Gulf states cut ties with Qatar over ‘supporting terrorism’


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I guess, the Saudi's thought Qatar would fold under it's demands but Qatar called their bluff?

On Wednesday, the ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates gathered in Cairo to discuss Doha's rejection of their demands. They issued a joint statement, but refrained from further escalation, Egyptian political analyst Hassan Nafie told Sputnik.

Four Countries Which Cut Ties With Qatar Refraining From Further Escalation

Saudi Arabia and its allies refrained on Wednesday from imposing fresh sanctions on Qatar but voiced disappointment at the rejection of their demands and said their boycott of the country would continue "until Qatar changes its policies for the better."

Qatar's response to the demands has not been made public.

The Arab countries have demanded Qatar curtail its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, shut down the pan-Arab Al Jazeera satellite TV channel, close a Turkish military base and downgrade its relations with Iran.

"There were real concerns of further escalation before the meeting of the four states, however their statement was counter to expectations and did not contain any escalating steps," the political analyst told Sputnik.

Hassan Nafie noted that with their statement, the quartet demonstrated its desire to provide a chance and more time to the forces who are interested in peaceful solution to the Gulf crisis, as well as the understanding that insistence in this situation will harm all parties to the conflict.

However the results of the meeting also signaled that the solution of the Qatari crisis will take time due to its complexity.

"It is not only about the support or sponsorship of the Muslim Brotherhood….it is also interconnected with the regional situation, Arab-Israeli conflict and reflects the desire of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to play a leading role in the region," the expert said.

The role of the US - The expert however noted that the US position on the crisis will play the decisive role.

The recent reports suggest that the US secretary of state will fly to the Gulf on Monday. Rex Tillerson will fly to Kuwait, which has tried to mediate between the two sides. A US state department spokeswoman said Washington was growing “increasingly concerned that the dispute is at an impasse” and could drag on for months.

Hassan Nafie noted that the influence of the US could have been noticed already on Wednesday, when the statement of the quartet was postponed until the results of the conversation between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and US President Donald Trump.

"It looks like the conversation has had a certain impact at least on the tone of the statement and moderated the rhetoric. Apparently, the US has interfered in order to prevent escalation and give a chance for the settlement of the conflict," the political analyst concluded.


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Qatar's government said it is forming a committee to pursue compensation for damages stemming from its isolation by four Arab countries.

Qatar to Seek Compensation for Damages from Arab Blockade

Qatari Public Prosecutor Ali Al-Marri said in a press conference Sunday that the committee will handle claims made by private companies, public institutions and individuals, KSL reported.

He gave few details, but said the body would use both domestic and international mechanisms to seek compensation.

Members of the newly formed committee include Qatar's minister of justice and minister of foreign affairs.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties and severed air, land and sea links with Qatar last month, accusing it of supporting militants. Qatar has denied the allegations, and says the bloc's ultimatums are an affront to its sovereignty.

In the meantime, the Saudi's are immersed in problems of their own making .....
A leading Egyptian newspaper released a number of documents proving that Saudi Arabia's new Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his counterpart in Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan have long been supporting the ISIL and al-Qaeda terrorist groups' global operations.

Egyptian Daily Releases Documents of Saudi Crown Prince's Support for ISIL, Al-Qaeda (Photo copies)

"A leaked document in Qatar's embassy and a letter to Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani on October 26, 2016, show Mohammed bin Salman and Mohammed bin Zayed's support for certain key al-Qaeda members in the Arabian Peninsula," Arabic language al-Badil newspaper wrote.

Based on the documents, US Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence said that the Saudi and Abu Dhabi crown princes have established continued contacts with two Yemeni nationals, namely Ali Abkar al-Hassan and Abdollah Faisal Ahdal, who are on the US blacklist of most wanted terrorists.

The documents also revealed the detailed activities and operations of the two Yemeni nationals in support of the al-Qaeda and the ISIL as well as Saudi Intelligence Chief Khalid bin Ali bin Abdullah al-Humaidan's financial support for them.

The documents were revealed after a new report released by a British think tank on Wednesday said that Saudi Arabia is the “foremost” foreign funder of Islamist extremism in the UK and other western countries.

The Henry Jackson Society — a right-wing think tank — said that overseas funding primarily from the governments and private charities of Persian Gulf countries has a “clear and growing link” to the onslaught of violence the UK and other western states.

The group estimated that the Saudi government and charities spent an estimated $4 billion exporting Saudi Arabia’s strict interpretation of Islam, known as Wahhabism (also practiced by ISIL and other terrorist groups), worldwide in 2015, up from $2 billion in 2007. In 2015, there were 110 mosques in the UK practicing Salafism and Wahhabism compared to 68 in 2007. The money is primarily funneled through mosques and Islamic schools in Britain, according to the report.

“Influence has also been exerted through the training of British Muslim religious leaders in Saudi Arabia, as well as the use of Saudi textbooks in a number of the UK’s independent Islamic schools,” the report said.

Although many Western countries, including the United States, have acknowledged the threat of foreign terrorist financing, Britain “has seen far less of a response from policy makers supporting moves to tackle the challenge of foreign-funded Islamist extremism,” the report said.

The Syrian Army and Air Force targeted ISIL's positions in and around the Eastern city of Deir Ezzur, killing a number of terrorists, including the Saudi commander of ISIL's airport operation.
Saudi Commander of ISIL's Deir Ezzur Airport Operations Killed by Army

The army' artillery and missile units along with the country's fighter jets pounded ISIL's positions in the neighborhoods of Khasarat, al-Kanamat, al-Omal, Deir Ezzur airbase, al-Maqaber (cemetery) region, Panorama base, al-Huweiqa passageway and in the villages of al-Baqaliyeh, Safireh Tahtani, al-Hosseiniyeh, Albu Leil and the town of al-Mouhassan, killing a number of terrorists, including Abu Dajaneh al-Qamedi, the Saudi commander of airport operations and Khaled Ayed al-Barjis, the ISIL commander in the town of al-Mouhassan.

Yemen’s former President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, singled out Saudi Arabia as the source of what the United Nations estimates to be the world’s worst cholera outbreak in Yemen.
Ex-President: Saudi Arabia to Blame for Yemen Cholera Outbreak

The Russia Today Arabic news channel quoted Saleh as saying that the Saudi-led coalition was behind the spread of the highly contagious disease through the use of internationally banned weapons.

Saleh held the US, Britain and Israel to account, saying they are complicit in the "massacre of children and destruction of our homes" through supporting Saudi Arabia.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that a cholera epidemic has killed over 1,500 people in Yemen since late April as the war-torn country is facing the "world's worst cholera outbreak", warning that as many as 300,000 could get infected by the end of August.

The country's Health Ministry has already announced that 21 of a total 22 Yemeni provinces are threatened by the disease. On mid-May, it also declared a state of emergency in the capital Sana'a in connection with the epidemic.

The WHO has also estimated that 7.6 million Yemenis live in areas with a high risk of cholera transmission.

Some Arab social media outlets suggested on Saturday that Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud might sand down to be replaced by his son Mohammed, the new crown prince.
Saudi King Likely to Step Down in Favor of Crown Prince

"The ground is being paved for Mohammed bin Salman to ascend to the throne, but the time for its public announcement has not been decided yet," al-Ahd al-Jadid twitter page, close to the decision-makers in Saudi Arabia, reported on Saturday.

Last month, King Salman replaced Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz with his own son, Mohammed bin Salman, the deputy crown prince and defense minister.

According to a royal decree, Mohammed bin Salman, 31, was also named deputy prime minister, and shall maintain his post as defense minister, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The SPA also confirmed that 31 out of 34 members of Saudi Arabia’s succession committee chose Mohammed bin Salman as the crown prince.

The Saudi king had earlier stripped Nayef of his powers overseeing criminal investigations and designated a new public prosecution office to function directly under the king’s authority.

In a similar move back in 2015, the Saudi king had appointed his nephew, then deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef as the heir to the throne after removing his own half-brother Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud from the position.

Under the new decree, King Salman further relieved Mohammed bin Nayef of his duties as the interior minister. He appointed Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef as the new interior minister and Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Salem as deputy interior minister.

Mohammed Bin Salman is already in charge of a vast portfolio as chief of the House of Saud royal court and chairman of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs, which is tasked with overhauling the country’s economy.

The young prince was little known both at home and abroad before Salman became king in January 2015.

However, King Salman has significantly increased the powers of Mohammed, with observers describing the prince as the real power behind his father’s throne.

The strife among members of the Saudi royal family has grown so harsh and critical that the country's government may collapse any moment, Arab media outlets said on Saturday.
Arab Media: Saudi Gov't in Pre-Collapse Era

The Arabic-language Al-Naba' news website said in an article titled 'Saudi Arabia: White Coup or Black Collapse' that Mohammed bin Salman's leadership as the country's new crown prince has caused an earthquake in Riyadh, and "the government in Saudi Arabia seems to be on the threshold of collapse."

The website stressed that the recent political developments indicated the depth of the differences among the Saudi ruling family which have affected the country's role and performance in the region.

It quoted analysts as saying that in light of the geo-political changes in the region, including the crisis in Qatar, increased conflicts with Iran and the Yemen war, a major change will happen in the leadership of Saudi Arabia.

In relevant remarks late last month, Saudi whistle-blower Mujtahid, who is believed to be a member of or have a well-connected source in the royal family,
revealed high tensions in Saudi Arabia, and said a threat of a coup to topple the king and his son is highly likely.

"Moves in the al-Saud family to oust Salman bin Abdulaziz (the Saudi king) have increased by those who support Ahmed bin Abdulaziz (the king's brother) as they are convincing him of taking the leadership in Saudi Arabia," Mujtahid wrote on his twitter page.

He added that the princes who have joined the move intend to issue a statement to declare King Salman's incompetency for continued leadership of the country and nullify his recent order that brought his son to the post of the Crown Prince.


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Qatar announced that it is considering legal action against four Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, demanding compensation for losses incurred owing to the ongoing blockade.

Qatar Considers Seeking Damages over Persian Gulf Blockade

Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, Qatar's economy minister, met the heads of international trade organizations in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss the case for compensation, Al-Jazeera reported.

Qatar has contracted a specialised legal team to study the actions taken by the blockading countries against it, according to a statement from the economy ministry in Doha.

Separately, Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah, Qatar's defence minister, stressed that the country may even its case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court, at The Hague.

Because of its financial reserves and as long as it can continue exporting liquefied natural gas, Qatar has avoided any crippling economic crisis because of the blockade.

The Saudi-led bloc of countries, which have blockaded Qatar, have called on Doha to accept what they view as “principles” in their list of demands from Qatar, apparently backing down from a number of the terms on the 13-point list.
Blockaders Urge Qatar to Accept ‘Six Core Demands’

Saudi Arabia’s United Nations Ambassador Abdallah al-Mouallimi said during a briefing for a group of UN correspondents on Tuesday that the quartet is committed to the six principles agreed at a meeting in Cairo on July 5, presstv reported.

He expressed hope that Qatar would also support the six “essential” demands.

The quartet comprising Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties and cut all land, sea, and air routes with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting terrorism, allegations denied by Doha.

They later issued the 13-point list of demands for Doha to meet in order for the relations to be restored. Among them was that Qatar end its support for Egypt’s biggest banned opposition party Muslim Brotherhood, close down a Turkish military base on its soil, limit its ties with Iran and “compensate” the sanctioning countries for unspecified harm.

As next in line to be king of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Nayef was unaccustomed to being told what to do. Then, one night in June, he was summoned to a palace in Mecca, held against his will and pressured for hours to give up his claim to the throne.
Saudi King's Son Plotted Effort to Oust His Rival

By dawn, he had given in, and Saudi Arabia woke to the news that it had a new crown prince: the king’s 31-year-old son, Mohammed bin Salman,
NY Times reported.

The young prince’s supporters have lauded his elevation as the seamless empowerment of an ambitious leader. But since he was promoted on June 21, indications have emerged that Mohammed bin Salman plotted the ouster and that the transition was rockier than has been publicly portrayed, according to current and former United States officials and associates of the royal family.

To strengthen support for the sudden change in the line of succession, some senior princes were told that Mohammed bin Nayef was unfit to be king because of a drug problem, according to an associate of the royal family.

The decision to oust Mohammed bin Nayef and some of his closest colleagues has spread concern among counterterrorism officials in the United States who saw their most trusted Saudi contacts disappear and have struggled to build new relationships.

And the collection of so much power by one young royal, Prince Mohammad bin Salman, has unsettled a royal family long guided by consensus and deference to elders.

“You may have now such a concentration of power within one branch and within one individual who is also younger than so many of the cousins and sons of former kings that it may begin to create a situation where the family is out of whack,” Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, a fellow for the Middle East at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, who studies Persian Gulf politics, said.

The insularity of Saudi Arabia’s sprawling and phenomenally wealthy royal family is well known, often leaving diplomats, intelligence agents and members of the family itself struggling to decipher its inner workings.

But since The New York Times reported last month that Mohammed bin Nayef had been confined to his palace, United States officials and associates of senior royals have provided similar accounts of how the elder prince was pressured to step aside by his nephew. All spoke on the condition of anonymity so as not to endanger their contacts inside the kingdom, or themselves.

In response to questions from The Times, a written statement by a senior Saudi official denied that Mohammed bin Nayef had been pressured and said that the Allegiance Council, a body of senior princes, had approved the change in “the best interest of the nation.”

The statement said Mohammed bin Nayef was the first to pledge allegiance to the new crown prince and had insisted that the moment be filmed and broadcast. The former crown prince receives guests daily in his palace in Jidda and has visited the king and the crown prince more than once, the statement said.

The rivalry between the princes began in 2015, when King Salman ascended the throne and bestowed tremendous power on his favorite son.
(Article continues.)


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A government official in Qatar said that the four Arab countries blockading it have acted dangerously and in a "disorganized manner" after apparently changing their demands.

Qatar Faults 'Disorganized' Conduct by Saudi-Led Group

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain said that Qatar should commit to six principles on combatting "terrorism" and negotiate a plan to implement them, Aljazeera reported.

The four countries had initially made 13 sweeping demands, including shuttering Al Jazeera, which Qatar dismissed as an infringement on its sovereignty.

Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al Thani, director of the Qatari government's communications office, said the four countries have "regularly issued conflicting statements".

He said there had been no official communication made to Qatar directly or via Kuwait or the United States, who have tried to mediate the crisis.

"These latest comments are another example of the dangerous and disorganized manner in which the illegal blockade has been conducted," he said in an emailed response to questions from The Associated Press.

"At first there were no demands, but following pressure from mediating countries, the blockaders leaked a list of demands that was quickly deemed neither reasonable nor actionable," he added.

The apparently new list of six demands includes commitments to combating "extremism" and "terrorism", preventing financing and safe havens for armed groups, and suspending all acts of provocation and speeches inciting hatred or violence.

Qatar denies it has ever sponsored or supported "terror" groups and says the accusations are politically motivated.

The new list drops old demands that Qatar close down Al Jazeera; curb ties with Iran; kick out troops from NATO member Turkey, which has a base in Qatar, expel wanted figures; and pay reparations for damages allegedly caused by its policies.

The four countries accuse Qatar of supporting groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and say Qatar has given citizenship to wanted Brotherhood members and other figures.

Qatar's foreign policy stances have at times sharply contradicted Saudi and Emirati policy in the Middle East. Qatar has backed opposition groups across the region, which Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt deem a threat.

Qatar's Ministry of Interior announced that experts now have evidence showing that the cyberattack on the country's official media originated from the United Arab Emirates.
Qatar: Cyberattack Originated from UAE

During a news conference in Doha on Thursday, officials said the planning for the hacking of Qatar News Agency (QNA) started as early as April,
Al-Jazeera reported.

Investigators also reportedly traced the IP (internet protocol) address linked to the hacking to the UAE. Captain Othman Salem al-Hamoud stressed that the level and the quality of the hacking was so professional that it had to have "state resources" behind it.

Earlier, Lieutenant-Colonel Ali Mohammed al-Mohannadi, head of the ministry's technology division, declared that the hacking operation took place in coordination with, and through, "one of the blockading states".

The hackers had total control of the QNA network, including the related accounts, websites and related social platforms," Mohannadi said, adding that "this was meant to fabricate and post the false reports, which were attributed to His highness, the Emir."

Al-Mohannadi said state prosecutor was expected to take "the appropriate measures" in response to the findings of the probe, which indicated that the UAE was behind the hacking. He did not elaborate on what measures Qatar could take in response to the UAE’s alleged role in the issue.

He told a news conference in Doha that the "hacking" was undertaken "from two sites... in the Emirates".

The hacker took control of the agency's network, stole the accounts on its electronic site and uploaded fake information," Mohannadi added.

Qatar's government communication office had said in a statement that "the information published in the Washington Post... revealed the involvement of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and senior Emirati officials in the hacking of Qatar News Agency".

The report "unequivocally proves that this hacking crime took place", the statement quoted Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al Thani, director of the government communication office, as saying.

"This criminal act represents a clear violation and breach of international law and of the bilateral and collective agreements signed between the member states of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council, as well as collective agreements with the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and the United Nations," it added.

The statement stressed that an investigation is ongoing and that government prosecutors plan to take "legal measures" locally and abroad.

The Washington Post reported on Sunday, citing US intelligence officials, the United Arab Emirates was behind an effort to hack Qatari government news and social media websites, sparking a diplomatic dispute among Arab states.

The hack sparked anger among some Persian Gulf states over comments attributed to Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on sensitive issues, including Iran, Israel and the US.

The Post reported that US intelligence officials learned last week of newly analysed information that showed that senior UAE government officials discussed the planned hacks on May 23, the day before they occurred.

The newspaper reported that the officials disclosed that it was unclear if the UAE hacked the websites or paid for them to be carried out, while the Post did not identify the intelligence officials it spoke to for the report.

Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said Friday the small Persian Gulf emirate was willing to hold constructive talks with Arab rivals if they stopped meddling in its home affairs.
FM: Qatar Open to Talks with Arab States to Resolve Crisis

In a statement carried by the Foreign Ministry of China where he is on a working visit, the Qatari top diplomat urged Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt to make an effort to bridge the gap after the four nations imposed sanctions on Doha over its alleged support of terrorists, an accusation it denies, Sputnik reported.

"Qatar is ready to start constructive talks with all parties if they respect sovereignty and refrain from interfering in the country’s internal affairs and stick to international laws in order to rebuild mutual trust and make a serious step toward resolving the existing dispute," Al-Thani said during his meeting with the Chinese counterpart in Beijing.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also called the Arab states to urgent direct talks to stop the crisis from escalating and urged all sides of the standoff to exercise restraint.

He also remarked on an "important role" that the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council played in previous efforts to resolve regional rows.

Sources in the Royal family in Riyadh disclosed that Saudi King Salman bin Abdolaziz al-Saud has pre-recorded a statement to soon abandon power in favor of his son Mohammed bin Salman in the next few weeks as former crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef is still under house arrest.
Saudi King Plans to Leave Power Soon as Ex-Crown Prince's House Arrest Continues

According to Reuters, with Mohammad Bin Salman's sudden ascent, there is now speculation among diplomats and Saudi and Arab officials that King Salman is poised to abdicate in favor of his son.

Quoting a witness at the palace, one Saudi source said that King Salman this month pre-recorded a statement in which he announces the transfer of the throne to his son. The announcement could be broadcast at any time, perhaps as soon as September.

Also, the source close to Mohammed Bin Nayef disclosed that he would like to take his family to Switzerland or London but the king and his son had decided that he must stay, adding that "he wasn't given any choice."

A source close to Mohammed Bin Nayef also announced that he remains under house arrest to keep him out of circulation following his overthrow, with no visitors allowed except close family members. He is not taking calls. In the past week he was only granted permission to visit his elderly mother with the new guards assigned to him.

According to a report, on June 20 Mohammed bin Nayef was summoned to meet King Salman on the fourth floor of the royal palace in Mecca.

There, according to a source close to Nayef, as he is known, the king ordered him to step aside in favor of the king's favorite son because of his alleged drug addiction.

"The king came to meet Mohammed bin Nayef and they were alone in the room. He told him: 'I want you to step down, you didn't listen to the advice to get treatment for your addiction which dangerously affects your decisions'," the source close to bin Nayef said.

At dawn bin Nayef gave up, telling a palace adviser that he was ready to see the king. The meeting was short and bin Nayef agreed to step down and signed a document to that effect.

According to the adviser, when Mohammad bin Nayef left the king's quarters, he was surprised to see Mohammad bin Salman waiting for him. bin Nayef was embraced and kissed by bin Salman while television cameras rolled.

The source close to Mohammed bin Nayef acknowledged that he had health issues, which were aggravated after an al-Qaeda attacker tried to blow himself up in front of him in his palace in 2009. The health issues were corroborated by three other sources in Saudi Arabia and Arab official sources with links to the royal family.

The sources also announced that bin Nayef had shrapnel in his body that could not be removed and he depended on drugs such as morphine to alleviate the pain, as, according to one source, he had been treated in clinics in Switzerland on three occasions in recent years.

Fars News Agency (FNA) could not independently confirm Mohammed bin Nayef's addiction issues but it had earlier this month reported the possibility of Saudi king's leaving power to his son.


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Saudi whistle-blower Mujtahid, who is believed to be a member of or have a well-connected source in the royal family, disclosed that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had plotted to launch a coup against the government in Qatar.

Whistle-Blower Reveals Saudi Crown Prince's Coup Plot against Qatar

"Bin Salman had brought a member of al-Thani family in Qatar to Saudi Arabia to use him for a coup in the country and replace him with Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani after overthrowing the Qatari government," Mujtahid wrote on his twitter page on Tuesday.

He added that failure of plots to dethrone Tamim and the incapability of the Saudi-led coalition in imposing their demands on Doha has made the fugitive Qatari official a heavy liability for the Saudi officials and bin Salman is now trying to find a way to get rid of him.

A Saudi prince warned Riyadh against alarming rates of corruption in government bodies, saying that the problem of corruption has now grown into a grave cancerous tumor that has metastasized among his country's officials.
Prince Warns against Metastasized Corruption Cancer in Saudi Arabia

Prince Khalid bin Tallal warned against spreading corruption in the Saudi government and private sectors, and called on the country's media and officials to fight against what he called as "malign cancer" in the Saudi society.

"I had earlier heard of corruption among a number of state and private sector officials and staff, and that they have misused their posts to meet their own interests but I hadn't personally observed it until I witnessed the corruption of an official at one of the governmental bodies," he said.

"A network cooperated with the corrupt official and then I realized the cruelty and oppression that people have felt and faced," bin Tallal added without naming the governmental department that he had gone to.

In relevant remarks in 2015, Mujtahid, the well-known source in the Saudi royal family, disclosed that the Riyadh government's large-scale corruption at the highest military ranks has lowered the morale of the kingdom's officers and soldiers in the war against the revolutionary forces.

"The increasing financial corruption of senior Saudi officials and high-ranking officers has caused low-ranking officers to feel disappointed, thinking that they are only being used a tool by their commanders," Mujtahid wrote in his twitter page.

Mujtahid is a Saudi political activist who is believed to be a member of or have a well-connected source in the royal family.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt added nine people and nine organizations to its unified terrorist list over alleged ties to Qatar, local media reported Tuesday.
Four Arab States Add 9 Entities, 9 People to Terror List Over Ties to Qatar

On June 9, the four Arab nations put 59 people and 12 organizations on the terrorist list due to their alleged funding of terrorism and support received from Qatar. The countries warned that the list of individuals and entities supporting terrorism would be updated.

According to the Saudi Press agency, six entities from Libya and three entities from Yemen, including media and charitable organizations, as well as individuals from Qatar, Yemen and Kuwait were included on the terrorist list over their alleged ties with the Qatari authorities. The media outlet added that the individuals and entities added to the list were accused of providing support and funding for the Al-Nusra Front and Al-Qaeda terrorist organizations (both outlawed in Russia), as well as terrorist groups in Syria and Libya.

Russia expressed its readiness to help mediate, if approached, in a mounting political crisis in the Persian Gulf region between a Saudi-led quartet of Arab countries, the so-called siege states, and Qatar, as the unprecedented diplomatic rift further deepens.
Russian FM: Moscow Ready to Help Mediate in Qatar Row

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the remarks in an interview with the Kurdish television channel Rudaw, transcripts of which published on the foreign ministry's website on Monday.

“We are interested in this crisis being overcome, taking into account mutual concerns and finding solutions which will be acceptable for all participants of this process,” the Russian top diplomat further said. “We support the mediating efforts which are being made by the emir of Kuwait ... If, as part of those efforts or in addition to them, all sides think that Russia could also do something useful, we will be ready to respond to such appeals,” Lavrov added.

Minister of State for Defense Affairs Khalid Attiyah said that the ongoing row between Qatar and other Persian Gulf states did not affect the relations between Doha and Washington, and the countries will conduct joint military exercises soon.
DM: Qatar to Hold Joint Military Exercises With US, Turkey Soon

"I personally made a lot of efforts to ensure that Qatar's relations with Washington and Ankara were strong and constantly evolvin... I do not think that the US will refuse to cooperate with Qatar in the fight against terrorism," the minister told the RT broadcaster.

"Qatar and the United States are allies and partners in the international anti-terrorist coalition. Our relations are friendly and stron... Qatar, Turkey and the US regularly conduct joint military exercises in Qatar, and soon the next joint military exercises of the three countries (Qatar, the United States and Turkey) will begin," he added.

In mid-June, two US Navy ships took part in joint exercises with the ships of the Qatari Emiri Navy. The exercise plan provided for training firing, launch of missiles, as well as joint actions with Qatari and US air forces, including setting up the supply of ships and evacuating the victims with helicopters.

Turkish troops have also taken part in long-planned joint military exercises in Qatar, following a diplomatic rift between Doha and four other Arab states.


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angelburst29 said:
Qatar Faults 'Disorganized' Conduct by Saudi-Led Group

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain said that Qatar should commit to six principles on combatting "terrorism" and negotiate a plan to implement them, Aljazeera reported.

The four countries had initially made 13 sweeping demands, including shuttering Al Jazeera, which Qatar dismissed as an infringement on its sovereignty.
Could Netanyahu be behind the Saudi's demand that Qatar close down Al Jazeera?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday he will prepare legislation needed to shut down the Qatari-funded Al Jazeera television channel over its coverage of a dispute over a holy site in East Jerusalem.
Netanyahu Threatens to Shut Al Jazeera in Israel Over Temple Mount Row Coverage

"The Al Jazeera network won't stop stoking violence over the Mount. I’ve demanded several times that law enforcement authorities close the Al Jazeera bureau in Jerusalem. If this cannot be done due to legal interpretation, I will have necessary rules enacted to remove Al Jazeera from Israel," Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Facebook.

Qatar is ready to discuss the time and location of possible negotiations with the blockading Arab states after their response to US settlement initiatives voiced by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the Qatari Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
Qatar Ready for Talks After Arab States Reply to US Settlement Proposal – Doha

Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said that the United States wants to end the Gulf crisis and there is no response from the siege countries to the American proposals to resolve it … Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani stressed that the US proposals must be first responded to before any talk about setting a date or place for dialogue,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement referring to Al-Thani’s remarks to the Al Jazeera broadcaster.

The minister pointed out that Qatar appreciated the diplomatic efforts made by Kuwait as well as by Russia and the United States.

“The siege countries, the foreign minister said, are required to respond to the American proposals so that to discuss the issue of dialogue to resolve the crisis and that Qatar's position is advanced ahead of the position of the siege countries, adding that there may be pressure in the coming days on these countries,” the statement said without going into details about the possible pressure.


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The four countries leading the boycott against Qatar are going back to their list of 13 demands for Doha to meet before talks can start, essentially reverting the Arab Gulf spat back to square one.

"We're Back To Square One" - Saudi Bloc Reinstates Demands As Qatar Economy Collapses

At the same time, economic data for June shows that Qatar’s imports plummeted due to the blockade imposed by most of its neighbors, and foreign deposits at Qatari banks dropped to their lowest in nearly two years.

However, Qatar has a huge sovereign wealth fund, and boasts considerable foreign exchange reserves. Although Qatar’s non-oil economy is expected to see some pressure due to the fact that it has to use alternative trade routes, the world’s largest LNG exporter has not seen its LNG trade disrupted yet, which is precisely why analysts do not see the blockade as potentially crippling Qatar’s economy. Rather, they see it as merely straining economic growth.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – the four countries leading the boycott on Qatar – issued on June 22 a list of 13 demands to Qatar, which included severing ties with Saudi archrival Iran, and shutting down the Al-Jazeera TV network.

Two weeks ago, diplomats from the four countries signaled that they no longer wanted Qatar to comply with the 13 demands, instead proposing six broad principles that they want Qatar to sign onto. The principles included denying safe havens and financing to terrorists, combating terrorism and extremism, stopping incitement of hatred and violence, and refraining from interfering in the internal politics of other countries, the New York Times reported.

This past Sunday, however, the four countries said that apart from the six principles, they insisted on Qatar meeting those 13 demands, reverting to their original conditions, which analysts had thought were too steep for Qatar to meet.

“We are back to square one,” Abdullah Al-Shayji, a political science professor at Kuwait University, told Bloomberg, commenting on the latest twist in the Qatar crisis.

“We have not progressed an inch because we were under the impression that the 13 demands were not only null and void but channeled into six principles. It seems that they are not budging and are escalating,” Al-Shayji said.
The blockade imposed by the four states is forcing Qatar to seek alternative—and more expensive—routes for trade, and its imports dropped in June by 40 percent compared to June last year, Bloomberg data show.

Qatar is flying in cows from Germany to address milk demand, and is arranging new shipping routes through ports in neutral Oman.

But Qatar’s continuing oil and gas exports, as well as significant forex reserves, are the reason why analysts are not as pessimistic as they would have been if LNG trade were disrupted or cash reserves low. The latest Reuters poll on the Gulf economies lowered expectations for Qatar’s economic growth this year to 2.3 percent from the previous 3.5-percent-growth forecast. Still, analysts expected Qatar to outperform most of its neighbors, including Saudi Arabia whose median GDP growth estimate was reduced to just 0.1 percent this year, from 0.5 percent expected earlier.

The Qatar Central Bank has US$40 billion in cash reserves plus gold, while the Qatar Investment Authority has US$300 billion in reserves that it could liquidate, the Governor of Qatar Central Bank, Sheikh Abdulla Bin Saud Al-Thani, told CNBC in an interview in early July, one month into the blockade. “We have enough cash to preserve any - any kind of shock,” the governor said.

Qatar’s LNG flows are stable, Steve Hill, Executive Vice-President for Gas and Energy Marketing and Trading at one of the largest LNG traders, Shell, said on July 10.

On July 4, Moody’s changed the outlook on Qatar’s rating to negative from stable, on expectations that the dispute would not end quickly. But the rating agency affirmed the long-term issuer and senior unsecured debt ratings of Qatar, citing “sizable net asset position of the government and exceptionally high levels of wealth.”

“Moody's also acknowledges the fact that as long as hydrocarbon exports are not disrupted, the ongoing dispute will not affect the overwhelming majority of foreign exchange receipts in the current account balance and the bulk of government revenues,” the rating agency noted.
An end to the dispute is currently nowhere in sight. Just a day after the four states reverted to their 13 demands, Qatar said that it had filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) to challenge the boycott.

Qatar requested consultations with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE, triggering a 60-day period for the three countries to either settle the trade complaint or face litigation at the WTO, Reuters reported, citing the director of Qatar’s WTO office Ali Alwaleed al-Thani.

The United States has notified Qatar of its plans to send American diplomats to help tackle the Gulf diplomatic row.
Qatar Notified by US of Plans to Send Envoys to Tackle Gulf Crisis

Qatar received information from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about his plans to send US envoys to help settle the diplomatic crisis between Doha and four Arab states, Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani said on Wednesday.

"The US role is very important in settlement of this crisis… Tillerson said that he would send envoys on his behalf to resolve the ongoing impasse in which the mediation is currently finding itself," Al Thani said at a press conference, broadcast by Al Jazeera news channel.

The Qatari foreign minister noted that Emir of Kuwait Sabah Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah remained the main mediator in the diplomatic row.

The United Arab Emirates competed with Qatar for the support of the United States to host the embassy of the Taliban militant group, emails leaked by the Global Leaks anonymous hacker group quoted by media reports revealed.
Leaked Documents Reveal UAE Sought to Host Taliban but Lost to Qatar

According to a report by Newsweek, the UAE diplomat Mohamed Mahmoud Khaja wrote in an email dated September 12, 2011, to then-Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Jeffrey Feltman that there are signs showing that the US is backing setting up a Taliban embassy in Doha,
RIA Novosti reported.

Senior leaders of Taliban currently reside in Doha-based Taliban office opened in 2013. The original purpose for the presence of the leaders of the Taliban in Qatar was the organization of reconciliation talks between them and Afghanistan, the United States and other countries.

However, shortly after the opening, the Taliban's office was shut down by Qatari authorities. Some Taliban leaders remain in Doha, but the peace negotiations have come to a halt, and their office is no longer operable.

Khaja said then that UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan had been impressed that Abu Dhabi had been the first choice of the US, adding that UAE was informed about it by the United Nations envoy to Afghanistan.

In a separate email dated January 28, 2012, UAE Ambassador to the United States Yousef al-Otaiba addressed to other US official about similar complaints from bin Zayed, saying he had got an angry call from the minister.

"The Qataris want to be in the middle of everything those guys. So let them, it will eventually come back to… them," he wrote, as quoted by the newspaper.

The publication said that three former US officials had confirmed this week that the UAE had wanted to host the Taliban embassy.

A senior Taliban offical announced that Qatar played a major role in facilitating peace talks between Afghan officials and the Taliban by opening an office for the group in Doha.
Taliban: Qatar Plays Major Role in Peace Talks

The Taliban official's comments come as a series of leaked emails from UAE diplomats suggest the Emirati foreign minister was disappointed that US officials had chosen Doha over Abu Dhabi to host the office, Al-Jazeera reported.

The Taliban official, who is based in the Qatari capital, said the June 2013 opening of the unofficial embassy allowed for talks to develop.

"We got a chance to discuss with Afghan diplomats, journalists and analysts face-to-face on how peace can be achieved in Afghanistan," he told Al Jazeera, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

In 2016, Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, an international crisis group, organised a meeting in Qatar's Doha bringing Afghan diplomats, analysts and journalists to the table with the Taliban to discuss how to achieve peace.

"We've conducted many peace conferences in Doha and discussed many issues with the help of Qatari officials who played the role of mediators, and nothing else," he added.

That conference was not a part of the official process between officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the US aimed at charting a roadmap to peace.

But the Taliban official stressed that such meetings were important.


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China Purchases 14% Of Rosneft From Qatar
By Zainab Calcuttawala - Sep 08, 2017, 2:00 PM CDT
China made a new move to strengthen its relationship with Russia this week by agreeing to buy a 14 percent stake in the oil and gas company Rosneft, according to a new report by the Associated Press.

The $9 billion purchase will transfer the Qatar Investment Authority’s 14.16 percent Rosneft stake to CEFC China Energy Company Ltd., Glencore said on Friday. China bought the shares at a 16 percent premium to the Rosneft share price over the past month. Final negotiations and regulatory approvals are needed before the exchange goes through, however.

“This deal intensifies the energy relationship between Russia and China. A direct stake in Rosneft will make CEFC China the main driver for the relationship of Rosneft with China, ahead of CNPC, Sinopec and Beijing Gas,”
Wood Mackenzie senior analyst Christian Boermel said
. “Rosneft keeps its customers close to its heart – buy a stake, get an oil supply agreement. CEFC China could soon take stakes in Rosneft projects, either in cash-intensive upstream projects, or in the downstream.”
The Russian government will continue to own a majority stake of Rosneft after the purchase.

China and Russia have been strengthening their relationship over the past few years as Moscow’s hold over the European energy market begins to weaken. The European Union and Russia have been at geopolitical odds regarding Syria, Ukraine, and several other issues, prompting the EU to seek new sources of natural gas.

The QIA and Glencore acquired a 19.5 percent stake in Rosneft just nine months ago. The resale occurred so soon because Glencore, QIA’s partner in the deal, and the QIA itself looked to reduce debt repayments, according to Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin. The two investors will still own just over 5 percent of Rosneft, which is the portion they purchased with cash, instead of via credit lines.
President Trump offers to mediate Qatar-Gulf crisis (2:43)
Published on Sep 7, 2017
US President Donald Trump has offered to mediate in the three-month diplomatic dispute between Qatar and its neighbours, saying "we will be most successful [against terrorism] with a united" Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Speaking at a joint news conference with Kuwait's emir in Washington, DC, on Thursday, Trump said he supported Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah's mediation efforts but if that did not manage to resolve the Gulf crisis, the US president himself would be "willing to be a mediator". Al Jazeera's Kimberly Halkett has more from Washington, DC
Qatar emir officially inaugurates Hamad Port
Published on Sep 5, 2017


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Saudi Arabia suspends ‘all dialogue’ with Doha after phone talks with Qatar emir & Trump Vid-(05:58)
Edited time: 9 Sep, 2017 13:25
Riyadh is suspending all communication with Doha after Qatari media allegedly misreported the contents of the first phone talks on the crisis between the two Arab states, Saudi state media said. It comes after Donald Trump called on Gulf countries to unite against Iran.

On Friday, the Emir of Qatar contacted Saudi Arabia’s defense minister Mohammed bin Salman – recently elevated to the rank of crown prince – by phone to discuss the list of demands issued to Doha by the four Arab countries, led by the Saudis. Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE insist Qatar comply with the ultimatum if it wants an end to the ongoing economic and travel blockade.

Initial reports said Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani expressed his willingness to enter into negotiations with the quartet.

However, Saudi state news agency SPA soon broke the news that Riyadh was suspending all dialogue and communication with Doha and accused the Qatar News Agency (QNA) of “distorting facts” while reporting on the phone conversation.

"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announces the suspension of any dialogue or communication with the authority in Qatar until a clear statement is issued clarifying its position in public,"
the SPA reported.

QNA said the Saudi crown prince allegedly proposed to
“assign two envoys to resolve the dispute in a way that respects the sovereignty of states,” while both leaders “stressed the need to resolve this crisis… to ensure the unity and stability”
of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Al Jazeera reported.

The agency added that the call was coordinated with US President Donald Trump.

It was not immediately clear which part of the reporting Riyadh disputed. In the run-up to the announcement, both bin Salman and al-Thani held separate phone talks with Trump Friday after the latter expressed a willingness to mediate in the Qatari crisis. Trump also spoke to the UAE’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

In its statement following the talks, the White House said Trump highlighted the importance of unity among the Arab states in the battle against terrorism and as a counterweight to Iran, in particularly stressing the necessity to curb terrorism funding and to stamp out extremist ideology.

The four Gulf countries severed diplomatic ties with Doha on June 5, following the lead of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain which accused Qatar of supporting terrorist groups and interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. The bloc then imposed an economic and travel blockade on Qatar, demanding it accept a 13-point ultimatum for relations to be restored. Qatar, however, dismissed the demands, which included the withdrawal of Turkish forces from its territory, shutting down its Al Jazeera television network and cutting aid to extremist groups.

As the crisis unfolded, Trump joined the Saudi-led bloc in accusing Doha of sponsoring terrorism. Qatar hosts the largest US base in the region, the Al Udeid Air Base. Over 10,000 American service members are stationed there and Qatari soldiers regularly hold drills with US troops. The last such exercise was in June this year.
Saudi Arabia declares any dialogue with Qatar 'shall be suspended' Video (4:32)
PressTV News Videos (Discussion)
Published on Sep 8, 2017
Qatar’s Emir and Saudi Crown Prince hold a phone conversation in an effort to resolve a three-month-old diplomatic crisis.


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Middle-East Tensions Soar After Critical Phone Call
By Cyril Widdershoven - Sep 11, 2017, 6:00 PM CDT
One phone-call can change a geopolitical landscape.
The last bilateral contact between the Emir of Qatar Tamim Bin Hamad and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman last Friday is the best example. After some recent indications of a detente between the two Arab leaders, a crucial phone-call on Friday destroyed hopes of improving relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The two rival nations could be headed towards a real showdown.

No real information has been released on what was discussed between the two Arab leaders, but insiders indicated that the Qatari Emir offered to sit down to discuss the ongoing dispute with members of the quartet, which includes Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the UAE.

Since June these four have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of cuddling up to Iran, embracing non-state players that spread terror throughout the Arab World, allying themselves with the Muslim Brotherhood and supporting Qatari state-funded Al Jazeera TV.

The fact that Al Jazeera has played host to notorious figures in the past such as Osama Bin Laden, Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal, and Al Nusra’s leader Abu Mohammad Al Golani, has been a major bone of contention. Until now Doha has denied all charges of supporting terrorism, while refusing to alter its policies, claiming that the quartet’s demands “infringe” on it sovereignty.

The only real viable option - if regime change is the target – is a power change from within the Qatari royal family.

Qatari reformists are virtually non-existent, as economic links with the royal family are forming the current alliances and allegiances. Still, possible changes could emerge, as there are signs of growing unease within the Qatari armed forces and some parts of the royal family. An obvious contender for the Emir position is Abdullah Bin Ali, who is a distant cousin of Emir Tamim who appeared out of nowhere last August.

Saudi media already have been profiling him as an “emir-in-waiting”. After his meeting with the Saudi King and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman on August 17, Abdullah Bin Ali has shot up in the contender list. For Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, Abdullah is a viable option, as he is member of the ruling Al Thani dynasty. Abdullah’s brother Ahmad was the emir of Qatar that was toppled by Emir Tamim’s grandfather back in 1972. The current throne contender will be speaking at the London opposition conference. Several analysts have stated that Abdullah Bin Ali is also slated to replace Tamim at the next Arab Summit Conference in Saudi Arabia, in March 2018. The latter would need full support of the Arab Four leadership. In short, a radical change of power within the Qatari royal house is not unthinkable.

The jury is still out on the next on the next emir, but significant progress has been made over the last couple of days. Qatar also seems to be struggling on the economic front. Official figures, provided by Qatar, still reflect a stable economic environment, supported by increased trade with Iran, Turkey and Oman. But this optimistic data is being contradicted by international rating agencies, such as Fitch Ratings, which cut Qatar’s credit rating to AA- on August 28. Bloomberg at the same time showed that Qatar’s economic expansion is currently at its slowest rate since 1995, while Qatar’s foreign currency reserves have fallen by 8 percent in July, according to official figures.

Until now, rumors about a possible liquidity squeeze have not materialized. Qatar’s massive LNG business and its sovereign wealth fund represent two major buffers that have muted internal unrest or opposition.

Qatar’s wealth remains vast, as the country’s central bank has $40 billion in cash reserves plus gold, while the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has $300 billion in reserves. These resources are now being put to use in order to sustain the Qatari economy, as the sale of QIA’s stake in Russian oil and gas giant Rosneft indicates.

The sale by Glencore and the QIA of a 14.2 percent share in Russia's Rosneft to Chinese conglomerate CEFC could be a development to watch. The unexpected sale could have been linked to the Saudi-Egypt rift with Qatar. Rosneft holds a vast stake of deepwater offshore gas developments in Egypt (Zohr Field), which is not being looked upon by Cairo positively as Qatar is a main stakeholder. It would not be surprising if Egypt’s president Sisi and Saudi officials have put pressure on Moscow to curb its deals with Qatar at present. If the sale is agreed upon, QIA will own 4.7 percent and Glencore 0.5 percent, totaling around $9 billion. The QIA has also been divesting some of its stakes in Credit Suisse from August 5.

These high-profile divestments could indicate a growing financial squeeze. Direct result of this could be slower economic growth. The opposition is already waiting on the sidelines to strike, possibly supported by other GCC regimes. The Qataris are now facing a possible volatile period in time. The four Arab nations on the other side will be unwilling to change this state of affairs as long as Qatar’s Emir keeps his ties to Turkey and Iran in place. Changes will be made and Qatar’s royalty will have to act, as other Arab leaders may not stay silent for much longer.
Qatar-Gulf crisis boils over at Cairo meeting
Heated exchange of words, which erupted on live TV, is the latest chapter in the Gulf crisis, now in its fourth month.
Correction: 12/9/2017: A previous version of this article stated that Muraikhi accused Saudi Arabia of looking to replace the emir of Qatar with Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. This was incorrect. Muraikhi said Riyadh was seeking to replace the emir with Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani
Diplomats from Qatar and the four states blockading the Gulf nation have exchanged heated words at an Arab League meeting in Cairo.

Tuesday's row, which erupted on live television, is the latest chapter in the three-month-old Gulf crisis in which Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain are blockading Qatar.

The coalition cut diplomatic and trade links with Qatar on June 5, suspending air and shipping routes to their Gulf neighbour.

The four Arab states have accused Doha have supporting regional foe Iran and financing "terrorism", an allegation Qatar has rejected as "baseless".

Kuwait has been trying to mediate in the dispute.

Heated exchange

During his opening speech, Qatar's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad al-Muraikhi referred to Iran as an "honourable country" and said ties had warmed with its neighbour since the blockade.

In response, Ahmed al-Kattan, Saudi Arabia's envoy to the Arab League, said: "Congratulations to Iran and soon, God willing, you will regret it.

"If the brethren in Qatar think they may have a benefit in their rapprochement with Iran, I'd like to say that they have this evaluation wrong in every way. The Qataris will be held responsible for such a decision," Kattan said.

"The coming days will prove them wrong because we know that the Qatari people will never accept the Iranians to play a role in Qatar," he added.

UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said the Gulf crisis continued "due to Qatar's unwillingness for peace".

"Their direction needs to change and we will continue our policies until Qatar changes its policies of aggression against the four boycotting countries, as long as Doha supports and funds terrorism and intervenes in the Middle East countries' internal affairs," Gargash said.

Muraikhi, responded by saying that the crisis started when Qatar News Agency (QNA) was hacked by UAE-backed perpetrators who attributed false statement to the emir of Qatar.

"Then we saw this vicious media campaign against Qatar, waged by rabid dogs backed by some regimes," Muraiki said, adding: "Mr Anwar [Gargash] forgot to mention that the four blockading countries tried a military action against my country in 1996."
'All threats'

The Qatari diplomat lamented Kattan's tone in the exchange, saying: "[It] is all threats and I don't think he has the authority to threaten and speak like this."

The exchange then descended into a row during which Kattan and Muraikhi each told the other to be quiet.

Muraikhi said Saudi Arabia was looking to depose the emir of Qatar and replace him with Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani, a little-known Qatari sheikh who has been thrust into the limelight by the Saudi-led bloc.

"This is an improper thing to say because the kingdom of Saudi Arabia will never resort to such cheap methods and we don't want to change the regime, but you must also know that the kingdom can do anything it wants, God willing," Kattan said.

'All threats'

The Qatari diplomat lamented Kattan's tone in the exchange, saying: "[It] is all threats and I don't think he has the authority to threaten and speak like this."

The exchange then descended into a row during which Kattan and Muraikhi each told the other to be quiet.

Muraikhi said Saudi Arabia was looking to depose the emir of Qatar and replace him with Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani, a little-known Qatari sheikh who has been thrust into the limelight by the Saudi-led bloc.

"This is an improper thing to say because the kingdom of Saudi Arabia will never resort to such cheap methods and we don't want to change the regime, but you must also know that the kingdom can do anything it wants, God willing," Kattan said.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Muraikhi's comments were unacceptable.

"We know very well Qatar's long history in supporting terrorism and that they have provided weapons and funds in Syria, Libya, Yemen even inside Egypt that killed so many," Shoukry said.

Qatar backed a democratically-elected Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt before it was overthrown by the military in 2013.

The Arab states have demanded Qatar sever any links with the Brotherhood and other groups they deem to be "terrorists".
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Iran opposed to pressure, threats against neighbors
Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:32AM
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Islamic Republic is opposed to the application of any form of pressure and threat against its neighbors.

Zarif made the remarks during a meeting with Qatar’s Ambassador to Iran Ali bin Ahmed Ali al-Sulaiti, on Monday.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s policy in the region is clear. The region’s issues have to be resolved through dialog, and we are opposed to any pressure or threat, by whatever party, against [our] neighbors,”
[/i] the top Iranian diplomat said.

The two also addressed the expansion of the ties between Iran and Qatar, especially in the areas of economy and commerce.

Replicating Saudi Arabia, Qatar recalled its envoy to Iran in January 2016. Riyadh had withdrawn its own ambassador over demonstrations in front of the Saudi Arabian diplomatic premises in Tehran and Mashhad.

But Qatar later found itself in a dispute of its own with Saudi Arabia. On June 5, Riyadh led three other Arab states in severing ties with Doha and laying a partial siege to it in part because of what the Saudi government believed was better relations with Iran.

The four boycotting countries later demanded that Qatar downgrade its ties with Iran even as Doha had already recalled its ambassador.

Iran has taken a neutral stance on the Arab dispute and has called for dialog.

Qatar recently decided to return its ambassador to the Iranian capital. The United Arab Emirates, one of the countries boycotting Doha, publicly criticized the move.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) shakes hands with Qatari Ambassador to Tehran Ali bin Ahmed Ali al-Sulaiti before a meeting in Tehran, on September 11, 2017.
US, Saudi cohorts in sponsoring terrorism: Analyst
Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:59PM
An activist thinks the United States is providing the regime in Saudi Arabia with weapons and information to continue its policy of death and destruction in Yemen.

Ryan Dawson told Press TV on Tuesday that the governments in Washington and Riyadh were “cohorts” in sponsoring terrorism and wreaking havoc in other countries.

“To seek out help from organizations within the US or the UK who are selling arms to Saudi Arabia is barking up the wrong tree,” because “they don’t really care about what’s happening in Yemen.”

Yemen has been suffering from a deadly campaign led by Saudi Arabia since March 2015.

The war, which has also led to a naval and aerial blockade on Yemen, has so far killed over 12,000 people.

PressTV News Videos
Saudi airstrikes on Yemen amount to war crimes: HRW (3:55) Graphic Content
Published on Sep 12, 2017


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Qatar's former deputy prime minister said the United Arab Emirates planned a military invasion of Qatar with thousands of US-trained mercenaries, but it failed to secure Washington’s support.

Ex-Official: UAE Planned to Attack Qatar with US-Trained Mercs

Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah told the Spanish daily ABC earlier this week that the UAE hired a "Blackwater-linked" private security contractor to train the mercenaries, referring to the notorious American company that is now called Academi.

The training, he said, was aimed at invading Qatar to topple the Persian Gulf country’s emir and replace him with a ruler subservient to the Saudi-led bloc which has been boycotting Doha over the past months.

The UAE plan for the military action was prepared before the Qatar rift, but it was never carried out as US President Donald Trump did not give the green light to it, Attiyah added.

An unidentified official source told ABC that the mercenaries had received training at an Emirati military base at Liwa Oasis in Abu Dhabi.

Back in June, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the UAE imposed a trade and diplomatic embargo on Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism, an allegation strongly denied by Doha.

They presented Qatar with a list of demands, among them downgrading ties with Iran, and gave it an ultimatum to comply with them or face consequences. Doha, however, refused to meet the demands and said that they were meant to force the country to surrender its sovereignty.

In September, two people close to Trump told Bloomberg that Saudi Arabia and the UAE had been considering use of force in the early stages of their dispute with Qatar before the US president warned them to back off.

Additionally last month, a leaked email sent by Emirati Ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba to former US diplomat Elliott Abrams showed that Saudi Arabia had come close to "conquering" Qatar.

In the May 2017 email, Otaiba told Abrams that conquering Qatar would "solve everyone's problems and King Abdullah of Saudi came pretty close to doing something in Qatar a few months before he died in January 2015.

In 2011, The New York Times reported that dozens of Colombians posing as construction workers had entered the UAE to become part of a secret mercenary army set up by Blackwater with over $500 million in financing from the monarchy.

Blackwater founder Erik Prince was hired by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi to put together an 800-member battalion of foreign troops for the UAE, according to the report.

Saudi Arabia praises the hardline policy of Donald Trump toward Iran as relations between Tehran and Riyadh have been strained for a long time. The Sunni-led kingdom considers Shia Iran to be its main rival in the Middle East.
Saudi King Salman Welcomes US Strategy Toward Iran

Saudi King Salman bin Adulaziz Al Saud held a telephone conversation with US President Donald Trump and welcomed Washington’s policy toward Tehran, praising the role of the US administration, local media reported Sunday.

According to the channel Al Arabiya, King Salman also noted that the US administration recognizes the challenges and threats coming from Iran, and stressed the need for united actions against terrorism, calling Iran its main sponsor.

Iranian Foreign Minister claimed that his country is willing to support Saudi Arabia's move to improve bilateral relations.
Iran Ready to Support Saudi Arabia in Improving Bilateral Ties

Iran is ready to improve bilateral relation with Saudi Arabia whenever the latter expresses a similar interest, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Thursday.

“If the Saudi authorities take steps to improve their relations with us, Iran will certainly respond in a positive manner,” Zarif was quoted as saying by the Anadolu news agency.

The two states are expected to begin a series of diplomatic contacts next month, the news outlet reported. The Saudi delegation will pay visits to Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran's cities of Tehran and Mashhad. Iran's diplomats, in turn, will visit Iran’s embassy in Saudi Arabia.

“The reciprocal [diplomatic] visits will probably take place after the current Hajj season,” Zarif added.

The relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran deteriorated in 2011 after the eruption of protests in the Muslim countries known as the Arab Spring. Iran supported Shia forces in several countries, while Saudi Arabia backed the Sunnis.

In January 2016, Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties with Iran after protesters stormed the Saudi Embassy in Iran in response to Riyadh's execution of prominent Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr.


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Mexican Narcos Invest in Dubai
Thursday, June 14, 2018 Translated by Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: Universal
Investigative Report June12, 2018 Check out: C4ADS

The luxurious city of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has become in recent years a den of international magnates enriched with criminal capital and sanctioned by the United States Treasury.

Along with smugglers of nuclear material, sponsors of armed conflicts, kleptocrats, money launderers and financial terrorists also appears Mexican Hassein Eduardo Figueroa Gómez , a businessman from Jalisco who, along with his father, Ezio Benjamín Figueroa Vázquez, was identified as a drug trafficking ringleader by the Kingpin Act in 2012.

The Sandcastles-Tracing Sanctions Evasion Through Dubai's Luxury Real Estate Market report from the private firm Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS), located in Washington, to which Universal had access, Figueroa Gómez and Figueroa Vázquez were accused by the US of trafficking tons of chemical precursors from Europe and sub-Saharan Africa to Mexico, to sell to Mexican cartels to produce methamphetamines.

Ezio Benjamín Figueroa Vázquez was arrested in Mexico in 2011, while Hassein Eduardo Figueroa Gómez remains a fugitive; despite this, C4ADS points out, "it seems to have used Dubai as a base to continue its commercial activities", through transactions for at least $4.34 million dollars in luxury goods.

According to the report of the nonprofit analysis center, which specializes in transnational organized crime, weapons proliferation networks, "financial threats" and environmental crimes, all of its companies remained "active for years after being appointed" as leader of drug trafficking by the Department of the Treasury and are managed by two partners, Rodrigo Romero Mena and Leopoldo Ochoa Juraez or Juárez, the latter killed in Mexico in 2012.

Due to its weak regulatory framework, especially in the real estate sector: "Dubai has offered a way to the international financial system for illegitimate actors and illicit funds," says the document published today in different countries.

Evading detection:

For the researcher who coordinated the report, whose name remains in reserve, it is possible that Figueroa Gómez and other partners "are operating in Dubai and in other jurisdictions where their presence or participation is less expected, which allows them to evade detection."

Although the Mexican government has not focused on the Middle East, it notes that "the Figueroa case could serve as a starting point," which is why it recommends identifying the connections and, in the case of Dubai, establishing cooperation with the UAE. Among the nations of origin of the criminals who choose as Dubai base, he said, are Mexico, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria and Iran.

The niches of the four companies are commerce in general, investment, construction and real estate; the investigation points out that the pattern is similar to that found in the United Arab Emirates, since "they were incorporated before the appointment of Figueroa Gómez in April 2012; however, they continued to operate several years later. "

The report concludes that Figueroa Gómez "seems to have carried out multiple commercial operations of companies in Dubai and has invested approximately $4.34 million dollars in properties. All of its companies - three in the UAE and four in Cyprus - continued to be included in the corresponding corporate records after their designation in the US. At least one is still active today. "

In the seven companies appear two main business partners: Rodrigo Romero Mena and Leopoldo Ochoa Juraez or Juárez. The second, linked to three of the seven companies, was murdered at 36 years of age in 2012 in our country and was linked to Mexican cartels.

Even the singer Gerardo Ortiz dedicated a song to him, in which he talks about "closing agreements with the princes" and "flying in a private plane in the Middle East."

Both were co-owners or co-directors of all the companies with Figueroa Gómez and their percentage of shares was similar. Romero Mena is a shareholder in six and is also director of a firm located in Canada, registered in 2016. He also owns a penthouse in Dubai, in the luxurious Pentominium tower, whose cost is not currently valued. "Apparently he is a long-time associate of Figueroa Gómez, with whom he has worked before and after his appointment," says the report.

In the chapter on Mexico, it is detailed that Figueroa Gómez, accused in the US of drug trafficking and conspiracy to launder money, owns at least three properties in Dubai with a value of $1.1 million dollars, $2.57 million dollars and $667,000 USD; the most expensive corresponds to a penthouse.

It would also have at least seven companies, three with domicile in the UAE and four in Cyprus that would not have been investigated by the Treasury Department, unlike the 16 companies located in Jalisco and Panama with which Figueroa Gómez and his father were identified by the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Law).

The Emirati companies are dedicated to the trade, investment and sale of methamfetamines products:

Mexico Lindo Trading (registered in 2006), Maestro Investment, Sona Valley (2008) and Diamonds (2008), which implies that they were established before they will be sanctioned by the EU and that they operated at least between 2014 and 2016.

In the case of Cyprus, Figueroa Gómez has also been the owner and operator of companies, registered as Ergonas Trading Limited, Forcata Holdings Limited Rio Timto Ltd and Greenfield Studio Limited, which continues to operate, although it could be disbanded due to recent inactivity that has registered . 100% of its shares are owned by the Mexican, which in most other companies is the largest shareholder.

Commerce in general:

Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates, in the Persian Gulf, is chosen by billionaires from different parts of the world to settle or invest because it is "a particularly favorable destination" for funds of illicit origin, especially in the real estate, where controls are relaxed.

Nuclear proliferation:

In addition to Figueroa Gómez, C4ADS also points to Wael Abdulkarim and Ahmad Barqawi for financing conflicts in Syria; to Kambiz Mahmoud Rostamian and Hossein Pournaghshband for nuclear proliferation in Iran; Altaf Khanani for financial terrorism in Pakistan; to Kamel and Issam Amhaz in Lebanon, also for financial terrorism, and to Rami Makhlouf for corruption in Syria.

He stresses that despite the fact that the authorities have taken action, the response of the UAE to confront this criminal activity is still "limited". "The weakness of the regulatory system can strengthen and empower a variety of global illicit actors," he insists.

All these people, sanctioned by the US Treasury, add properties for at least $28.2 million dollars and others more involved in business for $78.8 million dollars.

According to C4ADS, the three coincidences they have are: their assets are directly linked to sanctions imposed by the Kingpin Law; They have corporate networks with ties in Dubai and branches in Mexico, Romania, Syria, Hong Kong, Lebanon and the British Virgin Islands, and finally, they use third party networks through family members, lawyers and business partners.


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Qatar’s Fund Pays $4.2B To Become Rosneft’s Third-Largest Shareholder |
Nov 06, 2018, 2:00 PM CST
Qatar Investment Authority will pay some US$4.2 billion (3.7 billion euro) for a 14.16-percent stake in Russia’s biggest oil producer Rosneft, thus becoming the third-largest single shareholder after the Kremlin and BP, the Russian company said on Tuesday.

The deal with the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar is the final episode of a saga in which a little-known Chinese company until that point, CEFC China, said in September last year that it had agreed with a consortium of Glencore and Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) the terms of sale of the consortium’s 14.16-percent stake in Rosneft.

However, in March this year, Chinese authorities started investigating the chief executive of CEFC China Energy, Ye Jianming, on suspicion of economic crimes. The investigation was part of a wider crackdown on private Chinese businesses after President Xi Jinping’s government warned that no Chinese billionaire, no matter how well-connected, is safe from scrutiny and investigation.

The investigation and troubles of CEFC China Energy raised concerns over the agreement that it had signed to buy 14 percent in Rosneft from Glencore and QIA.

In early May, Glencore said that the Glencore-QIA consortium notified CEFC of the termination of the agreement, and the 14.16-percent stake in Rosneft that the Chinese company was to buy would be transferred to a wholly owned subsidiary of QIA. The Qatari investment vehicle will end up holding 18.93 percent in Rosneft and become its third-largest shareholder behind the Russian government and UK supermajor BP. Glencore will retain 0.57 percent in Rosneft.

In September this year, Glencore said that the transaction in which the Glencore-QIA consortium was selling the 14-percent stake in Rosneft to a wholly owned unit of QIA had been completed.

As of October 1, 2018, Rosneft’s top three shareholders were JSC Rosneftegaz—which is 100-percent owned by the federal government—with a 50-percent stake, the Russian unit of BP with 19.75 percent, and the Qatari fund’s subsidiary QH Oil Investments LLC with 18.93 percent.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for

MIDEAST STOCKS-Banks support Qatar recovery, Oman up sharply | Reuters
November 8, 2018 / 2:30 PM / Updated 2 hours ago By Muvija M
* Oman’s index enjoys best day in nearly 2 months
* Saudi heavyweights Al Rajhi Banking, SABIC fall
* Qatar stages recovery as banks rise
* Emirates NBD drags on Dubai index

Nov 8 (Reuters) - Qatar’s bourse gained sharply and recovered some of its losses from the last two sessions, while the Oman index registered its best day in nearly two months as telecom and bank stocks gained. Other Gulf markets were mixed.

Qatar’s main index booked a 1.1 percent rise and snapped two sessions of losses, buoyed by a 3.1 percent rise in Qatar National Bank and a 4.5 percent rise in Qatar Fuel Co.

The main Saudi index moved lower by 0.6 percent, dragged down by industry heavyweights Al Rajhi Banking & Investment and Saudi Basic Industries Corp, which both fell nearly 1 percent.
Saudi Cable Co slid 5.7 percent after third-quarter sales plummeted 43.1 percent, while Arabian Pipes dropped 2.6 percent after posting a loss for the same period.

Saudi Fisheries outperformed the market, surging 10 percent.

“We are not seeing liquidity move into the local markets yet despite the good (earnings),” Marie Salem, director of capital markets at FFA Private Bank in Dubai said.

“Investors are still not too comfortable investing in the region in general and in the local markets in particular,” Salem added.
The Oman blue-chip bourse rose 1 percent, marking its biggest one-day gain since Sept. 12, supported by a 5 percent jump in Oman Telecommunications Co.

Abu Dhabi’s index edged 0.3 percent higher, recovering from early losses, as Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank gained 1.2 percent and heavyweight Emirates Telecommunications edged higher by 0.4 percent.

Abu Dhabi National Energy reversed course to fall 0.9 percent despite recovering from a year earlier loss to post a third-quarter profit as higher oil prices boosted its revenue.

The Egyptian blue-chip index rose 0.9 percent, boosted by a 2 percent gain in Commercial International Bank after it a reported a 53 percent jump in its net interest income for the third-quarter.

The Dubai index edged down 0.1 percent, weighed on by a 2.2 percent fall in the region’s biggest lender Emirates NBD.
Emirates NBD has applied to Turkey’s competition authority to take over Turkish lender Denizbank, a posting on the competition authority’s website showed on Thursday.

Outperforming the index, Damac Properties climbed 3.9 percent higher.

SAUDI ARABIA * The index was down 0.6 percent at 7,743 points. DUBAI * The index was down 0.1 percent at 2,826 points. ABU DHABI * The index rose 0.3 percent to 5,029 points. QATAR * The index was up 1.1 percent at 10,368 points. BAHRAIN * The index was down 0.2 percent at 1,313 points. OMAN * The index was up 1 percent at 4,491 points. EGYPT * The index rose 0.9 percent to 13,733 points. KUWAIT
* The index rose 0.1 percent to 5,299 points. ($1 = 3.7509 riyals) (Reporting Abinaya Vijayaraghavan and Muvija M in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Saeed Azhar in Dubai; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

Qatar’s emir addressed the national assembly on Tuesday and discussed economic growth, plans for the energy industry and infrastructure projects. But it’s what he didn’t say that will likely attract more attention.

During the 17-minute annual speech, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani didn’t mention anything about efforts to end the Saudi-led boycott of his country, or respond to the Saudi crown prince’s surprising praise of the Qatar economy’s resilience last month in Riyadh.

While the emir isn’t known for grand public overtures, the speech also highlights what economists describe as Qatar’s successful efforts to weather the impact of the embargo imposed by Saudi Arabia and three of its allies in June 2017.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, on the other hand, is under U.S. pressure to resolve the standoff as his country grapples with the international outcry that followed the murder of government critic Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Turkey.

Read More: Qatar Gives Top Jobs to Executives, Younger Royals in Revamp

The emir also didn’t mention the reasons behind his decision to reshuffle the cabinet on Sunday, when he elevated younger royals and prominent business executives to top leadership positions in the biggest leadership shakeup since taking power in 2013.

Instead, the emir focused on plans to develop Qatar’s infrastructure ahead of the 2022 soccer World Cup finals, as well as efforts to maintain its position as the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas.
— With assistance by Walid Ahmed

A message at the core addressed by a member of the People's Assembly
Tunisian state # Qatar after condemning the recent terrorist operation, saying:
The Tunisian people do not wait for your condemnation. They want you to stop supporting the money and arms of terrorist groups in Libya, Tunisia and Syria
He cited the words of the poet
Omar al-Asi What you forget .. And you Asakm Zad
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