Source: Huffington Post
By James M. Dorsey, Contributor
A Saudi and UAE-led campaign to force Qatar to halt its support for Islamists and militants is little else than a struggle to establish a Saudi-dominated regional order in the Middle East and North Africa that suppresses any challenge to the kingdom’s religiously cloaked form of autocratic monarchy.
The Saudi and UAE effort goes to the heart of key issues with which the international community has been grappling for years: the definition of what and who is a terrorist and what are the limits of sovereignty and the right of states to chart their own course.
It’s a battle that has pockmarked the Middle East and North Africa since World War Two, but kicked into high gear with the 2011 popular Arab revolts. Saudi Arabia and Little Sparta, a term used by some US officials to describe the UAE, waged a concerted campaign to roll back achievements of the uprisings.
The two states’ effort has projected Saudi Arabia and the UAE as leaders in the fight against extremism. Yet, if successful, their campaign could empower a strand of supremacist Sunni Muslim ultra-conservatism that advocates absolutist, non-democratic forms of governance, and threatens to perpetuate environments that potentially enable radicalism.