For the last month the Gulf state of Qatar has been blockaded by its neighbours Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, who along with Egypt have severed all diplomatic ties with the country. These events have opened up a crisis situation in the Gulf region, which is being viewed with trepidation by the major powers on the world stage.

Israeli tanks advancing on the Golan Heights. June 1967

On 5th June 1967 the Israeli Air Force launched a surprise attack on Egyptian air bases in the Sinai province, beginning what came to be known as the Six-Day War and ending with Israel occupying the West Bank, Gaza, the whole Sinai Peninsula and shortly afterwards also the Golan Heights. To this day the Palestinians have had to live with the consequences.

Five years ago, without any organisation, programme, plan or preparation the Arab masses, in the words of Marx, stormed heaven.  They brought down in a matter of weeks, what had seemingly not moved an inch in decades of petitioning by NGO’s and academic do-gooders. The colossal state-apparatus, employing hundreds of thousands of spies, police officers and army personnel, could only watch as the masses took over the streets.

A grotesque humanitarian disaster looms large as the conflagration and mayhem ravages the Middle East. The number of people fleeing the civil war just in Syria has now surpassed four million, according to the UN refugee agency. "This is the biggest refugee population from a single conflict in a generation. It is a population that needs the support of the world but is instead living in dire conditions and sinking deeper into poverty," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres.

Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis are fleeing their homes in search of safer areas, but as the country runs out of food and basic goods, death stalks the country. This war which has killed and wounded thousands is also bringing out the contradictions in the Middle East as Saudi Arabia finds itself increasingly isolated.

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