Bullish geopolitical alert: Qatar sidelined by Saudi & Co.

June 4, 2017
by Christopher Kanaan


So we have a case of breaking news. Qatar, the world’s largest supplier of natural gas and one of the most oil rich nations in the world has just been accused of supporting Islamic State, Iran, Al Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood by their beloved neighbours.  The land border between Saudi Arabia and Qatar has been shut and apparently diplomatic relations have seized. United Arab Emirates, Egypt & Bahrain also have apparently taken action against “terrorist” Qatar.


This may be to due to with the fact Qatar took issue with Saudi Prince Mohammad Bin Salman’s plan for a gang-up on Iran which Qatar evidently saw as promoting sectarian tension, or instability in the region with their powerful Iranian neighbour. President Donald Trump encouraged Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni Islamic nations to “gang up” and sideline Iran during his state visit, the first to the Middle East.  Qatar is an easy target. For quite some time, they’ve been accused of providing exile to powerful Muslim Brotherhood figures. They are also home to Hamas, a terrorist group that the United States vehemently opposes.  It’s hard to imagine Qatar being able to muster much sympathy from the United States or other Sunni Arab countries considering the accusations and clout on part of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and potentially other typical allies.


Marginalising Qatar may be a convenient play by Saudi Arabia and friends to raise the oil prices.  Qatar is a harmless nation that can’t really do much to the powerful Sunni bloc which surrounds them.  As a Sunni state, it’s hard to imagine Qatar falling into Iran’s axis though the two nations do share a passion for radical “democratic” political Islamic groups such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.  While Saudi Arabia does support the most extremist form of Islam– known as Wahabism, their official state doctrine, the Saudis do not tolerate the least amount of political dissent or politics at all. Qatar has been eyed as a threat since they used their state media, Al Jazeera, to rally up the masses during the Arab Spring, which also saw Saudi Arabia fall into sectarian strife though the human rights atrocities against the Shia minority were largely ignored.


It is too early to say exactly where things are headed, or if this is the beginning of something much larger- but from an investors viewpoint, this news must be taken as strongly bullish. Qatar is the world’s largest supplier of natural gas and puts out over 2.3 million barrels of crude per day.  Taking Qatar offline, even 50%, would be considered “deeper” OPEC cuts without any consensus.  While at this point, there isn’t evidence to support the Saudi’s and Co. will attempt an all-out blockade of their tiny defenceless neighbour, it certainly is a possibly and even the slightest impediment of energy shipments from Qatar could send crude prices flying.  Any type of blockade would likely require some type of endorsement of the US, since the United States has an extremely large military base in Qatar.  Saudi Arabia is desperate to raise the oil prices, I believe it’s not a coincidence as to why they’ve chosen to escalate their rift with Qatar now.

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Chris Kanaan

Located in Estevan, the heartbeat of Saskatchewan's energy & gas sector, my blog will provide insight about the local regional scene and politics effecting the energy sector in the province and all of Canada with a niche for Canadian energy securities. It will also discuss international politics effecting the oil industry and geopolitical issues which are also a long-time personal interest of mine. I hope you enjoy my blog, insight and please do provide insight of your own by e-mail or responding in the comments section under each submission. Thanks for visiting.

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