Qatar Balks At Saudi Ultimatum That Would Force It To Surrender Sovereignty

Immediately after Saudi Arabia and its Gulf State client shiekdoms released an ultimatum containing 13 demands to which Qatar must agree as a precondition for the resumption of diplomatic ties and an end of the Saudi economic and naval blockade, the tiny kingdom on the Persian Gulf described the ultimatum as neither “reasonable” nor “realistic”, and claimed it would infringe on Qatar’s sovereignty. 

“This list of demands confirms what Qatar has said from the beginning – the illegal blockade has nothing to do with combating terrorism, it is about limiting Qatar’s sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy” said  Sheikh Saif Al Thani, of Qatar’s official communications office, according to Bloomberg.

The full list contained demands  such as reducing Qatar’s diplomatic representation in Iran, cancelling the Turkish military base being established there (Turkey has already balked at the threat), severing ties with terrorist organizations, shutting down Al Jazeera and all affiliated channels, and so on. The demands are explicitly aimed at dismantling Qatar’s two-decade-old interventionist foreign policy, which has reflected the clout generated by its vast natural gas and oil wealth but incensed conservative Arab peers over its alleged support for extremist groups they regard as threats to their dynastic rule.

Al Thani dismissed the demands and said the list is “under review”, but only “out of respect for our brothers in Kuwait” whose emissary delivered the Saudi demands on Friday (22 June). Al Thani said that the demands do not meet the US and UK criteria for “reasonable and realistic measures.”

Meanwhile Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said it will soon issue an official response, one which we doubt Saudi Arabia will like as the bid/ask in the early stage of the negotiations is being established. 

“The State of Qatar is currently studying this paper, the demands contained therein and the foundations on which they were based, in order to prepare an appropriate response,” the ministry told Channel News Asia.

On Friday, Qatar’s news outlet Al Jazeera responded to Saudi demands that it be shut down as part of the “renormalization” process. “We in the network believe that any call for closing down Al Jazeera is nothing but an attempt to silence the freedom of expression in the region and to suppress people’s right to information,” Al Jazeera said in a statement.

“By accepting those demands and conditions Qatar will be subject to international accountability and violating its commitments regarding human rights conventions,” Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee said in a statement cited by Reuters.

Meanwhile, a senior United Arab Emirates official told Reuters what would happen if Qatar refused to comply with the Arab ultimatum, saying there would be a “parting of ways.”

“The alternative is not escalation, the alternative is parting of ways, because it is very difficult for us to maintain a collective grouping,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told reporters.

Gargash urged Qatar to meet the demands. “It would be wiser that [Qatar] deal seriously with the demands and concerns of the neighbors or a divorce will take place,” Anwar Gargash said on Twitter in Arabic, adding, that “the crisis is profound.”


UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash

In other words, another attempt at a backdoor deal orchestrated by Saudi Arabia failed because someone leaked something, only this time it didn’t involve Trump being a KGB secret agent.

Gargash said that if Qatar fails to comply within the 10-day timeline set out in the ultimatum, it will be isolated. But he did not make clear what more could be done since the four Arab nations have already cut diplomatic relations with Doha and severed most commercial ties.

Despite verbal assurances that there will be no further escalation, Qatar is preparing for the worst, as two contingents of Turkish troops with columns of armored vehicles have arrived in Doha since the worst crisis among Gulf Arab states for years erupted on June 5.

The uncompromising positions adopted by both sides leave little prospect for a quick end to the crisis. The sanctions have disrupted Qatar’s main import routes by land from Saudi Arabia and by sea from big container ships docked in the United Arab Emirates. But Qatar so far has avoided economic collapse by quickly finding alternative channels (mainly through Iran which made the Saudis even more pissed off) and says its huge financial reserves will meet any challenges.

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Qatar Close To Running Out Of Dollars?

Let’s be honest, the Saudi-led campaign to starve Qatar’s citizens of food and businesses of trade was doomed from the start, while the Saudi’s my feel they can rely on big bully boy best mate the USA to deter anybody thinking of helping Qatar, with both Turkey and Iran volunteering to provide food and other essentials to the tiny Gulf nation while <a href=”http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-12/bypass-food-embargo-qatar-will-pay-8-million-airlift-4000-cows”>local entrepreneurs have started a cow paradropping campaign</a> to beat the blockade on milk imports,&nbsp; the key factor is what will Russia’s President Putin do.

Putin has little time for the Saudis, is fed up of American meddling in the middle east, and is a strong ally of both Iran, the real target of the Saudi move against Qatar, and of Syria’s President Assad. And Putin is well aware of the role the USA and Saudi Arabia have played in sponsoring the iSIS / Al Nusra war in Syria. In fact, right up to the end of his failed presidency Barack Hussein Obama was telling the world America’s priority in Syria was not to defeat the terrorists of ISIS but to remove Assad and open the way for the Saudis to install a Muslim theocracy that would support its own extreme version of Islam.

A new problem has now emerged in Qatar, the world’s biggest source of natural gas: the financial system is running out of dollars. Bloomberg reports that several Qatari banks have boosted interest rates on dollar deposits to shore up liquidity as the Saudi-led campaign to isolate the gas-rich state intensifies.
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Adding to concerns of a monetary blockade, Bloomberg also reports that some banks in neighboring countries have been offloading investments in Qatar amid concerns of a widening of the blockade.

Qatar is the world’s wealthiest nation on a GDP/capita basis and is well able to withstand a prolonged financial siege, and defend its currency and economy. Finance Minister Ali Shareef Al Emadi&nbsp; played down the impact of the crisis on the country, in an interview with CNBC on Sunday (11 June) saying the plunge in Qatari assets last week was a “normal” reaction to the standoff.

Finally, the question nobody dares ask out loud is, “Where does Russian president Vladimir Puting stand on all this. Well aware of the US role in this latest crisis and the real reasons behind it (reported <a href=”https://originalboggartblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/10/germany-foreign-minister-warns-qatar-crisis-could-lead-to-war-as-qatar-asks-moscow-for-support/&#8221; target=”_blank”>HERE</a> and <a href=”https://originalboggartblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/11/irans-warships-sail-to-oman-as-the-qatar-crisis-deepens/&#8221; target=”_blank”>HERE</a>) Puting has said the US has “got a false sense that it is able to do everything without any consequences,” in particular after the Soviet Union’s collapse.

“In such a situation, a man or a country begins to make mistakes… Putin said. The state begins to function ineffectively. One mistake follows another. That is the trap in which, as I believe, the United States got caught into,” Putin reflected during a press conference.<strong><em>

“I believe that if you think you are the only world power, trying to impose on the whole nation the idea of their exclusiveness, this creates an imperialistic mentality in society, which in turn requires an adequate foreign policy expected by society. And the country’s leaders are forced to follow this logic. And in practice this might go contrary to the interest of the Americans…. It demonstrates it’s impossible to control everything.”</em></strong>

 

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Which some might interpret as a warning to the USA to stay out of the middle east and mind its own business.

 

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Iran’s warships sail to Oman as the Qatar crisis deepens.

We highlighted the developing crisis around Qatar, the oil and gas state in the Persian Gulf over the past two days. Not only does the latest news from the Gulf suggest the situation is getting more dangerous, there are signs it is threatening to spread.

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On Sunday (11 June), the 47th flotilla of the Iranian Navy, comprised of an Alborz destroyer and Bushehr logistic warship, set sail from the southern port city of Bandar Abbas to take up positions off Oman, in the approaches to the Gulf, Tasnim News reports.. Oman has so far stood aside from the conflict between Wahhabi Muslim Saudi Arabia and the Iranian backed shia Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen and from other conflicts in the Arab world triggered by the so – called Arab Sping resurgence of Islamic extremism. From Oman, the ships will head to the Gulf of Aden and international waters in the northern reaches of the Indian Ocean.

At the same time, the 46th flotilla, is due to return to Iran on Sunday after completing a two-month mission to protect merchant vessels and oil tankers in the Gulf of Aden. The Iranian Navy has been conducting patrols of the region since November 2008 as part of international anti-piracy efforts.

“Today, there is some controlled insecurity in the Gulf of Aden and we have been able to escort over 4,000 oil tankers and cargo ships to the safe regions without any disruption in our plans for oil and non-oil exports and imports,” Admiral Sayyari told Fars News Agency.

The Gulf of Aden, which lies between the Horn of Africa and the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, is a major concern to security agencies in the west and east. The war in Yemen between the Saudi-backed government and Houthi rebels has led to a number of ships in the area coming under attack. Meanwhile, pirates in Somalia have been taking advantage of the chaos to launch raids on merchant vessels passing through the area, one of the busiest shipping routes for oil in the world.

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Germany Foreign Minister Warns Qatar Crisis Could Lead To War As Qatar Asks Moscow For Support

10 June, 2017

German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel is worried that the blockade of air and sea ports in Qatar by Saudi Arabia and its Muslim extremist allies in the middle east could lead to a new regional war in the Gulf region. In an interview with  Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, he said “There is a danger that this dispute could lead to war” This would represent a “dramatic” escalation in tensions between Qatar and neighbouring countries in the Gulf.

Gabriel said personal talks this week with his the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, and phone calls with the foreign ministers of Iran and Kuwait underscored his concerns. “After my talks this week, I know how serious the situation is, but I believe there are also good chances to make progress,” he concluded.

Gabriel also referred to a phone conversation with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the Gulf situation on Friday and said that Tillerson showed a “very wise and prudent attitude” that has contributed to calming the conflict.

Yet while Tillerson was “calming” the conflict, President Trump appeared to be adding fire to it, when the president accused Qatar of being a “high level” funder of terrorism even as the Pentagon and Tillerson cautioned against the military, commercial and humanitarian effects of a blockade imposed by Arab states and others. Trump is talking bollocks of course, while its true that Qatar does support terrorist activity, both Saudi Arabia and the USA are far bigger suppliers of arms, money and expertise to terrorist organisations.

Today Saudi Arabia and Bahrain welcomed Trump’s demand for Qatar to stop supporting terrorism, but did not respond to a U.S. Department of State call for them to ease pressure on the tiny but wealthy Gulf state. After severing ties with Qatar on Monday, Saudi Arabia said it was committed to “decisive and swift action to cut off all funding sources for terrorism” in a statement carried by state news agency SPA, attributed to “an official source”.

The real cause of the conflict is not Qatar’s support for terrorism of course, but its abandonment of support for the US / Saudi pet project of an oil and gas pipeline from The Gulf through Syrian territory to the Mediterranean.It seems the Qatari’s have grasped the idea that Assad, with support from Iran and Russia, is winning the war against ISIS despite US and Saudi intervention in support of the Islamic extremists.

A separate SPA report on acknowledged Tillerson’s call for Qatar to curtail support for terrorism, but did not mention his concession that apart from was hurting ordinary Qataris and impairing business dealings in The Gulf it is also harming the U.S. fight against the Islamic State militant group. Saudi Arabia said its action followed the conclusions of last month’s Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, where Trump delivered a speech about Islamic extremism.

Meanwhile the joker in the middle eastern pack, Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan vowed to continue supporting Qatar. “Now, there are ones who are bothered because of us being together with our Qatari brothers or sending and exporting food supplies, drugs etc – no matter if they are in hunger or thirst – should excuse us. We will continue to give all our support to Qatar,” Erdogan said at an iftar (fast-breaking meal) with members of his AK Party in Istanbul, quoted by RT.

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What’s Really Happening With Saudi Arabia and Qatar Will Not Be Televised

 While mainstream media is in a frenzy over what former FBI chief James Comey will say to a Congressional hearing about Donald Trump’s alleged links with Russia and attempt to shut down an investigation into those links, the UK election, Islamic extremist terrorism, football’s latest multi – million transfer deals, etc., as usual the really big story is hardly being reported. We bring you the story from The Anti Media, published here under creative commons licence.

June 7, 2017 at 11:04 am

Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, and the Maldives — spearheaded by Saudi Arabia — have severed almost all of their ties with Qatar. The move comes just days after hacked emails from the Hotmail account of a wealthy, prominent UAE ambassador, Yousef Al-Otaiba, showed that a number of countries were conspiring to denigrate relations with Qatar (and Iran).

The official justification for Saudi Arabia’s rift with Qatar is that the latter country aligns with terrorists and threatens national security. However, both Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been alleged to support ISIS, and Saudi Arabia’s history of support for terrorist organizations surpasses that of almost any other state in the world (with the exception of probably the U.S.). In fact, the British Home Office is currently refusing to release a report on terrorist funding — commissioned by former Prime Minister David Cameron — because it focuses too heavily on Saudi Arabia.

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So what could really be behind this deterioration between Qatar and its former allies?

Unsurprisingly, the real issue at play consists of a Pandora’s Box of money, oil, natural gas, and geopolitics.

Qatar is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas. It is for this reason that many analysts believe Qatar was heavily involved in attempting to overthrow Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Assad had scrapped a potential deal with Qatar, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, opting for a natural gas pipeline deal that would involve Iran and Iraq, instead.

In April 2017, Qatar lifted a self-imposed ban on developing the world’s biggest natural gas field, which it shares with Iran, in an attempt to stave off an expected rise in competition, particularly from Russia.

Iran, too, is home to large natural gas reserves, and after a shortage of domestic gas, the Islamic Republic sought to capitalize on the 2015 nuclear accord by ramping up production on their share of the gas reserve. In November 2016, Iran signed a deal with France’s Total to develop this project. Iran is expected to surpass Qatar’s gas production by next year, and Qatar has been left with no choice but to join in the venture, though they deny Iran prompted their response to lift the ban.

“What we are doing today is something completely new and we will in future of course … share information on this with them [Iran],” Qatar Petroleum’s Chief Executive Saad al-Kaabi said, as reported by Haaretz.

Qatar has no current plans to go to war with Iran, unlike the rest of the Arab Gulf states. Not long after Donald Trump sword-danced his way through the Middle East, raving incessantly about the so-called Iranian threat, Qatari state media released a report that appeared to show Qatari ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani give a speech describing his respect for Iran and his support for Hamas. Qatar immediately claimed the report was actually the result of a hack, but the UAE and Saudi Arabia still believe the report to be genuine.

Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut Qatar from its so-called coalition of countries wreaking havoc on Yemen has come with its political repercussions. Iran immediately expressed support for Qatar in this struggle, as have the Houthi militias operating inside Yemen. The Houthis are already stating they are willing to cooperate with Qatar — even though Qatar was fighting against them for approximately two years.

Qatar is not following the playbook. In Libya, Egypt and Qatar are currently fighting a proxy war as they are both backing different rival camps that are vying to assert power in the war-torn nation. Though Qatar clearly shared NATO’s sentiment in ousting Muammar Gaddafi from Libya and attempting to overthrow Assad in Syria, Qatar’s support for organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood are largely seen as political challenges to the Saudi alliance.

Qatar is home to America’s largest base in the Middle East, with over 11,000 servicemen currently deployed there.

“The United States and the Coalition are grateful to the Qataris for their longstanding support of our presence and their enduring commitment to regional security. We have no plans to change our posture in Qatar,” Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway, Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement. “We encourage all our partners in the region to reduce tensions and work towards common solutions that enable regional security.”

The U.S. cannot afford to intentionally destroy its relationship with Qatar outright, but it can certainly allow its client states in the region to do its bidding for them. As Otaiba’s recently hacked emails show, some very powerful people in Washington support putting pressure on Qatar in order to bring it to its knees and force it to comply with the rest of the region.

Though the U.S. military’s statement appears to be an attempt to mitigate the damage of the fallout, as usual, the one wildcard element that no one can account for when unraveling geopolitical strategies is Donald Trump’s personal Twitter account. Trump has already tweeted his support for the economic blockade on Qatar and even appeared to take credit for the initiative.

But what will the U.S. and the other Gulf states achieve by implementing this policy? So far, all it seems to be doing is pushing Qatar even closer to Iran, and the U.S. may lose yet another vital ally from the anti-Assad alliance, further complicating the battleground as the framework continues to be set for an all-out regional conflict.

Creative Commons / Anti-Media / Report a typo

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Is football governing body FIFA Corrupt?

Years too late there seems to be a kerfuffle about the FIFA decision to stage the 2022 World cup in Qatar, a tiny but oil rich nation that has no football stadiums, no football teams, no football pitches, no grass (not of the kind involved in lawns anyway) but shitloads of money and a despotic ruler whose son likes football.

As the decision to hold a World Cup tournament in Qatar in the middle of summer when temperatures in the desert nation can reach a zillion degrees fuckmeitshotigrade was made far earlier than was necessary some curmudgeonly types said bungs had been handed to officials of football world governing body FIFA to help them make the decision that was best for football and for fans who could afford to stay in any of the Kingdom’s many incredibly expensive six star hotels and support their national team.

How very dare you accuse us upholders of the Corinthian spirit of corruption, howled FIFA officials, hastily trying to stuff bundles of banknotes and anonymous bearer bonds into their pockets.

So can we believe their protestations of innocence or is the football governig body corrupt. The clue is in the name. FIFA – a fee fa this, a fee fa that.

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Proof that the Football Authorities Are A Bunch Of C***s

“What have those FIFA loons done now Ian,” you might well ask as if any further proof of what is stated in the headline were needed.

Well, you know that the oil rich desert kingdom of Qatar (population 103) was selected to stage the 2022 World Football (or Soccer for the benefit of our American followers) World Cup?

And you know that Qatar did not have any football teams (apart from those playing in European leagues that have been bought by wealthy Quatari Sheiks)and consequently no football stadia?

For a lot of people in the traditional football playing nations the decision to stage the tournament in a tract of sand dunes was proof enough that the self important bureaucrats of the Federation Of International Football Associations were to a man, cupid stunts.

As if to underline that conclusion, in the design chosen for the Al Wakrah stadium which will host the World Cup final, the complex looks like a lady’s ………….. well, lady bits.

FIFA world cup Al Wakrah stadium
Picture source: http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2013/11/18/1384790064345/Al-Wakrah-stadium-011.jpg

The fact that they are playing in what looks like a gigantic concrete and steel effigy of a minge may not affect most player (Wayne Rooney will not be playing in 2022 and the stadium would be brand new rather than over 50 years old). Such a faux pas does nothing for the credibility of a game which had little credibility left.

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