Qatar and Gulf crisis along expected lines!

– Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

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Entire West Asia except Israel is in turmoil and troubles obviously because of the destabilization efforts of USA-Israel that are ill focused on Arab world and Iran.  And obviously it is because of these two countries that Gulf States have imposed a blockade against Qatar. Earlier, Saudi Arabia had withdrawn its ambassador to Doha from 2002 to 2008 to try to pressure Qatar to curb its individualistic tendencies and fall in line with Saudi leadership.

 

Literally, USA-Israel duo controls the Arab world and regulating all its activities.  Even the so-called Arab Spring was also a part of their joint strategy to weaken Arab world and divide them to become permanent enemies to support the Zionist agenda for the region.

 

Pressure tactics of USA works well in Arab world. In fact, Arab nations have thus been doing exactly what the fascist duo wants from them and all that they have been doing works against the genuine interests of the Palestinians, besieged by Israeli-Egyptian terror blockades as per the CIA-Mossad plan.

 

When USA and Israel decide the fate of Arab nations, one would therefore be surprised if the Arab nations do not fight or hate each other and there is indeed peaceful atmosphere in Arab world.

 

Diplomatic crisis 

 

Gulf crisis is one of devastating outcomes of Arab Spring, obviously engineered by USA and Israel, among other anti-Islamic forces. The Arab Spring left a power vacuum which both Saudi Arabia and Qatar sought to fill, with Qatar being supportive of the revolutionary wave and Saudi Arabia opposing it; since both states are allies of the USA, they avoid direct conflict with one another.

 

Once the so-called Arab Spring subsided, if not ended, a new Gulf crisis erupted some five months ago in Mideast as Saudi led Arab nations expelled Qatar from their association citing terror reasons. Apparently, the expulsion was made at the insistence of USA and EU.

In June, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt abruptly cut all ties with Qatar over accusations Doha supported extremism and was close to Iran. Qatar denies the allegations. Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all cut diplomatic ties and began a boycott of Qatar on June 5, in part over allegations that Doha supports extremists and has overly warm ties to Iran.

Kuwait and Oman have not taken part in the boycott of the tiny gas-rich emirate, and Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah has acted as a mediator in the crisis.

Gulf crisis continued even after the stipulated 100 days as anti-Qatar blockade intensified by fellow Arab nations seeking to oblige Washington. As Gulf crisis enters its sixth month. Erdogan and Kuwaiti Emir H H Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah discussed regional and international developments.

 

The exact reasons for the diplomatic break-offs are still unclear, but contemporary news coverage primarily attributes this to several events in April and May 2017. As part of the Riyadh Summit in late May 2017, many world leaders, including US President Donald Trump visited the region, coercing Saudi Arabia to teach lessons to Qatar for its “terror” designs.

 

Trump met leaders and representatives of 55 Arab and Muslim-dominated countries in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, in late May, to discuss, among others, security and the fight against armed groups. Trump gave strong support for Saudi Arabia’s efforts in fighting against states and groups allied with Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, leading to an arms deal between the countries.

 

Trump’s public support for Saudi Arabia emboldened the kingdom and sent a chill through other Gulf States, including Oman and Kuwait that fear that any country that defies the Saudis or the United Arab Emirates could face ostracism as Qatar has. The Saudi-led move was at once an opportunity for the GCC partners and Egypt to punish their adversaries in Doha, please their allies in Washington, and remove attention from their own shortcomings and challenges.

 

As several experts have previously noted, the tension arose briefly after the Riyadh Summit, when US President Donald Trump assured Saudi Arabia of his commitment to the region in the face of the “Iranian threat”. The US’ hope of forging an impenetrable GCC shield against Iran fails to appreciate the centrality of the energy question and exhibits a narrow sightedness based on the pursuit of self-interest. It is, therefore, predestined to fail.

 

Trump’s support may have induced other Sunni states to fall in line with Saudi Arabia to take a stance against Qatar. But Trump spoke to Qatar’s emir and the two leaders met during May’s Arab-Islamic-American summit in Riyadh. Shortly after calling for unity and offering to mediate in a diplomatic crisis between Qatar and its neighbours, Trump has held a phone conversation with the Qatari emir to discuss the latest developments in the Gulf. The call followed a White House meeting between Trump and the emir of Kuwait, who was mediating in the dispute since June 5, when a Saudi-led group announced it was cutting ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting “terrorism”. Doha denies the allegations.

 

Founded in 1981, the Saudi led GCC is a political and economic union that includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, as well as Oman and Kuwait. On 27 July 2017, the Qatari foreign minister Al Thani told reporters that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain were showing “stubbornness” and had not taken any steps to solve the crisis. Al Thani added that the Security Council, the General Assembly and “all the UN mechanisms” could play a role in resolving the situation.

As Qatar and a host of Arab nations are locked in a diplomatic dispute, analysts warn that a disruption to Qatar’s gas supplies to the world could send energy prices soaring.

 

Amnesty International condemned the crisis and accused Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the (UAE) of toying with people’s lives. The Norwegian Refugee Council expressed fears that the crisis would affect reconstruction in Palestine, as Qatar is a major source of humanitarian and infrastructure aid to Palestine

 

Zionist type blockade of Qatar

 

Even as International community is watching the state terror operations of Israel through terror blockades around Palestine, the Gulf States have also applied the Zionist tactics against a fellow Arab nation Qatar. It won’t be surprising if the world seeking world peace would like to see the end of Arab world. .

 

The Qatar diplomatic crisis 2017 began when several Arab countries abruptly cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar in June 2017, following the visit of US president US President Donald Trump. These countries included Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt. The severing of relations included withdrawing ambassadors, and imposing trade and travel bans.

 

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt announced they were imposing a land, sea and air blockade against it. On June 22, the group issued a 13-point list of demands, including the shutdown of Al Jazeera, limiting ties with Iran, and expelling Turkish troops stationed in the country as a prerequisite to lifting the blockade.

 

They still boycott and blockade Qatar. Qatar has long denied funding extremists and restored full diplomatic ties to Iran amid the dispute. Doha shares a massive offshore natural gas field with Iran that makes its citizens incredibly wealthy.

 

Qatar is close to Iran and Turkey. Doha rejected all the demands, denouncing them as attempts to infringe Qatar’s sovereignty.

 

Rising Qatar and foreign relations

 

Qatar is the world’s second largest supplier of helium (the US ranks first)

Qatar is also a close ally of the USA, hosting the largest American base in the Middle East, Al Udeid Air Base. Qatar also houses a Turkish military base as well.

 

Qatar is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and produces up to 77 million tonnes of gas each year. Gas has helped transform the tiny emirate into one of the richest countries in the world, propelling its rise into a major regional player and helping Qatar fund huge infrastructure projects and host major events such as the 2022 football World Cup. Qatar is likely to seek more than ever to maintain leadership of the market and will, therefore, continue to foster relations that support energy development, even if it comes at the expense of regional relations.

 

Qatar has several gas fields within its territorial waters. In April 2017, Qatar announced it was boosting output in the world’s largest gas field – the ‘North Dome’ – off the Gulf state’s northern coast, which it shares with Iran. ‘South Pars’ is the name for Iran’s share of the gas field. Qatar Petroleum has insisted that the recent diplomatic rift between Qatar and some of its neighbours will not affect output.

 

Qatar is a global leader in liquefied natural gas production. Despite the severing of ties, Qatari natural gas continues to flow to the UAE and Oman through Abu Dhabi based Dolphin Energy’s pipeline. The pipeline meets about 30–40 percent of UAE’s energy needs.

 

Shipping constraints from the crisis have also rerouted multiple shipments of oil and gas to and from the Gulf, which has caused reverberations in many local energy markets. On 8 June 2017 in the United Kingdom, with nearly a third of all imported gas arriving from Qatar, gas futures spiked nearly 4 percent. A secondary effect of the dispute has been on worldwide supplies of helium, which is often extracted from natural gas.

 

On the Qatari side of the field, its discovery in 1971, which coincided with the state’s year of independence, has been crucial for state building and sovereignty recognition. It is no wonder, then, that in addition to being the single most important contributor to the country’s GDP, natural gas has also indirectly driven many foreign policy choices for the small state even where monetary returns are not directly involved. This includes foreign aid, mediation and education initiatives, to name but a few.

 

Qatar’s strategy towards its neighbours up until the early 1990s was hinged primarily on security provision and following Saudi Arabia’s lead in terms of foreign policy. Concrete changes started in the early 1990s in Qatar’s relations with other countries in the region, including improved relations with Iran and stronger ties with the United States at the expense of relations with Saudi Arabia, which took a blow following border and gas sale disputes. The fact that Qatar shares the largest non-associated natural gas field with Iran has influenced its relation with the latter since the 1980s. In order to maintain cordial relations aimed at stabilizing natural gas supplies, Qatar has always adopted a more sensitive diplomatic approach to Iran.

 

Since he took power in 1995, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani believed Qatar could find security only by transforming itself from a Saudi appendage to a rival of Saudi Arabia.  Since he took power in 1995, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani believed Qatar could find security only by transforming itself from a Saudi appendage to a rival of Saudi Arabia.

 

Some of the bold steps undertaken by Qatar in recently have annoyed Saudi Arabia that claims to the leader of the West Asia region.

 

Qatar has had developed differences with other Arab governments on a number of issues: it broadcasts Al Jazeera; it is accused of maintaining good relations with Iran; and it has supported the Muslim Brotherhood in the past. Qatar has been accused of sponsoring terrorism.

 

In 1996, Qatar sought to export its natural gas to neighbouring GCC countries. However, the project faced numerous obstacles pertaining to pricing, transit rights and border disputes. This cemented the view that Qatar should look beyond its neighborhood for export markets, especially as prices were more lucrative on the international market. As a result, the sale of natural gas to key international players such as the UK, China, India and Japan has inexorably linked customers’ energy security to the stability of Qatar. Moreover, Qatar’s energy policy is closely linked to its investment policy as the national sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), recycles oil and gas revenue by investing heavily in Europe and North America. Therefore, the sale of natural gas is both a means to, and objective of, Qatar’s international relations.

 

In order to force Qatar surrender, some countries like USA and Saudi Arabia have faulted Qatar for funding rebel groups in Syria, including al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, the al-Nusra Front, although the Saudis have done the same. It seems Qatar has allowed the Afghan Taliban to set up a political office inside the country

 

At the insistence of President Trump, the Arab states accuse Qatar of backing “terrorism”, an allegation of USA but Qatar denies. The crisis is an escalation of the Qatar–Saudi Arabia proxy conflict as part of larger conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

 

The Saudi-led coalition cited Qatar’s alleged support for terrorism as the main reason for their actions, insisting Qatar has violated a 2014 agreement with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Saudi Arabia and other countries have criticized the most important Arab TV channel in English Al Jazeera and Qatar’s relations with Iran. Qatar claims that it has assisted the USA in the ‘War on Terror’ (War on Islam) and the ongoing military intervention against ISIL.

 

In April 2017, Qatar was involved in a deal with both Sunni and Shi’ite militants in Iraq and Syria. The deal had two goals. The immediate goal was to secure the return of 26 Qatari hostages (including Qatari royals) who had been kidnapped by Shi’ite militants while falcon hunting in Southern Iraq and kept in captivity for more than 16 months. Another goal was to get both Sunni and Shi’ite militants in Syria to allow humanitarian aid to pass through and allow the safe evacuation of civilians. This deal allowed the evacuation of at least 2,000 civilians from the Syrian village of Madaya alone.

 

What outraged Saudi Arabia and the UAE is the amount of money Qatar had to pay to secure the deal. Qatar paid $700 million to Iranian-backed Shi’a militias in Iraq, $120–140 million to Tahrir al-Sham, and $80 million to Ahrar al-Sham.

 

The GCC’s antagonistic approach broadly failed. Sheikh Tamim said that Qatar ready to talk to end Gulf crisis and on 8 Sept 2017, he called for GCC dialogue to make the region trouble free. The GCC is an alliance of six Middle Eastern countries: Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman.

 

Support of Turkey and Iran  

 

Qatar and Iran share the world’s largest gas field. Energy production from the world’s largest gas field brings Tehran and Doha in working relationship.

 

Growing ties between Iran and Qatar alarmed Riyadh.  Both being aware of the growing significance of the shared field, Iran and Qatar recently announced further development plans. Following the signing of its deal with Total, Iran announced that its production capacity could exceed Qatar’s – although most of it would go to satisfy domestic needs.

 

Annoyed with Saudi action, on 24 August 2017, Qatar announced that they would restore full diplomatic relations with Iran. The Qatari emir Sheikh Al Thani says he is ready to sit at a negotiating table to solve the three-month-long Gulf regional crisis but Saudi Arabia is unwilling for revising its strategy for Qatar as USA has put the lid on unity of Arab world and Iran.

 

The northern side of the gas field belonging to Iran was discovered in 1990, but gas production was delayed until the early 2000s because of a combination of geological and political problems. Although Iran’s economy is more diverse, petroleum still accounts for 80 percent of its exports. The oil and gas resources are also crucial for powering an ambitious industrial sector, as well as providing electricity and heating needs for a population estimated at around 80 million.

 

However, a number of challenges face the energy sector. Oil and gas production and export have been hampered by sanctions dating as far back as 1979. Additionally, the country has been cut off from global technological advances usually brought in by multinational companies and corruption and bureaucracy plague the system. The energy sector is in dire need of foreign investment that would revamp its infrastructure and increase oil and gas production efficiency.

 

A few months after signing the agreement, the self-imposed moratorium on further development of the North Field was lifted in April 2017. Although officials deny that these events are linked, it is necessary for Qatar to increase production to maintain market share in an increasingly competitive market.

 

The LNG market is becoming a more integrated global market in which prices are set by market factors, rather than geopolitical interests. The change was ushered in by the emergence of new players – as well as the increase in global supply, which ensures that LNG’s price and quantity are not controlled by a monopoly. In addition to increased production by Iran, Australia is expected to become a top gas exporter, the US entered the export market, and Russia is ambitious to take the first place held by Qatar.

Meanwhile, Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah met Erdogan at his presidential palace.

 

The centrality of the energy question for both Iran and Qatar means that both countries will continue to put forward policies that favour the development of said resources even if it places them at odds with regional and global players.

 

This year Total signed a 20-year contract with the National Iranian Oil Company using to develop phase 11 of South Pars.

 

The agreement benefits Iran in a number of ways as it creates jobs, brings in financing as well as technological know-how, and, perhaps most significantly, it ushers the way for other major companies to invest in Iran.

Political internal affairs in Iran are less stable compared with Qatar as conservative and moderate forces are involved in a tug of war over influence and popular approval. Although the current president, Hassan Rouhani, won a landslide victory for a second term, he lacks the full-hearted support of the country’s conservative establishment led by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

 

Therefore, for Iran, the development and production of natural gas not only satisfies growing national energy needs but also helps the current administration to maintain political support and fulfill ambitious economic promises which include overall growth through job creation and foreign investment attraction. It also helps prove that the Nuclear Agreement of 2015 engineered by the Rouhani administration is starting to bear fruit.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Gulf tour of the Gulf States in November in his first trip abroad since the start of the Gulf diplomatic crisis was an important millstone in the bilateral relations. The talks got under way at Erdogan’s presidential palace in the capital Ankara, the Turkish presidency said.  Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also hosted his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah in Ankara.

 

Turkish-Qatari relations are also strong. Qatar hosts a Turkish base. Erdogan has strongly spoken out against the sanctions applied by the four Gulf countries.  Erdogan’s visit was meant to Qatar to help resolve Gulf crisis. Qatar has US backing to resolve crisis.

 

On 7 June, the Turkish parliament passed, with 240 votes in favor and 98 against, a legislative act first drafted in May allowing Turkish troops to be deployed to a Turkish military base in Qatar. In 13 June 2017 during a speech, President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan condemned the isolation of Qatar as “inhumane and against Islamic values” and stated that “victimizing Qatar through smear campaigns serves no purpose”

 

Turkey’s Erdogan has been a major supporter of Doha since June 5, when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt cut ties and blockaded Qatar, accusing it of supporting “terrorism” and fostering ties with their rival Iran. Qatar vehemently denies the accusations. At the same time, Turkey also supported Kuwait’s mediation efforts in the crisis, reiterating Ankara wanted a “peaceful” solution to the issue.

 

Saudi, like USA does, told some of Islamic nations to support its war plans. But Pakistan, having close ties with Qatar, Turkey and Iran, told Saudi Arabia that it has no plans to cut diplomatic relations with Qatar.  Pakistani federal minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources said that “Pakistan will continue to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar.” A six-member Qatari delegation headed by a special envoy of the Qatari Emir visited Pakistan and asked Pakistan to play a positive role in resolving the diplomatic crisis. Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif had said “Pakistan would do “all it can” to help resolve the crisis and called on the Muslim world to play a role in ending hostilities.

 

Hackers: Zionist hoax?

 

Qatar has been the target of all kinds of anti-Islamic and anti-Qatari forces. The Qatar News Agency website and other government media platforms were hacked in May 2017. Hackers posted fake remarks on the official Qatar News Agency attributed to the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, that expressed support for Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Israel

The emir was quoted as saying: “Iran represents a regional and Islamic power that cannot be ignored and it is unwise to face up against it. It is a big power in the stabilization of the region. Qatar reported that the statements were false and did not know their origin. Despite this, the remarks were widely publicized in the various Arab news media, including UAE-based Sky News Arabia and Al Arabiya. On 3 June 2017, the Twitter account of Bahraini foreign minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa was hacked.

 

Initially alleged intelligence gathered by the US security agencies indicated that Russian hackers were behind the intrusion first reported by the Qataris.

A US diplomat said that Russia and its ally Iran stood to benefit from sowing discord among US allies in the region, “particularly if they made it more difficult for the United States to use Qatar as a major base.” The FBI sent a team of investigators to Doha to help the Qatari government investigate the hacking incident. Later, the New York Times reported that the hacking incidents may be part of a long-running cyberwar between Qatar and other Gulf countries that was only revealed to the public during the recent incidents, and they noted how Saudi and UAE media picked up the statement made by the hacked media in less than 20 minutes and began interviewing many well-prepared commentators against Qatar.

 

US intelligence agencies believe that the hacking was done by the United Arab Emirates.  The UAE denied any involvement in the hacking.  It was announced on 26 August 2017 that five individuals allegedly involved in the hacking were arrested in Turkey. In May 2017, the email account of the UAE’s ambassador to the USA, Yousef Al-Otaiba, was hacked.  On 9 June, Al Jazeera’s media network was the victim of a cyber attack across all its platforms.

 

Crisis resolution possible

 

As top diplomats from various countries flock to the Gulf in an attempt to solve the GCC rift, major energy companies continue to vie for competitive projects in the oil and gas fields in the region. The latest of these projects is the development of the South Pars/North Field, the world’s largest natural gas field, which is owned by both Iran and Qatar. This field plays a central yet often underrated role in the development of foreign and national policies in both Qatar and Iran. In light of this, any attempt for isolation or pressure on either country to alter select policies is futile insofar as it disregards this fact.

 

Similarly, the ensuing Saudi-led blockade against Qatar is destined to eventually subside and give way to normalized relations in spite of the current tension. As a sign, perhaps, that energy trumps political antagonism, it is noteworthy that shortly after the rift, and Qatar announced it would not disrupt liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which runs through the Dolphin pipeline.

 

The UAE receives about two billion cubic feet on a daily basis from Qatar. Egypt, similarly, will continue receiving Qatari LNG shipments which it secured till the end of 2017. Qatar’s LNG ships continue to make their way unhindered to Asia through the Hormuz Strait and to Europe through the Suez Canal.

 

Since Kuwait unsuccessfully mediated to end the Gulf crisis because of Saudi reluctance for accepting Qatar as an ally. Merkel’s government has announced efforts to mediate in the crisis, which saw Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severing diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar in June.

 

Germany’s foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel expressed support for Qatar and criticized the severing of ties. He accused US President Donald Trump of stirring up conflict in the Middle East. Germany has been supporting diplomatic efforts to try and defuse the crisis, with Merkel inviting all sides to sit at the table. Recently Qatari Emir Sheikh was on his first foreign trip since Qatar’s diplomatic rift with its Arab neighbours and is now in Germany. “As you know we have had a siege of more than 100 days against Qatar,” Sheikh Tamim said at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. “We spoke about Qatar’s readiness to sit at the table to solve this issue.”

 

Germany is attempting to ratchet up diplomatic pressure to get the feuding nations on the same table.”The German desire here is to play a broader role, diplomatically speaking, in the Gulf area and it clearly wants this issue to be dealt with as speedily and peacefully as possible,” he said. Now that there is an understanding by every leader around the world that the dispute must be resolved diplomatically, sooner rather than later,” he said from London. Sigmar Gabriel has said the country’s intelligence service would play a role in clearing up accusations that Qatar supports “terrorist” groups.

 

Merkel said she was concerned that there was still no solution to the crisis, adding she supported efforts by Kuwait and the USA to mediate an end to the dispute. “Germany is not a part of this conflict, but would like, in line with its values, to help get this conflict resolved in such a way that all can keep their face,” Merkel said. “We view with concern the fact that 100 days since the start of the conflict no solutions can yet be seen….And we spoke about the need for all the parties to sit at one table again as soon as possible.”

 

Indonesia’s foreign minister said the diplomatic disconnection by Arab countries against Qatar is very influential on Indonesia. On 10 June 2017 Indonesian President Joko Widodo called for the president of Turkey and the Emir of Qatar to find a way to resolve the conflict considering Indonesia itself is an Islamic country and this conflict occurred during holy Ramadan.

 

On 8 June, after igniting the trouble, President Donald Trump, during a phone call with the Emir of QatarTamim bin Hamad Al Thani, offered to act as a mediator in the conflict with a White House meeting between the parties if necessary. The offer was declined, and a Qatari official stated, “The emir has no plans to leave Qatar while the country is under a blockade.”

 

Trump puts the blame on Qatar, calling the blockade “hard but necessary” while claiming that Qatar had been funding terrorism at a “very high level” and described the country as having an “extremist ideology in terms of funding”. This statement was in conflict with Secretary of State Tillerson’s comments on the same day, which called on Gulf States to ease the blockade.

 

On 21 June, Trump told a crowd in Iowa that “We cannot let these incredibly rich nations fund radical Islamic terror or terrorism of any kind,” noting that after his visit to Riyadh in May 2017 to meet with Saudi King Salman and urge an end to terror funding, did work and had a huge impact on Saudi foreign policy.

 

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor released a report showing the catastrophic effects of Saudi- led blockade on Qatar. Because of Saudi’s procedures, the report said that more than 6000 families are displaced because one of the parents is a Qatari citizen and the other holds a passport of one of the “siege countries”. The report also explained blockade’s effect on work and labor rights in Qatar as nearly 2,000 workers who have Saudi, Bahraini or Emirati citizenship will be forced to leave their jobs in Qatar.

In June 2017, “siege countries” have shut down media outlets with links to or considered sympathetic to the Qatari government.

 

Human Rights Watch said such steps represent a clear violation of freedom of expression. The international organization said governments don’t have the right to close down media outlets and criminalize speech to shut out criticism they find uncomfortable.  Human Rights Watch said that the isolation of Qatar represents a severe violation of human rights principles. The blockade reflects negatively on the right to freedom of expression. In addition, the siege caused in separating families, interrupting medical, interrupting education, and stranding migrant workers without food or water and travel to and from Qatar.

 

Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain took steps to curb their citizens’ expression of opinions that oppose their policies. In the three countries, Citizens who opposes Qatar siege will face penalties ranging from fines to prison. Human right Watch said such measures represent a huge violation of freedom of speech and information that could have serious implications

 

Earlier at a joint press conference with Kuwait’s emir, Trump had said he supported Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah’s mediation efforts, but if that did not manage to resolve the Gulf crisis, he would be “willing to be a mediator”. He calls “on our GCC and Egyptian allies” to focus on “our commitments” at that Saudi Arabia summit to continue our joint efforts to drive out and defeat terrorists,” Trump said.

 

The emir of Kuwait said he was glad that military action against Qatar was no longer being considered. The Kuwaiti emir’s comments marked the first time that a main player in the efforts to defuse the crisis spoke publicly about the possibility of a military option. The emir of Kuwait is the main mediator in this crisis, coming out and saying that war is now not on the table.

Kuwait has invited Qatar to a summit of Gulf countries next week, state media said, the first such invitation in a months-long Saudi-led diplomatic boycott of Doha.  Kuwait, which is not among Arab states boycotting Qatar, invited Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to the Gulf Cooperation Council summit on December 5 and 6, the state-run KUNA news agency said.

During his conversation with Trump, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani welcomed Trump’s position on the need to resolve this crisis through dialogue to ensure the unity of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

The Qatari emir also expressed Doha’s position on resolving “differences through constructive dialogue that does not affect the sovereignty of states”, Qatar News Agency reported.

 

For his part, Trump pledged his commitment to ending the crisis, stressing the importance of maintaining unity while trying to defeat “terrorism”. “The president underscored the importance of all countries following through on commitments from the Riyadh Summit to maintain unity while defeating terrorism, cutting off funding for terrorist groups, and combating extremist ideology,” read a statement by the White House issued.

 

Sports also play role in the Gulf crisis. A top Emirati security official said that the Qatar diplomatic crisis can end if Doha gives up hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup — the first time someone from the four Arab nations boycotting the country directly linked the tournament to resolving the months-long dispute.

When Qatar’s sole land border with Saudi Arabia was closed and sea traffic cut off by the boycott, World Cup organizers were forced to instigate a “Plan B,” including bringing in supplies from Turkey. Hassan al-Thawadi, Qatar World Cup supreme committee secretary-general, said that the project remained on time despite that.  “There might have been some minimal increase in terms of establishing alternative supply chains but these have been absorbed very, very quickly and been normalized as these supply chains have been put in place,” he said.

 

Observation

 

The USA calls the countries or forces that constantly cause problems for the world community as rogue states and threaten with wars but one wonders as to why neither USA nor Israel – both are known masters for their overt and covert divisive and destabilizing operations across the globe, particularly in West Asia – is not known as a rogue state. Israel possesses nukes obtained illegally and without informing the UN and IAEA, which is double crimes; USA sullied WMD to essentially fascist Israel to threaten Palestinians, Arab nations and Iran but they are not rouge states according to CIA, but Iran and North Korea that makes strenuous efforts to protect their people and territories from USA and Israeli enemy attacks are called so.

 

Interesting phenomenon, isn’t it?

 

So, only Uncle Sam can decide who is a rogue and who is not.

 

One cannot find fault with if Americans and Israelis consider Arab nations, including Palestine, to be of worst fools on earth who could be easily pressured, coerced, terrorized, blackmailed and divvied for infighting and killing each other.

 

Apparently, US President Donald Trump has clearly ignited troubles in Arab world by his first ever visit to Saudi Arabia. Trump has already claimed credit for engineering the diplomatic crisis in a series of tweets on 6 June, Trump began by tweeting: “During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar – look!”

 

Israel wants to see a badly shaken and weakened Arab world so that it could advance its Zionist expansionist agenda with US backing. Israel’s defence minister, hawkish illegal settler leader Avigdor Lieberman, described the Gulf situation as an “opportunity” for Israel, stating, some Arab countries interests overlap with Israeli interests, including the issue with al-Jazeera.”  He went on to describe al-Jazeera as an “incitement machine” and “pure propaganda”.

 

USA and Israel  determine the course of international politics and Arab world has been the target of both USA and Israel for decades.

 

US-Saudi relations are not sound at all. That USA has so far ignored Saudi requirement of an US attack on Iran has upset all Saudi/Gulf calculations. Us refusal to oblige the Israeli demand of a quick attack on Iran has upset the Saudi connect with Washington as well. .

 

Saudi behavior is incomprehensible. After lying very low for decades as a total dependent on USA, Saudi Arabia has recently sought to raise its diplomatic profile by playing an active role as a soverign nation at the regional and global level at large. Interestingly, Saudi Arabia blaming Qatar of terror funding only serves the US interests as USA blames Qatar, among others, the source of terror funding. Saudi Arabia just repeats the accusation to impress all anti-Islamic forces around the world.

 

With a rising Iran, a increasingly high profile Turkey, Saudi Arabia  feels insignificant among  top Muslim nations and now wants every Sunni nation, especially in Mideast come under its control. But Qatar, also a rising power, is very eager to showcase its importance to the world, seeks to pursue its own policies at home and abroad. .

 

Increasing assertion by Turkey and Iran in recent times in diplomatic sphere may have made Riyadh also to assert its importance on global stage and hence the threatening tone and domestic reform related arrests etc.

 

The decision of GCC not to go for a war with Qatar is a positive but surprising development because under US pressure tactics Saudi could have declared a war on Qatar to kill many more thousands of Muslims as their own contribution to War on Islam.

 

The centrality of the energy question for both Iran and Qatar means that both countries will continue to put forward policies that favour the development of said resources, even if it places them at odds with regional and global players. Therefore, any such attempts to isolate either country would not only be in vain, but also threaten the stability of a fragile region and endanger international energy security.

 

USA cannot go against Qatar as Qatar hosts about 10,000 US troops at Al Udeid Air Base, which houses the forward operating base of US Central Command that plays a commanding role in US airstrikes in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. A Pentagon spokesperson claimed the diplomatic crisis would not affect the US military posture in Qatar.

 

However, that is exactly what USA and Israel want and work for.

 

Dr Abdul Ruff

Prolific writer, Educationist; Independent Analyst; Investigative journalist, Columnist contributing articles to many newspapers and journals on world politics; Expert on Mideast affairs, Chronicler of foreign occupations & freedom movements (Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Chechnya, etc.) Chancellor-Founder of Center for International Affairs (CIA); Commentator on world affairs & sport fixings, Former university teacher; Author of eBooks/books; *Editor: International Opinion, Foreign Policy; Palestine Times: website: http://abdulruff.wordpress.com/ email abdulruff_jnu@yahoo.com;Phone*: 91-7293435028 *Thanks the remuneration if sent to my State Bank of India - Account No: **62310377429 Bank Code: **SBIN0020731 *(Earlier it was State bank of Hyderabad)

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