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Trolling Saudi minister threatens war with Qatar

The blockade has led to surging support for Qatar's emir within the country itself [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 September, 2017

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Blog: Saud al-Qahtani has adopted the Donald Trump model, tweeting thinly veiled threats of war.
Violent abuse is nothing new on Twitter. Just ask any female politician. But while most online trolls hide in the anonymity of their mothers' basements, a few are proud to show their face and have their name associated with the sort of childish petulance normally the realm of the schoolyard bully.

One such social media desk warrior is Saud al-Qahtani. In his day job, he is a minister of the Saudi Arabian royal court. By night, he tweets threats of war against Qatar. Actually, sometimes he tweets them during the day as well - and, seeing as his official role in Riyadh is the supervisor-general of the media and public relations council, his trolling appears not so much a hobby, but a full-time professional pursuit. 

"The Hamad regime is bound to fall at the hands of the Qatari people," he tweeted on Thursday. 

"There will be grave consequences in the near future for the regime’s imposed change in demographic favouring foreigners and forcing the migration of ethnic Arabs."

The hint of "grave consequences" is being taken as a suggestion that Saudi Arabia will launch a "military intervention" - presumably either a bombing campaign, an invasion, or a palace coup.
Translation: The fate of the [Hamad regime] is in
the hands of the Qatari people, but changing the
demographics to benefit the [non-Arabs] and the
displacement of Arabs will have serious consequences
in the future


The Saudi-led bloc attempting to isolate Qatar for the past few months has long been working on machinations for "a bloodless coup" in Qatar, to replace Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad with someone more pliable and likely to conform to Saudi regional hegemony.

This is not some fringe conspiracy - a conference was held in a lavish hotel ballroom in London earlier on Thursday, explicitly calling for "regime change" in Qatar. It was even supported by senior British politicians including Iain Duncan Smith MP and Lord Paddy Ashdown.
The Saudi minister continued his tweetstorm, turning to directly address Joaan bin Hamad, brother of Sheikh Tamim, tweeting: "Tell your father, the Gaddafi of the Gulf, and your brother - the scarecrow - that any use of foreign troops against the people of Qatar will be considered a war crime that we will hold you accountable for. You've been warned." 

Al-Qahtani's threats follow the rhythm of Saudi Arabia's regional foreign policy.

The kingdom put together a coalition and got involved in Yemen's civil war - a conflict that has since been raging for two years with no end in sight.

Saudi involvement contributed to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen which left 10 million Yemenis without secure access to food and 13 million without clean water, according to Oxfam
Translation: (top) They say your appetite is unusually bad.
Tell the Gaddafi of the Gulf that
Saad al-Faqih played you as usual
(main) Tell your father, the Gaddafi of the Gulf
and your brother... that [the presence of] bullying
foreign forcews in Qatar goes against the people of Qatar.
It a war crime you will be punished for. I was told to warn you


Al-Qahtani justifies his call for military intervention in Qatar with the suggestion that the Qatari government is granting citizenship to foreigners loyal to the regime. This allegation is plainly false. It is a distortion of a recent law that grants permanent residency to some expats. The law also clearly states that citizenship will remain off limits.
Saudi Arabian law, meanwhile, does allow foreigners who have lived in the kingdom for ten years to apply for naturalisation. 

The minister's Centre for Media and Affairs Studies is a government-linked PR organisation known for its involvement in hiring numerous US-based lobbying firms to deal with the fallout from recent revelations about Saudi citizens' involvement in the 9/11 attacks. It is also believed to be a front for government surveillance of citizens' online social media activity.

The Saudi threat of war has been loudly reverberating over the past few weeks.

Promises to "teach Qatar a lesson", the frequent allusion to "consequences" to be paid - and even the release of a hilariously bad "diss track" - are all part of an illogical vendetta against one of its neighbours.

The campaign has been spectacularly backfiring, with "exiled opposition figures" plucked from relative obscurity and shoved into the spotlight, while the would-be siege has left Qataris embracing a strengthened sense of nationalism, and surging support for Sheikh Tamim.

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