Clive Thompson’s blog, collision detection, has an interesting note about something I missed in The New York Times recently, about the debate being waged through reviews of Kenneth Pollack’s The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq.
Pollack is a former CIA operative and now works at the Council on Foreign Relations. Whether you agree with Polllack’s assesment or not (he favors an invasion), his book is worthwhile and deserves to be part of the debate.
State Dept. says Qatari coup rumors “disinformation” from the Saudis. But the big question is why?
The recent report of the attempted Qatari coup plot that allegedly went down Oct. 12, and reported by Stratfor and ArabicNews.com, may not be what it appears. The story hasn’t broken here in the United States (or in most Western media it seems) leading Stratfor to deduce that Washington has done a fair job of tamping this story down.
But sources in the State Department say the whole thing is made up, a bit of disinformation on the part of the Saudis who are angry over the milder form of Wahabbism practiced in Qatar, Al Jazeera, which is based in there and, especially, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifah al-Thani’s relatively close ties with the United States. (It should also be noted that al-Thani deposed his father in 1996 in a bloodless coup and Riyadh helped the deposed monarch stage an unsuccessful counter-coup soon after.)
I don’t believe the State Department. How are Saudi interests served by spreading rumors of an attempted coup? I’ve been trying to puzzle out what purpose disinformation might serve, and damned if I can make sense of it. So that leads me to the simplest explanation. That there was a coup attempt, U.S. soldiers may or may not have helped put it down and the United States is telling fibs to keep up appearances that it’s got the Gulf situation under control. I don’t believe Saudi Arabia was behind the coup, since the people arrested seem to be militant Islamists and Riyadh wouldn’t do something that might strengthen the hands of its own militants.
Something is fishy is Doha, but what it is we might never know.