish (Ottoman) empire which considers Qatar as it vicegerent as it was from inside Turkish-Palestine that Israel was carved-out along with other 22 Arab states, after the first World-War, and which now, Turkey after a century, is trying to reclaim.
The latest events are just adding to the already boiling situation as even while Armenia-Azerbaijan war raged, which ended in a ceasefire, and to an advantage to Tayyip Erdogan, he visited Doha on October 7, 2020, which has led to Arab-states ‘see-red’ as the UAE and Bahrain are now in consonance with Israel as both have announced full-diplomatic ties.
The US is busy in its November 2020 elections, but whosoever between Donald Trump or Joseph Biden wins, the policy of US great support to Israel will always remain the same. The much-touted Israel ‘annexation-plan’ of West Bank in Palestine will remain unchanged whether Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu or its defence minister Benny Gantz are at the helm.
US unwavering support to it will remain the same, whether there would be a change of guard in the US or not. Turkey also has announced the capital of Israel as ‘Jerusalem is ours’, triggering what might be considered as the next focal point of a civilisational war.
It is a city, Erdogan said, “that we left in tears during World War I and where vestiges of the Ottoman resistance can still be found. The physical appearance of the Old City, which is the heart of Jerusalem, was constructed by Suleiman the Great, along with the walls, the bazaars and many other buildings. Our forefathers displayed great respect toward it for hundreds of years.”
Turkey is however engaged into propelling Qatar to further heights as it is learnt from TRTWorld on October 10, 2020, that Turkey has entered into 12 billion USD contract with Qatar in warship building sector and has launched its first training warship to Qatar which is ‘ 90-metres-long and has 1,950 tons of full-load capacity.
Erdogan had earlier stated – No one except for those making plans of chaos should be disturbed by Turkey and the Turkish military presence in the Gulf.
No wonder, Turkey is now ‘trying its hand’ in defence production as its drones came much handy to Azerbaijan, according to MiddleEastMonitor on October 6, 2020. India has also signed a contract with Turkey of a 2.3 billion USD shipyard deal despite Ankara aggressively inclined towards Kashmir to the angst of India.
The US and Israel’s masterstroke was that they made the Arab states believe that Iran was an existential threat to them despite Arab states sponsoring an eight-year Iraq war against Iran.
But now Arab-states, in order to equalise with Turkey, are likely to form an Israeli-Arab NATO, as now the perceived threat from Turkey seem to have overshadowed Iran and the US is more than likely to sponsor it, like it is slated to do in the South China Sea, by the formation of India, Japan, US and Australia (QUAD) once after elections are done with.
Israel is now successfully driving into the head of Arab states that when Turkey can intend to claim Jerusalem back, obviously it would also stake claim over the Arab-states too. Qatar was not invaded then, who knows what unfolds anew after November 2020.
Penned By Haider Abbas. The writer is a former State Information Commissioner, India. He is a media analyst and writes on international politics.