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memri
September 16, 2009 No.
2507

Iraqi Columnist Wonders About Qatar–Iran Military Cooperation

In a series of recent meetings in Iran between Qatari Chief of Staff Gen. Hamad bin 'Ali Al-'Atiyya and senior officials in the Iranian regime, the two sides discussed the tightening of military cooperation between Qatar and Iran, and the establishment of a joint Qatari-Iranian committee on military affairs. [1] During a meeting with Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commander Mohammad Jafari, Al-'Atiyya drew an explicit connection between Qatar's and Iran's security by saying that "any threat to Iran is also a threat to us." [2]

These developments provoked a response from Iraqi columnist Daoud Al-Basri. In an article posted on the liberal website www.elaph.com, he pointed out that the military cooperation between the two countries seemed extremely peculiar considering the differences in their declared positions and outward policies, and wondered what this development presaged.

The following are excerpts from the article. [3]

The Gulf Countries Are "Sitting on the Rim of a Volcano"

"It seems that the bizarre [developments] in the diplomacy of the Gulf region will become one of the wonders of the 21st century. The waters of the Gulf and the [countries along] its burning shores are currently facing one of the most terrible scenarios of regional explosion [involving] Iran and the entire West... The Gulf countries today are like [a person] sitting on the rim of a volcano...

"In the event of a regional explosion, the Gulf countries will undoubtedly become embroiled in the struggle, which will be brutal... because the Iranian regime repeatedly declares that any military attack against it, by any party and of any kind, will ultimately lead to a regional catastrophe. This means that the [Iranian] response [to an attack] will probably include the Gulf countries.

"The secret Iranian cells and the sectarian and religious organizations - both dormant and active - will not miss any opportunity to act. In fact, they will be one of [Iran's] most important weapons in the war, if it breaks out. The Iranian regime... was partially successful in penetrating key positions and countries even before [the Iranians] lost control of the domestic situation [in their country] in a way that threatens the [Iranian regime]...

"In the midst of this regional chaos... Gen. Hamad bin 'Ali Al-'Atiyya, the Chief of Staff of Qatar, which has a small and modest army, came to Iran for a work meeting which, according to the Iranian Defense Minister, may lead to the formation of a joint Qatari-Iranian committee."

"What is the Common Denominator of Iran's And Qatar's Military Doctrines?"

"The first question that springs to mind... is this: What is the common denominator of Iran's and Qatar's military doctrines? Are the two parties similar in their power, or in their military or political approach? In the event of... an Israeli, American or NATO attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, which will surely make use of the [U.S.] military bases [in Qatar], Al-'Udeid and Al-Saliyah... will all the military installations on the Qatari coast, and perhaps also in other parts of the Gulf, including in Iraq, be exposed to Iranian attack? Will the joint Qatari-Iranian committee be able to prevent these possibilities from being realized? Especially considering that the war drums are now beating very loudly, because all sides are pushing for this war - on the one hand the West and Israel, and on the other hand Ahmadinejad's Iran, with its slogans and superstitious religious beliefs.

"The West is interested in eliminating the Iranian nuclear threat once and for all, while Iran, based on the religious beliefs of its leaders, is trying to accelerate the arrival of the long-awaited Hidden Imam [i.e. the Shi'ite messiah] who will decide the battle once and for all... [4] "

"What Sort of Military Interests Can the Iranians and Qataris [Possibly] Have in Common?"

"Where does Qatar stand on all of these issues? sort of military interests can the Iranians and Qataris [possibly] have in common - when the Americans are doing as they please in their Central Command Headquarters, which are located in Qatar itself? Can the Qataris guarantee that Iran will not respond to a U.S. attack and will not target the American bases in Qatar? Does Qatar's military command have some strategic approach whose nature and basis we have failed to understand?

"Will the [Iranian] Revolutionary Guards Corps, with its famous inflatable boats, sit quietly and refrain from targeting the military facilities of the countries in the region? I would have liked to know the [exact] nature of the military cooperation between Qatar and Iran, [and how they plan to work together] despite the differences in their positions, inclinations and policies, not to mention the startling gap between them in terms of power, demography, and strategic abilities.

"This military cooperation between Qatar and Iran must indeed be one of the eight wonders of the world! If not, can someone please explain what is going on? The earthquake must surely be imminent."

Endnotes:

[1] ILNA (Iran), July 7, 2009; Al-Raya (Qatar), July 8, 2009.

[2] Sobh-e Sadeq (Iran), July 13, 2009.

[3] www.elaph.com, July 8, 2009.

[4] According to the messianic Shi'ite stream led by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Twelfth Imam (also called the Hidden Imam) is expected to appear any day, redeeming the world and proclaiming the Shi'a as the true faith. See MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 357, "The Doctrine of Mahdism: In the Ideological and Political Philosophy of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Mesbah-e Yazdi," May 31, 2007,

The Doctrine of Mahdism: In the Ideological and Political Philosophy of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Mesbah-e Yazdi.