Qatar row: Five countries cut links with Doha.

Discussion in 'Military News and Clips' started by Rover, Jun 5, 2017.

  1. Rover

    Rover Moderator

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    Turkey Marches Ahead With Its Military Plans in Qatar

    Though Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies have cut ties with Qatar, touching off a diplomatic crisis in the Middle East, one friend has refused to abandon the small country on the Persian Gulf. Turkey's steadfast support of Qatar has stood out since the dispute began June 5. Not only has Ankara provided diplomatic and trade assistance to Doha, but it also has moved to expedite the deployment of Turkish forces to Qatar, a decision that will fortify the common ground forming between the two countries.

    Building Stronger Security Ties

    Though Turkey's parliament agreed to the deployment last week, the decision to base Turkish forces in Qatar dates back to a 2014 agreement between the two states. Turkey has already sent a limited number of troops to Qatar; according to several reports, between 100 and 150 troops have been stationed at a Qatari military base since October 2016. But these forces are only the vanguard of what is intended to become a more meaningful and permanent deployment. The Turkish military dispatched a three-person delegation on June 12 to coordinate the arrival of additional forces. The latest available information, however, indicates there are practical issues relating to the facility intended to host the Turkish troops that need to be resolved before they can arrive.

    Before the Turkish parliament and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan officially ratified the decision to send troops to Qatar, both countries had already agreed on the command structure of the Turkish base there. From that agreement, it would appear that Turkey is not simply looking for a base to run its own operations from, but is rather seeking a joint structure that will intertwine its activities with those of the Qatari military. While the Turkish forces will have their own facility, it will be under the command of a joint headquarters based in Doha, with a Qatari general at the helm supported by a Turkish general as his second in command.

    Initially, Turkey planned to send about 600 troops to Qatar. While this number likely remains true for the next phase of Turkey's deployment, the vote in parliament and several statements by Turkish officials have generated talk of a much larger deployment that may follow, eventually totaling about 3,000 troops. Turkey is also considering sending fighter aircraft and warships to Qatar. Such a deployment would give Turkey a significant presence in Qatar, though it may not necessarily sound like one compared with the 11,000 U.S. forces currently stationed there.

    Turkish forces would primarily be in Qatar to assist and train Qatari forces, though they would also use the base to launch their own military operations. In theory, the Turkish military could also defend the Qatari government against internal or external threats. A deployment of 3,000 Turkish troops, along with fighter aircraft and warships, could prove a considerable boost to Qatar's active military, which numbers about 11,800.

    Depending on how the political crisis between Qatar and other Gulf states develops, Turkey could choose to deploy more troops than the 600 it plans to initially send as a sign of support for Qatar, or even to guarantee the security of the Qatari government if new risks emerge. While Turkey's deployment remains a work in progress and will build incrementally, it cannot be ruled out that the deployment may eventually reach a level that elevates it beyond its current position as a symbol of military cooperation and political unity.

    Shared Goals in the Middle East

    Strategically, the Turkish and Qatari governments have seen some of their interests align in recent years. Both have identified opportunities to extend their influence within the Middle East by supporting Islamist groups. This aid increased substantially after the Arab Spring, when long-suppressed political Islamists found footholds in crumbling political systems. Doha and Ankara justify their support for the Muslim Brotherhood and other such groups by claiming they are supporting democratic values and self-determination in the region. While Turkey and Qatar have some ideological alignment with Sunni Islamist groups, their backing is more about cultivating influence with popular movements that have millions of followers and adherents across the region.

    Doha's efforts over the years to build stronger security and trade ties with Turkey were similarly designed as a means to broaden Qatar's influence beyond what its small size should allow, and to provide it with an extra layer of support for its security outside the Saudi and U.S. umbrellas. Doha has watched Riyadh's efforts to circumvent its independence over the years, and resentment over being treated like a vassal state of the Saudi kingdom has helped prompt the Qatari government to diversify its alliances, even by developing ties with a Saudi rival like Turkey.

    Critically, Qatar's liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector — one of the largest in the world — allows Doha to maintain an independent economy. Because of its wealth, Qatar is not forced to fall in line with Saudi Arabia's policies to keep economic aid flowing, as is Bahrain. The health and independence of Qatar's LNG sector depends on the nation maintaining a balanced relationship with Iran, too, which bothers Saudi Arabia. And it is a relationship Qatar will not be willing to give up.

    Turkey's presence in Qatar gives Ankara another means of challenging Saudi efforts to dominate the Middle East and lead the Sunni world. Saudi Arabia has a positive relationship with Turkey, but Riyadh sees Turkey's military presence in Qatar as an irritant and a challenge to its authority.

    Meanwhile, despite its rift with Saudi Arabia and its growing security relationship with Turkey, Qatar's military cooperation with the United States remains robust. In no way does Turkey's military presence in Qatar give Doha the option to switch from its U.S. security guarantor to a Turkish backer. After all, the U.S.-Qatar military partnership goes back many years, and it doesn't rub Riyadh the wrong way. So even as it receives more support from Turkish forces, Doha is highly unlikely to discard the security and diplomatic strength that the U.S. presence in the country provides.

    Popcorn shortage, price increases!:(
     
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  2. GreyWing

    GreyWing Nobody

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    Add to that the US shooting down a Syrian Plane yesterday, and then Iran firing ballistic missiles into Syria to hit Saudi-backed terrorists in Syria in response to the attack in Tehran and things are starting to get very heated.

    Pro-Assad forces - if not Syrian Army - are getting very close to Coalition forces in Syria and forcing them out. Well, I say forcing them out, their only alternative is to fight back. Then we are at war with the Syrian's.

    The time to choose is coming very close, the coalition can't hide from the public our involvement any longer when we are at open war with the Syrian's. Something which if you look at public opinion almost nobody see's any sense in and won't support.

    Popcorn time indeed.
     
  3. Rover

    Rover Moderator

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    Another aspect of this situation that could also affect the situation between the Palestinians and Israel.


    Qatar Gulf row threatens cash crisis for Gaza

    By Yolande KnellBBC News, Gaza

    In a playground in Sheikh Hamad City, children shriek with delight, while their parents chat in the cool shade of their peach-coloured flats.

    _96552684_hi039961866.jpg


    This huge housing project - now one of the most desirable addresses in Gaza - was built since 2012 with money from Qatar and named after the former ruler of the wealthy Gulf state.

    So far, more than 2,000 Palestinians - mostly low-income families - have moved in.

    The complex has a new school, shops, an impressive mosque and plenty of greenery. There is a constant whirr of construction noise as more buildings are erected.

    But as the regional crisis over Qatar escalates, Palestinians here - as elsewhere in the impoverished territory - fear the loss of their major donor and ally.

    "We're going to be the victims," says one resident, Baha Shalaby. "Everything's going to stop - the money, the support, the infrastructure, the building work."

    Economic lifeline

    In recent years, Qatar has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on new homes, a hospital and main roads in the Gaza Strip. It has pledged about $1bn (£780m) more.

    It is not yet clear how its projects will be affected by the ongoing row with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab countries. They are trying to economically isolate Qatar, accusing it of fostering terrorism - a charge the emirate strongly denies.

    However, the engineer in charge of fixing Gaza's main north-south road warns of the possible wider implications of any cuts.

    "We have hundreds of workers, all supporting families," says Hanafi Sadallah.

    "Levels of unemployment in Gaza are very high, so if the Qataris end our funding, they'll all just be left sitting at home."

    Just over 40% of Gazans are out of work, according to Palestinian officials - one of the highest unemployment rates in the world.

    One of Saudi Arabia's demands has been for Qatar to stop backing Hamas, which runs Gaza.

    The Islamist group took over by force a decade ago - ousting Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces, a year after Hamas won legislative elections.

    Hamas leaders insist that Qatari help to Gaza has been primarily charitable.

    "The houses that were built are not for Hamas, the streets that were asphalted are not for Hamas," one senior figure, Mahmoud Zahar, tells the BBC.

    "The humanitarian institutions - hospitals and schools, they're also for the Palestinian people. All attempts to hitch Hamas to Qatar are wrong and void."

    Israel says Hamas has also used foreign funding to bolster its military infrastructure, which its blockade aims to keep from strengthening.

    To try to prevent any such accusations against its projects, Doha set up its own coordination office in Gaza and deals directly with contractors or works with UN agencies.

    Easing pressure

    Nevertheless, Qatar's initiatives have buoyed Hamas through difficult times - the tight border restrictions imposed by both Israel and Egypt, and three bloody conflicts with Israel.

    There has also been political and diplomatic support from Doha.

    The emir of Qatar is the only head of state to have visited the Palestinian territory since Hamas has been in charge.

    Many leaders of the group - including its former head, Khaled Meshaal, have been living in luxurious exile in Doha.

    Now as Hamas seeks to ease pressure on its patron, several have reportedly left at Qatar's request.

    Last month, the group also announced a new policy document in Doha, which tempered its long-held position against accepting an interim Palestinian state, and made no mention of its parent organisation, the Muslim Brotherhood.

    The Brotherhood has been categorised as a terrorist group by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

    'We are Qatar'

    The latest developments concerning Qatar come amid mounting political and economic strain on Hamas.

    US President Donald Trump has said that, alongside the so-called Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and Hezbollah, Hamas is contributing to a regional "humanitarian and security disaster".

    Last week, Israel agreed to a PA plan to cut power supplies to two million people in Gaza that will reduce their daily average of four hours of electricity by 45 minutes.

    Hamas accuses its political rivals of plotting with the Trump administration and Israel to unseat it in Gaza.

    Many of its members link local and wider regional developments.

    "Qatar is being punished for speaking freely and supporting the Arab Spring," remarks Hamas parliamentarian, Yahya Musa, at a small rally in Sheikh Hamad City.

    "It's being punished for supporting us and the resistance. We stand with our brothers to reject US plans against Qatar and the conspiracy against the resistance."

    As he speaks, children wave Palestinian and Qatari flags, alongside signs reading "Solidarity with Qatar" and "We are all Qatar".

    The Palestinians here are banking on a diplomatic solution to the crisis. Without one, they know they could end up paying the price.
     
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  4. GreyWing

    GreyWing Nobody

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    The Serious Fraud Office charge Barclays former execs with Fraud for accepting money from Qatar to bail it out in 2008. The way the transfers were done looks suspicious.

    Don't get me wrong, it looks a bit dodgy. But since when do we start charging people for dodgy deals with Gulf states? There is plenty of suspicious transactions with Saudis over the years.

    The facts are that it has been 10 years since the bail out, all of a sudden within 1 month of this kicking off - there are charges. Looks sort of like the UK Government is throwing its soft power behind one side.

    Unless of course, they follow up with the BAE stuff.
     
  5. Rover

    Rover Moderator

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    Turkey rejects Saudi Arabia and allies' demands to shut down Qatar air base

    Among 13 conditions set by Gulf allies in exchange for ending Qatar's economic blockade

    Turkey has rejected a key demand by several Arab states involved in a major dispute with Qatar, saying Ankara has no plans to shut down its military base in the small Gulf country.

    The demand that Turkey pull out its forces was one of a steep list of ultimatums from Saudi Arabia and others Qatari neighbors that includes shuttering broadcaster Al-Jazeera, curbing back diplomatic relations with Iran and severing all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the 13-point list in Arabic from one of the countries involved in the dispute.

    Qatar has confirmed receiving the list Thursday from Kuwait, which is mediating the dispute, but has not yet commented on them.

    Rather than focus narrowly on alleged Qatari financing for extremism, the 13-point catalogue of demands illustrates the sweeping change in direction that Qatar's neighbours are insisting the tiny, gas-rich nation must undertake to align itself with Saudi Arabia's broader vision for the region. Though Qatar is likely to reject it, the list answers the growing call from the United States and from Qatar for the countries to put their grievances in writing.

    Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain broke ties with Qatar and restricted access to land, sea and air routes earlier this month over allegations it funds terrorism — an accusation Doha rejects but that President Donald Trump has echoed. The move has left Qatar, whose only land border is shared with Saudi Arabia, under a de facto blockade by its neighbours.

    Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik said on Friday that the Turkish base aims to train Qatari soldiers and increase the tiny Persian Gulf nation's security. According to the Milliyet newspaper's online edition, he also said that "no one should be disturbed by" the Turkish presence in Qatar.

    Turkey has sided with Qatar in the dispute and its parliament has ratified legislation allowing the deployment of Turkish troops to the base. The military said a contingent of 23 soldiers reached Doha on Thursday.

    Qatar has insisted its neighbours are trying to force it to bend to their will on a much broader set of issues, and as the crisis has dragged on, the US has started publicly questioning whether ulterior motives are involved.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/w...mic-sanctions-blockade-air-base-a7805346.html
     
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  6. A350-800

    A350-800 Member

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    It's slightly odd The Donald quietly accepted this order considering recent events, yet seems far more hostile to that Iran Boeing order despite that order only being for commercial aircraft and being worth more US jobs. He likes contradictions! How is it the us can be strong allies with military links to both the Saudis and Qataris when they have both mistrusted each other for a while?

    Probably a silly question but I was wondering this how sustainabl/how long can they do it is it to fly/ship in food like this now the Saudi border is closed? All sounds very expensive haha

    I don't think I will ever vaguely understand the politics of this biz are area so it's probably best I don't read to much in to it. History teacher at college told me it basically has a lot to do with using religion as an excuse to protect strange political power grabbing from genuine scrutiny, which I guess is accurate :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2017
  7. Rossi

    Rossi Royal Marines Commando

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    Within the internet is a search and cataloging tool called "Google" which has becoming rather popular over the last 10 or so years world wide. A quick search breaks down some of the issues with why this deal, which was signed off on during the last administration, would have had extensive financial and diplomatic penalties if it was broken by the current US administration. Alot of the tech seems to be US Mothballed hardware which seems to me it may have been a way the US could clear some warehouses. But republican and conservative governments and never do anything right in the eyes of The Independent. There is alot of political partnerships in play.

    Have a look at the US/IRAN nuclear deal in detail as to why Boeing commercial deal with Iran is at risk .
     
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  8. A350-800

    A350-800 Member

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    Thanks :) According to google though the nuclear blockade ended in January 2016 and exports were allowed, which is why Airbus using American components are now being delivered to Tehran. What I don't understand is why trump allows this to happen and also this Qatar deal but not the Boeing one? Most of the explanations online were just really political and fights between democrats and republicans about what Qatar and Iran policy should be, wasn't very clear to be honest hence me asking here
     
  9. Rossi

    Rossi Royal Marines Commando

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    Official sanctions yes, but EU based airbus was able to obtain access before US based Boeing as part of the stepped approach to de-escalation, again details are available via google search. Usually governmental, sales, purchases and procurement, other than sealed budget are available for public record, and many are somewhere in the companies websites that are part of the deal in press release, there are afew organisations stateside that have an online presence that put up the agreement pdfs, I suggest reading into those and the comments attached rather than commercial news outlets as sole source of information.

    Regardless of your political allegiance, I do see Obamas decision to remain in Washington DC, take on staff and maintain relationships with public servants he installed in the systems of government while he was president, and making public comment on Trumps decisions as undermining the presidential office, sure there is more going on behind the scenes there.

    But I'm moving off topic alittle.
     
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  10. A350-800

    A350-800 Member

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    Thanks mate :)
     
  11. Rosie

    Rosie Member

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    Dear All,

    without giving too much away, I reside and work in one of the affect countries, whilst my family is in residence on the other side of the dispute. On June 5th, when the news broke, whilst it appeared to be worse than 2014, I honestly thought that the situation would ease by Eid.

    With Eid Al Fitr falling today, and having seen this list of demands, and Saudi having a new Crown Prince, I think the embargo will be here for sometime.

    Regards,

    Jamie
     
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  12. Rover

    Rover Moderator

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    By demanding the end of Al Jazeera, Saudi Arabia is trying to turn Qatar into a vassal state

    If Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman can rush into a hopeless war with the Houthis of Yemen, why shouldn’t he threaten the body politic of Qatar?

    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.

    But the British Prime Minister and her Foreign Secretary, while obviously anxious to distance themselves from this very dangerous – and highly expensive – Arab dispute, are not going to draw the sword for Qatar. Nor are the Americans, when their crackpot President decided that Qatar was a funder of “terrorism” a few days after agreeing a $350bn arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

    UAE: Diplomacy will be given 'one or two more chances' before they 'part ways' with Qatar

    But surely, say the Qataris, this can’t be serious. They don’t doubt that Field Marshal President al-Sisi of Egypt, who loathes Al Jazeera, is principally behind the demand that it close down, but one of the four Arab states must have deliberately leaked the list to Reuters and the Associated Press. If so, why would Qatar’s enemies wish to reveal their hand so early? Surely such demands would be only the first negotiating position of the four Arab nations.

    It’s hard to see how the Qataris can respond. If they really did close their worldwide television network and other media groups, break off relations with the Muslim Brotherhood – al-Sisi’s target, although his real enemy is Isis – and the Taliban and Hezbollah, downgrade their relations with Iran, close Turkey’s military base and expose their account books for international Arab scrutiny for the next 12 years, then Qatar becomes a vassal state.

    To Qatar’s friends, this seems bizarre, fantastical, almost beyond reality – but who can plumb the brain of the new and highly impulsive 31-year-old Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia? If he can rush into a hopeless war with the Houthis of Yemen, why shouldn’t he threaten the body politic of Qatar? The Saudi royal family have several times tried to humiliate their disobedient neighbour; by isolating this little pearl of wealth with its meddlesome television station, they are forcing Qatar to eat the nearest equivalent of humble pie: food imported from Iran and Turkey.

    Al Jazeera, needless to say, is no shrinking violet. Modesty has never been its chief characteristic. Its Arabic service has shown extraordinary partiality towards the Brotherhood, which the emir of Qatar continued to support after the Egyptian military staged a coup d’etat against the elected Brotherhood president of Egypt. Al-Sisi banged up a group of Al Jazeera journalists whose work for the English service had been used – without their permission – on the intrusive and anti-Sisi Arabic “Live” channel run by Qatar.

    The English service, despite all the brouhaha when it first began transmitting – the American media hailed its arrival as the beginning of media freedom in the Middle East – rarely covered Bahrain or showed any critical courage in reporting Saudi Arabia. It certainly never asked why Qatar was not a democracy. When it began broadcasting Osama bin Laden’s taped sermons, President George W Bush wanted to bomb the satellite channel – which would have been a slightly more extreme step than the 13 demands of the four Arab nations who now wish to isolate Qatar. An American version of Al Jazeera was a total failure; it began to sound and look like just another version of CNN/Fox News – tat journalism that then infected its worldwide English language service.

    So while we should not be too romantic about Al Jazeera, its Arab detractors, fortified by their all too romantic new relationship with Trump, are trying to crush any dignity which Qatar claims for itself. To insist that it pays cash compensation for lives lost due to its foreign policy is like asking Saudi Arabia to fund the rebuilding of Yemen, pay indemnity to its 10,000 civilian dead and care for its tens of thousands of cholera victims.

    In its earlier days, I asked one of Al Jazeera’s senior staffers if the channel, on which I sometimes appeared, was merely a propaganda plaything of the Qatari royal family. No, I was told firmly. It was a “foreign policy project”. And so it clearly is. Tiny Qatar thought it had become an imperial power upon whose satellite channel the sun would never set. But if it one day acquired the power of land – by rebuilding Syria, for example – this might add territory to oil and liquid gas and Al Jazeera; something which the Saudis would never accept. Is this why Qatar’s nationhood is now being threatened?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/saudi-arabia-al-jazeera-qatar-into-a-vassal-state-a7808936.html
     
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  13. GreyWing

    GreyWing Nobody

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    Got to wonder if the Saudi's are capable of taking Qatar, when Qatar will be backed by Turkey, Iraq and Iran. Yemen on their Southern border, who they don't seem to be able to finish off.

    I do wonder if the Saudi's are starting to feel threatened here and panicking because their tricks in Syria are falling apart. I certainly don't think this would be a walk over if they tried anything against Qatar.
     
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  14. Chelonian

    Chelonian Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. If Qatar doesn't rapidly capitulate—and it shows no sign of doing so—this adventure could backfire on Saudi Arabia.
     
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  15. Rover

    Rover Moderator

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    Saudi Arabia's 'Mr. Everything' Is Now Crown Prince, Too

    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been called "Mr. Everything by several foreign governments. He now has a direct path to the throne."/>


    After months of speculation and palace intrigue, Saudi King Salman shook up the kingdom's line of succession on June 21 by naming his powerful son, Mohammed bin Salman, crown prince and removing all titles from Mohammed bin Nayef, the former crown prince. This is the second time Salman has overhauled the line of succession and the Saudi government since taking the throne in January 2015. The move is a controversial one, considering it cuts large and powerful segments of the royal family out of the succession plan. And should the young bin Salman ascend the throne, it could mean Saudi Arabia will be ruled for six decades by father and son.

    Today's announcement has several important implications. But none is as important as the amount of trust being placed in bin Salman, who has already amassed enough power to be dubbed "Mr. Everything" by some Western governments. As bin Salman has concentrated his power, bin Nayef has been increasingly sidelined. Today's reshuffle will only remove him from power even further, ousting him from his position at the head of the Interior Ministry and from all other leadership roles.

    If bin Salman becomes king, he will be the youngest Saudi ruler in modern history, able to potentially preside over decades of policy and reform in the kingdom. The crown prince is known for spearheading the country's economic reform, an agenda he will likely continue to push, and he may well turn his attention to effecting social change as well.

    Perhaps more important, bin Salman has a vested interest in trying to solve Saudi Arabia's long-term economic and social challenges, including its overreliance on the oil sector and growing calls for more social liberties. Unlike Saudi leaders who have come before him attempting reform, he doesn't have the luxury of kicking the can down the road; any procrastination would create problems that are his to fix later on.

    The Price of Reform

    Still, change will come at a price. Any effort to push the boundaries of social reform in the kingdom risks ruffling the feathers of the conservative clerical establishment, which many in the royal family view as the foundation of the House of Saud's legitimacy and support. Many Saudis are firm believers in the conservative social fabric of the country and could resent swift adjustments to social strictures. As a result, any reform must be undertaken carefully while gauging pushback from the public.

    In fact, bin Salman already has had to retract some of his suggestions for remedying Saudi Arabia's economic ills: In April, the king reinstated public sector bonuses, seven months after they were eliminated to improve the budget deficit. Popular resistance also prompted Salman to replace the water and electricity minister in April of last year when Saudis protested higher utility prices on Twitter.

    Just because bin Salman is now closer to the throne doesn't mean he will have an easier time pushing through his reforms. If the reshuffle has upset other members of the House of Saud — particularly third-generation descendants of King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud who have been completely shut out of the line of succession — they will find ways to hamper the crown prince.

    Nevertheless, bin Salman has made a name for himself at home and abroad. Not only has he been instrumental in leading the economic reform called for under the Vision 2030 platform, but he also has made his mark on Saudi Arabia's foreign policy and regional defense strategy in his position as the country's defense minister. He has been particularly instrumental to the kingdom's intervention in Yemen and to its increasingly aggressive stance toward Iran. (Last month he promised to move the fight against Tehran inside Iranian borders.)

    Bin Salman has also worked hard to build a close relationship with the United States. But bin Nayef's unseating removes a known partner to U.S. counterterrorism efforts. Bin Salman has skillfully portrayed himself as someone who is fully aligned with the United States in fighting terrorism, but he lacks the decade of experience that bin Nayef accumulated in his campaign against al Qaeda. Moreover, Saudi Arabia's intervention in Yemen, which was one of the first moves bin Salman made as defense minister, has proved costly and has become less and less popular. Bin Salman still faces the risk of blowback on that front.

    With a long-term vision for reform, bin Salman has quickly risen within the halls of power. In doing so, he joins the ranks of other Gulf Cooperation Council leaders such as his new counterpart, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. But Saudi Arabia's economic and social issues are far more difficult than those facing the United Arab Emirates, where Al Nahyan's role is secure and well established. So although bin Salman is currently next in line for the throne, whether or not he actually becomes king will depend on how well he navigates the challenges of being crown prince — and how well he addresses the kingdom's problems with concrete action.
     
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  16. Rover

    Rover Moderator

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    Qatar condemns Saudi refusal to negotiate over demands


    Qatar's foreign minister has condemned its Gulf neighbours for refusing to negotiate over their demands for restoring air, sea and land links.

    Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani said the stance was "contrary to the principles" of international relations.

    Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt accuse Qatar of aiding terrorism - a charge it denies.

    It has been presented with a list of demands that the Saudi foreign minister on Tuesday called "non-negotiable".

    The restrictions have caused turmoil in Qatar, an oil- and gas-rich nation that is dependent on imports to meet the basic needs of its population of 2.7 million.

    On Friday, the four Arab states handed Qatar a 13-point list of demands to end the crisis that included shutting down the Al Jazeera news network, closing a Turkish military base, cutting ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, and reducing ties with Iran.

    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has sought to resolve the crisis, acknowledged that some elements would "be very difficult for Qatar to meet", but that there were "significant areas which provide a basis for ongoing dialogue".

    But after holding talks with Mr Tillerson in Washington on Tuesday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir was asked by journalists if the demands were non-negotiable. He replied: "Yes."

    "It's very simple. We made our point. We took our steps and it's up to the Qataris to amend their behaviour. Once they do, things will be worked out. But if they don't, they will remain isolated," he said. "If Qatar wants to come back into the [Gulf Co-operation Council] pool, they know what they have to do."

    Mr Jubeir stressed that the decision to sever ties with Qatar was made after taking into account the history of its behaviour, which he alleged included harbouring known terrorists and funding extremist groups throughout the region.

    Qatar's foreign minister, who met Mr Tillerson at the state department later on Tuesday, called the Saudi position "unacceptable".

    "This is contrary to the principles that govern international relations because you can't just present lists of demands and refuse to negotiate," Sheikh Mohammed was quoted as saying in a ministry statement.

    Sheikh Mohammed said the US agreed the demands had to be "reasonable and actionable", and that the allegations against Qatar also needed to be discussed.

    "We agree that the State of Qatar will engage in a constructive dialogue with the parties concerned if they want to reach a solution and overcome this crisis."


    The UAE ambassador to Russia meanwhile told the Guardian newspaper that the Gulf Arab states were considering fresh economic sanctions on Qatar.

    "One possibility would be to impose conditions on our own trading partners and say you want to work with us then you have got to make a commercial choice," Omar Ghobash said.

    "If Qatar was not willing to accept the demands, it is a case of 'Goodbye Qatar' we do not need you in our tent anymore."

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-40428947


    An interesting comment......

    “Mr Jubeir stressed that the decision to sever ties with Qatar was made after taking into account the history of its behaviour, which he alleged included harbouring known terrorists and funding extremist groups throughout the region.”

    Of course that does not apply to any other country in the tent!!-banghead-
     
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  17. Chelonian

    Chelonian Well-Known Member

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    A very early morning BBC Radio World Service feature on middle eastern politics touched upon Al Jazeera and other news networks' links with Qatar. The cessation of Qatar's links to independent news media are fundamental to the demands imposed upon Qatar.

    Apparently, Saudi Arabia in particular regards the news media as being instruments of the state, their sole function being to project the state's will and not to inform and encourage independent political thought.

    One analyst's view was that the Saudi regime no more tolerates independent news media than the UK government would tolerate the existence of private, armed civilian militias.

    An interesting illustration of the fundamental differences that can exist between western values and some middle eastern values.
     
  18. Rover

    Rover Moderator

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    Qatar says it is ready to negotiate with Gulf neighbours in diplomatic crisis over ‘legitimate issues’

    Asian workers stranded in Saudi Arabia after Qatari bosses ordered out in sign diplomatic stand-off is far from over

    Qatar has said it is ready to discuss “legitimate issues” with the Arab states which have demanded the tiny kingdom meet a list of demands before diplomatic ties are restored.

    The energy-rich Gulf state has been plunged into crisis since Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed all ties earlier this month over the country’s alleged ties to terrorism, sending the stock market plummeting and panicked citizens to supermarkets where they emptied shelves of food. Qatar has denied the allegations against it.

    Families have been split up and myriad businesses affected by demands for Qatari nationals to leave the countries involved, and vice versa.

    UAE: Diplomacy will be given 'one or two more chances' before they 'part ways' with Qatar

    In Saudi Arabia, thousands of farmers and domestic workers originally from Asian countries have been effectively stranded in the almost one-month-old spat after their employers were kicked out, Ali Bin Smaikh al-Marri, chair of Qatar's National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), said in a Wednesday media conference.

    “Usually the workers travel with Qataris - many Qataris employ farmers and travel with their domestic workers and drivers,“ he said.

    ““The workers were not allowed to travel into Qatar and now they are living illegally in Saudi Arabia and do not have basic needs. They have no shelter and cannot access money,” he added, going on to call the Gulfi stand-off “collective punishment.”

    Doha’s rulers have so far surprised Riyadh and its allies by refusing to give into the bloc’s lengthy demands, which include shunning Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood and shuttering Qatari owned news outlet Al Jazeera, in order for air, land and sea links to be restored.

    The deadline for Qatar to respond to the Riyadh-led demands is Sunday. On Thursday, Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said that Doha was interested in negotiating legitimate issues, but some the demands were not reasonable as they are untrue.

    “We cannot 'sever links with so-called Islamic State, al-Qaeda and Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah' because no such links exist,” he said in a statement. “And we cannot 'expel any members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard' because there are none in Qatar.”

    UAE Prime Minister and Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum urged Qatar to fall in line with the rest of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in a poem published to his Instagram account late on Wednesday.

    “Staying within the GCC umbrella is the only way to safeguard Qatar from the fangs of wolves”, Sheikh Mohammad wrote.

    He also reaffirmed that the doors of dialogue are still open, saying “whatever the differences, our neighbour shall always be safe.”

    However, other players in the crisis are not so brotherly-minded.

    The UAE’s ambassador Omar Ghobash to Russia has said on Wednesday that Qatar could face fresh sanctions if it does not comply with the demands.

    “One possibility would be to impose conditions on our own trading partners and say you want to work with us then you have got to make a commercial choice,” he said in an interview with the Guardian.

    In Qatar itself, sources close to the government-appointed NHRC told the AP it is hiring top Swiss law firm Lalive to help seek compensation for citizens affected by the sanctions.

    Qataris are the wealthiest citizens in the world per capita, enjoying wealth produced by the world's largest exports of liquefied natural gas.

    Many own assets worth millions of dollars in neighbouring Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, including hotels, residential property and farmland.

    Others have cancelled travel plans and been forced to scrap business deals.

    It was not immediately clear under what jurisdictional basis the legal claims would be made, and whether governments involved would have to first agree to arbitration.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/qatar-latest-news-gulf-crisis-negotiate-neighbours-diplomatic-crisis-legitimate-issue-saudi-arabia-a7815176.html

    International bullying in action!

    “President Trump says Qatar is a major funder of terrorism”. No mention of Saudi Arabia?
     
  19. Rover

    Rover Moderator

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    Gulf row: Qatar is given a further 48 hours to agree to demands

    Saudi Arabia and three other Arab states have extended the deadline for Qatar to accept a list of demands or face further sanctions by 48 hours.

    The initial deadline for Qatar to agree to the group's 13 demands, including the shutting down of the Al Jazeera news network, expired on Sunday.

    The Gulf state has said that it will submit its formal response in a letter delivered to Kuwait on Monday.

    Qatar denies accusations from its neighbours that it funds extremism.

    The state's foreign minister will travel to Kuwait on Monday morning to deliver the letter, sent from the emir of Qatar to the emir of Kuwait, who is the main mediator in the Gulf crisis.

    On Saturday, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani said the state had rejected the demands, but was ready to engage in dialogue under the right conditions.

    Qatar has been under unprecedented diplomatic and economic sanctions for weeks from Saudi Arabia and its allies, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain.

    On 23 June, the four countries, whose foreign ministers will meet on Wednesday to discuss the situation, set a deadline of 10 days for Qatar to agree to their requirements, which include the closure of a Turkish military base and the curbing of diplomatic relations with Iran.

    The imposed restrictions have caused turmoil in Qatar, an oil- and gas-rich nation dependent on imports to meet the basic needs of its population of 2.7 million. As a result, Iran and Turkey have been increasingly supplying it with food and other goods.

    Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain have accused Qatar of harbouring their opponents - including political Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood, which is viewed as a particular threat by the absolute monarchies - and giving them a platform on the Al Jazeera satellite channel, which is funded by the Qatari state.

    The four countries severed diplomatic and travel ties with Qatar one month ago, accusing it of supporting terrorism and being an ally of regional foe Iran, charges that Doha denies.

    They have since threatened further sanctions.

    The situation is the worst political crisis among Gulf countries in decades.

    What are the other demands?

    According to the Associated Press news agency, which obtained a copy of the list, Qatar must also:

    • Sever all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been banned in a handful of Arab states

    • Refuse to naturalise citizens from the four countries and expel those currently on its territory, in what the countries describe as an effort to keep Qatar from meddling in their internal affairs

    • Hand over all individuals who are wanted by the four countries for terrorism

    • Stop funding any extremist entities that are designated as terrorist groups by the US

    • Provide detailed information about opposition figures whom Qatar has funded, ostensibly in Saudi Arabia and the other nations

    • Align itself politically, economically and otherwise with the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC)

    • Stop funding other news outlets in addition to Al Jazeera, including Arabi21 and Middle East Eye

    • Pay an unspecified sum in compensation

      An unnamed official from one of the four countries told Reuters news agency that Qatar was also being asked to sever links with so-called Islamic State, al-Qaeda and Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah.

      The demands have not been officially unveiled. Their publication has increased the friction between the two sides.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-40476821
     
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