The state of the Arab world today, particularly as regards the confrontation between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, could be summed up as two countries that are little more than petrol stations waving flags and preparing to go to war. Or at least that’s the approximate meaning of the Saudi king’s (or maybe his son’s, the new crown prince’s) ultimatum to Qatar, which gave the Gulf state just ten days to respond to thirteen demands. Virtually all are simply unconscionable unless, that is, Qatar wishes to run down its flag and end its existence as an independent sovereign state. So, could things get any worse? In this special edition of Sputnik, we devote the entire episode to the Gulf region and talk to pre-eminent journalist, writer, and broadcaster Abdel Bari Atwan about the state of the Arab states.