Saudi Arabia and allies make Qatar grievances official

Saudi Arabia and its allies have given Doha ten days to comply with the demands.

Long-term showdown. People walk past the Qatar Airways office in Manama. (Reuters)


2017/06/25 Issue: 112 Page: 5


The Arab Weekly
Mohammed Alkhereiji



London- Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates made their grievances with fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member Qatar offi­cial.

Among the main demands in the document is for Doha to sever ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, close the Al Jazeera media net­work, downgrade its ties with Iran and shut the Turkish military base in Qatar, a leaked copy of the list indicated.

Kuwait, which has been medi­ating the crisis, has given Qatari officials a list of demands from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, with a 10-day grace period for implementation.

The demands are likely to irritate the leadership in Doha because most of them relate to Qatar’s re­gional policies, both undeclared and public.

The demands call for Doha to cease funding terrorism, cut ties with extremist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Is­lamic State (ISIS), al-Qaeda, Fatah al-Sham and Hezbollah, and de­clare all such groups terrorist enti­ties.

Qatar must reduce diplomatic relations with Iran and limit com­mercial relations to what is permit­ted under international sanctions. It must also deport any member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

The list also calls for the closure of the Al Jazeera network and its af­filiates. Doha has previously con­sidered such demands a non-start­er. Moreover, media outlets funded directly or indirectly by Doha, such as the London-based Al Araby Al Jadeed and the Middle East Eye, should also be shut down, the de­mands state.

Qatari officials did not imme­diately respond to the list of de­mands but Turkey was quick to reject the call to move its military base out of Qatar. Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Isik said in an inter­view on Turkish television that his country has no plans to review its 2014 agreement with Doha.

UAE State Minister for Foreign Af­fairs Anwar Gargash accused Doha of leaking the demands and ad­vised the Qatari leadership to take its neighbours’ concerns seriously.

“Qatar leaking demands [and] concerns of its neighbours and Egypt [is] either attempt to un­dermine serious mediation or yet another sign of callous policy,” Gar­gash wrote on his official Twitter account.

He said the leak to the media would prolong the crisis and un­dermine diplomatic efforts to re­solve the conflict.

“It would be wiser that (Qatar) deal seriously with the demands and concerns of the neighbours or a divorce will take place,” he added.

Saudi Arabia and its allies have given Doha ten days to comply with the demands. However, if Do­ha’s rhetoric before receiving the demands is an indicator, positions seem to be shifting further from a negotiated resolution.

Qatar’s attorney general tried earlier to pin the blame for the statements attributed to the emir of Qatar and which triggered the crisis on the hacking of its news agency by countries that have cut off diplomatic relations with Doha.

“Qatar has evidence that certain iPhones originating from countries laying siege to Qatar were used in the hack,” Qatari Attorney General Ali Bin Fetais al-Marri said. Qatari official comments came after Doha initially blamed Americans for the alleged hack, after which they blamed Russian hackers.

The United Arab Emirates broad­cast statements highlighting seri­ous allegations of Qatari destabi­lisation activities within Emirati borders. Abu Dhabi TV aired an in­terview with Qatari intelligence of­ficer Second Lieutenant Hamad Ali Mohammad Ali al-Hammadi, who said he was tasked with creating fake social media accounts to at­tack the UAE, Gulf News reported.

Hammadi, who is serving a 10- year prison sentence for espionage, said he received his directives from Qatari Intelligence’s Digital Depart­ment.

The crisis erupted after state­ments attributed to Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani criticising US foreign policy and praising Iran were carried by the official Qatari News Agency. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Doha on June 5, saying that Qatar contin­ued to interfere in their countries’ internal affairs and supports radi­cal groups such as Hamas, the Tali­ban and the Muslim Brotherhood.


Mohammed Alkhereiji is the Arab Weekly’s Gulf section editor.


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