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Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain cut all ties to Qatar


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Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar


CNBC with Reuters 6/4/2017

Saudi Arabia and three other nations broke diplomatic relations with Gulf Arab state Qatar on Monday, pointing to Doha's ties to terrorism and the need to maintain national security.


Riyadh ended all land sea and air contacts with Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt also cut ties with Doha on Monday. The coordinated move dramatically escalates a simmering dispute over Qatar's support of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world's oldest Islamist movement, and adds accusations that Doha even backs the agenda of regional arch-rival Iran.


Saudi Arabia's official state news agency, citing an official source, said the kingdom had decided to sever diplomatic and consular relations with Qatar "proceeding from the exercise of its sovereign right guaranteed by international law and the protection of national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism".


Saudi Arabia cut all land air and sea contacts with Qatar "and urges all brotherly countries and companies to do the same."


Charles Lister, a senior fellow at the Middle Eats Institute, responded on Twitter to the news by pointing out that Qatar "is very heavily reliant on food supplies accessed" through Saudi Arabia, so a closing of the borders poses a "very" serious challenge to Doha.


Qatar is the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and has extensive air and banking links throughout the countries that snapped diplomatic ties. State-owned flag carrier Qatar Airways uses air terminals in all of the countries and has extensive links to Europe, Asia and the United States.


Qatar said in May that hackers had faked remarks by its emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, criticizing some leaders of fellow Gulf Arab states and calling for an easing of tensions with Iran, a regional adversary.


But several Gulf Cooperation Council states rejected Qatar's explanation, leaving local media to unleash a barrage of attacks accusing the emir of cozying up to Tehran.

Qatar shares the world's largest gas field, South pars, with Iran. The commercial and business ties have irritated Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries at odds with Iran over Tehran's support for Shia-linked militants.


Doha has long been accused of ties to Islamist movements and groups in the regions.


Bahrain, a close Saudi ally, also said on Monday it has cut diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing its fellow Gulf Arab state of backing terrorism and interfering in Bahrain's internal affairs.


Bahrain is also cutting air and sea contacts with Qatar and was giving its citizens in Qatar 14 days to leave.


The United Arab Emirates' decision to cut ties with Qatar was reported by state news agency WAM, accusing its Gulf Arab neighbor of supporting extremism and undermining regional stability.


The Emirates gave diplomats 48 hours to leave the country, citing their "support, funding and embrace of terrorist, extremist and sectarian organisations," WAM said.

—Reuters and NBC News contributed to this report.





It seems to all stem from this story.........


Hackers leak emails from UAE ambassador to US

Emails taken from inbox of Yousef al-Otaiba reveal Emirati ambassador played role in campaign to tarnish Qatar's image.

UAE21 hours ago


Hackers have released the first series of emails taken from the inbox of the UAE's ambassador to the United StatesYousef al-Otaiba.


The Intercept reported on Saturday that the emails, released by a group called "Global Leaks", show a close relationship between al-Otaiba and a pro-Israel, neoconservative think-tank - the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).


The hacked emails, some of which date back to 2014, reveal a high level of backchannel cooperation between the FDD, which is funded by pro-Israel billionaire Sheldon Adelson, and the UAE


They also appear to show clear collaboration between the FDD and the UAE on a campaign to downgrade the image and importance of Qatar as a regional and global power, including collusion with journalists who have published articles accusing Qatar and Kuwait of supporting "terrorism". 


Zaid Jilani, one of the authors of The Intercept report, told Al Jazeera the emails support previous allegations "that there is a growing axis between some of the Gulf countries, like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and Israel". 


David Hearst, the Editor in Chief of Middle East Eye, told Al Jazeera the emails laid bare the "mechanism" behind "a very high stakes campaign that is being launched against Qatar". 

Otaiba is a well-known figure in US national security circles - he has been called "the most charming man in Washington" - and has participated in Pentagon strategy meetings at the invitation of defence officials.


The release of the leaked emails comes a week after a cyberattack on Qatar's official news agency, during which fake remarks critical of US foreign policy were posted and attributed to the Qatari Emir.


Saturday's email leak includes an exchange in which FDD senior counsellor John Hannah - a former deputy national security advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney - complains to Otaiba that Qatar is hosting a meeting of Hamas at an Emirati-owned hotel. 


Otaiba responds that the UAE is not at fault and that the real problem lies with the US military base in Qatar.


He writes: "How's this, you move the base then we'll move the  hotel :-)"


The leak also includes a proposed agenda for an upcoming meeting between the FDD and the UAE government scheduled for June 11-14.


The agenda includes in-depth discussions specifically on Qatar, including Qatar-based Al Jazeera, and its links to the Muslim Brotherhood.

One item on the agenda is: "Al Jazeera as an instrument of regional instability".


"They actually discussed recasting Al Jazeera as a disruptive network, a network that is causing instability and chaos, rather than recognised good journalism," The Intercept's Jilani told Al Jazeera. 


Attendees set to take part in the June meeting include former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Mark Dubowitz, CEO of FDD.


Other FDD emails ask for meetings with high-ranking figures including Mohammed bin Zayed - the crown prince who runs the UAE's armed forces - as well as Mohammed Dahlan, a former strongman of the Palestinian Fatah group who now lives in Abu Dhabi.


A large portion of the emails focus on "U.S./UAE policies to positively impact Iranian internal situation" and to "contain and defeat Iranian aggression". 


Another email in the leak shows the FDD and the UAE looking to pressure businesses to pull out of Iran. 


In early March, Dubowitz emailed Otaiba a list of non-US businesses operating in Saudi Arabia or the UAE "looking to invest in Iran". 


"This is a target list for putting these companies to a choice, as we have discussed," Dubowitz wrote. 


Hearst, of the Middle East Eye, told Al Jazeera he believed the leaked emails showed a clear "agenda" by ruling figures in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt.


They have "seized" on Donald Trump's presidency in the US, "and now they're using him as a way of getting the job done, which includes getting rid of Al Jazeera... and also muffling Qatar".




This is a pretty serious story. Anyone know what to make of all this?



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Hmmm. I smell a regional conflict. Qatar isnt much different than the Saudis in giving money to terrorists. I'd assume Qatar is snuggling up to Iran which in turn has pissed off the Saudis just like Yemen. 

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4 hours ago, Lancaster said:

The world should just embargo the whole Middle East.  Just let them fight among themselves.  


Open up to them once they've grown up a bit.  

My sentiment exactly...no matter at times they show solidarity and voice a united front against the west, it's basically a tribal mentality over there. Factor in some religion and ancient hatreds dividing them, it's a powder keg waiting to blow.  Why doesn't somebody just light the fuse and they can return to the 11th century they seem to so admire.  If it wasn't for the west developing an oil industry early in the last century camel dung would still heat their tents on cold desert nights.  We created a very bad situation with our need for petroleum.

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