Saudi Arabia cuts ties with Qatar

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by Yacoob Cassim

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have cut off ties with Qatar on 5 June.The response of Qatar to the demands designed to show it feels it is been unfairly singled out,suggests a breakthrough is not imminent.

On 22 June 2017 they issued a 13 point list of demands to end the standoff and gave Qatar 10 days to comply.That deadline was extended on Sunday by 48 hours. So Qatar now has to deal with whether it should comply, when they don’t want to. The unfair demands have included financial support for militants, withdrawing backing for the Muslim Brotherhood, closure of the Broadcaster al-Jazeera and cutting diplomatic ties with Iran.

The Foreign Ministers of the countries concerned are meeting in Cairo to assess if Qatar has made concessions. However the Qatari foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani had earlier said that the Saudi sponsored list of demands was “made to be rejected.” Meanwhile on Monday British lawyers for Qatar denounced the demands as “an affront to International Law.”

So it looks like Qatar is highly unlikely to do what Saudi Arabia and its associates want. After all to demand the foreclosure of an International News Agency and to sever ties with a close neighbour like Iran are unprecedented. Of course the Saudi Monarchy and its allies are threatening further sanctions if Qatar doesn’t comply. Al-Jazeera has spoken up in defence of its news broadcasts as they argue that the Gulf Nations demands have more to do with combating freedom of speech rather than militancy.

Doha, Qatar’s Capital has enjoyed unprecedented wealth as a city. It has certainly aroused the jealousy of its compatriots. So maybe this is another motive for sanctions leveraged against it. Sheikh Mohammad has said that the demands presented to his country “are reminiscent of the extreme and punitive conduct of “bully” states that have historically resulted in war.” Doha is likely to engage in a protracted debate with its neighbours over the demands.

The UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al- Nahyan, said on Tuesday it was premature to discuss what further action might be taken against Qatar. They may impose further sanctions on the country to weaken its economy and infra-structure.However the list of demands they presented to Qatar is unlikely to be fulfilled. US President DonaldTrump spoke separately on Sunday with the Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince and the Qatari Emir. Washington is aware of the threat the dispute poses to its agenda in the region.

Trump had underscored that unity in the region is critical but also reiterated the importance of stopping militant financing and discrediting militant ideology.

France is already deeply involved in the negotiations with Kuwait and Turkey. Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin HamadAl-Thani is expected to visit Paris before the end of the Summer for talks on the Gulf Crisis with French President Emanuel Macron, the French Presidency said on Monday.


Qatar’s response to demands to be given to Kuwait today
International-Gulf Times-02 Jul 2017

Gulf states prepare to ramp up economic sanctions against Qatar


The Guardian · 18 hours ago

Qatar objects to being singled out in Gulf diplomatic crisis | Net News…/qatar-objects-to-being-singled-out-in-gulf-diplomatic-cr…

10 hours ago – Qatar objects to being singled out in Gulf diplomatic crisis. Emirate says it will not accept demands unless rivals agree to same treatment, and …