Olivier Da Lage is the Editor-in-Chief of the radio station RFI. Considered one of the best experts in the Gulf region where he lived for three years (more precisely in Bahrain), he is the author of several books on the subject such as "Qatar, the new masters of the game", (collective work), Demopolis, 2013, "Thirty years that shook the Persian Gulf, Éditions du Cygne, 2011" and "Geopolitics of Saudi Arabia”, 2nd edition, Complexe, Brussels, 2006. He is also a specialist in India and has just published "India, Desire for Power", Armand Colin, 2017. He agreed to answer questions for L’Observatoire du Qatar.
You said last Monday evening at the conference on the crisis in the Gulf held in the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS), Paris, that the withdrawal of the United States from the Iran nuclear deal was responding to a "plot". Could you clarify your own position on that?
Even a successful plot, I would say, which had been implemented by the coalition formed by Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Saudi Arabia had discovered very late the existence of secret negotiations between Iran and the Obama administration extending over many months in the Sultanate of Oman, without Riyadh having been informed.
Here is a new example of the media war that the countries of the blockade against Qatar are carrying out. Taking advantage of the nagging accusations that Doha would support terrorism, a Saudi media outlet has relayed a hoax claiming that the Swiss government has launched "an investigation into Qatar's support for terrorist organizations".
On Tuesday January 9, "Infographic_ksa" tweeted a scoop that seems to be of major importance in terms of counterterrorism by the European countries. Informing its 320,000 followers, the media reported that the "Swiss government has begun an investigation into Qatar's support for terrorist organizations." The tweet goes on to say that this investigation is being conducted "in several capitals around the world, targeting suspicious personalities and companies".
The issue of terrorist financing has been at the heart of the Gulf crisis since late June 5th. In the eye of the storm, Qatar has been criticized in recent years for its benevolent policy towards radical Sunni groups, including Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda. What exactly are these accusations based on? To clarify things, Qatar Observatory offers this analysis, initially published on the orientxxi website, by providing precise answers to this crucial issue in international relations.
Since the series of attacks that hit several Western countries from January 2015, many analysts and politicians have felt obliged to attribute the proliferation of jihadist-inspired terrorism to Qatar. Although regularly placed on the list of suspects, Saudi Arabia has taken over this story to justify the ground and air embargo and the multiple sanctions against his little neighbor.
Interview with Akram Belkaid, Algerian journalist and writer
1 / Last October you published a detailed analysis on "below the Qatar-bashing" by mentioning that it was a "campaign orchestrated by the United Arab Emirates and Israel." Since then, relations between Qatar and its neighbors (notably Saudi Arabia) have notoriously improved. Do you think that this campaign is still relevant and that the Emirates are still behind?
One must give credit where credit is due. Indeed, it is primarily the American press, including The New York Times, which highlighted the hidden mechanisms of "Qatar-bashing."