So serious has the Saudi-Qatar crisis now become that the Qatari Foreign Minister is reportedly planning an emergency trip to Washington in the next few days in the hope that the Trump regime can save his emirate. For Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani knows very well that if Qatar submits to the 13 unprecedented – some might say outrageous – demands that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt have made, it will cease to exist as a nation state.
Al Jazeera television editors, supported by a phalanx of human rights and press freedom groups, have denounced the 10-day warning that the Qatar satellite chain must close – along with Middle East Eye and other affiliates – as a monstrous intrusion into freedom of speech. One television executive compared it to a German demand that Britain closes the BBC. Not so. It is much more like an EU demand that Theresa May close the BBC. And we know what she would say to that.