Qatar crisis impacts on the rest of the MENA region

The “Qatar vs GCC + Egypt” crisis carries on at not only the expense of Qatar but to also all concerned such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.  We elaborated on this last aspect in our Latest Diplomatic Crisis impacts Dubai City http://www.mena-forum.com/36806-2/ where we anticipated significant losses for Dubai, Riyadh and Manama alike.  Life carrying on unabated, there must surely be drawbacks for everyone during and after this semi-political upheaval between the parties.  The impacts of the Qatar crisis on the rest of the MENA region have yet to be measured and accounted for. 

Following is a Chatham House conference of Qatar’ Foreign Affairs Minister’s response to the 13 points demand of Saudi Arabia and its allies.

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The “Qatar vs GCC + Egypt” crisis carries on at not only the expense of Qatar but to also all concerned such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.  We elaborated on this last aspect in our Latest Diplomatic Crisis impacts Dubai City  where we anticipated significant losses for Dubai, Riyadh and Manama alike.  Life carrying on unabated, there must surely be drawbacks for everyone during and after this semi-political upheaval between the parties.  The Qatar crisis impacts on the rest of the MENA region have yet to be measured and accounted for. 
Following is a Chatham House conference of Qatar’ Foreign Affairs Minister’s response to the 13 points demand of Saudi Arabia and its allies.

The Crisis in the Gulf: Qatar Responds

The foreign minister of Qatar outlined his country’s position and response to the accusations made and diplomatic measures taken against Doha by a number of countries including Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

https://youtu.be/8ksR1C8B2HA

05 July 2017

HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani, Minister of Foreign Affairs, State of Qatar
Chair: Dr Robin Niblett CMG, Director, Chatham House

Overview

The foreign minister of Qatar outlined his country’s position and response to the accusations made and diplomatic measures taken against Doha by a number of countries including Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

More information at The Crisis in the Gulf: Qatar Responds

The Crisis in the Gulf: Qatar Responds The foreign minister of Qatar outlined his country’s position and response to the accusations made and diplomatic measures taken against Doha by a number of countries including Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Play 0:00 / 1:09:37 Fullscreen Mute Share 05 July 2017 HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani, Minister of Foreign Affairs, State of Qatar Chair: Dr Robin Niblett CMG, Director, Chatham House 01:09:37 Overview The foreign minister of Qatar outlined his country’s position and response to the accusations made and diplomatic measures taken against Doha by a number of countries including Saudi Arabia and the UAE. More information at The Crisis in the Gulf: Qatar Responds

Latest Diplomatic Crisis impacts Dubai City

The Gulf countries plunging into their latest diplomatic crisis impacts Dubai city. This crisis by all accounts would definitely have some bearing on that city that tied its future to that of being a centre for the whole and detail retail trade not only for the GCC countries. It is and by far the main point of convergence of all world imports destined for Qatar. All goods whether from Europe, the Americas and / or the Asian sub-continents would automatically transit by Dubai’s Jebel Ali. Up to now that is. The analytics of such blockade of Qatar will shortly be available if however these were not to be willfully distorted for those obvious reasons. We will dwell here on oil and gas related exports that also but only in part pass through some GCC ports before leaving the Gulf.
Meanwhile what are the consequences of the above mentioned blockade of Qatar on Dubai? For instance on its ports and airports. What about its banking system. Could we take the proposed article as some sort of an answer? Although it is that of an expert, we believe that the Qatar boycott has not been factored in yet and if that were to be, it could not affect Dubai but possibly the whole of the Gulf countries . . . .

The Gulf countries plunging into their latest diplomatic crisis impacts Dubai city. This crisis would by all accounts and definitely have some bearing on that city that tied its future to that of being a centre for the whole and detail retail trade not only for the GCC countries but for the whole region.  It is and by far the main point of convergence of all world imports destined for Qatar.  All goods whether from Europe, the Americas and / or the Asian sub-continents would automatically transit by Dubai’s Jebel Ali.  Up to now that is.  The analytics of such blockade of Qatar will shortly be available if however these were not to be willfully distorted for those obvious reasons. We will not dwell here on oil and gas related exports that also but only in part pass through some GCC ports before leaving the Gulf.
Meanwhile what are the consequences of the above mentioned blockade of Qatar on Dubai?  For instance on its ports and airports.  What about its banking system.  Could we take the proposed article as some sort of an answer?  Although it is that of an expert, we believe that the Qatar boycott has not been factored in yet and if that were to be, it could not only affect Dubai but possibly the whole of the Gulf countries.

Dubai’s retail sector faces short-term hiccups as rents fall

Landlords offer tenant-friendly terms to retain them, says JLL.

Dubai’s retail sector will continue to face challenges in the short-term, but long term prospects are bright, according to JLL.

In its latest Dubai real estate report, the global consultancy said the sector witnessed single digit rent declines in the second quarter of the year, confirming the fact that the market remained under pressure.

“While the short-term picture for retail in Dubai is challenging due to the slowdown in the rate of economic growth and the strength of the US dollar, the medium to longer-term picture remains more positive,” it said.

Given the high supply, landlords continued to adopt approaches to leasing that are favourable to tenants, in order to retain them, JLL said.

According to the report, only one neighbourhood retail mall was completed in Jumeirah Islands, adding 2,800 square meter (sqm) of gross leasing area (GLA). Nearly 220,000 sqm of GLA is currently under construction that is expected to be completed by year-end, with The Pointe on Palm Jumeirah and Marsa Al Seef in Al Hamriya expected to contribute more than 50 percent of the total.  Dubailand will add nearly 40,000 sqm of GLA which is scheduled to be finished in the second half.

JLL said Dubai undoubtedly is the leading retail location in the Gulf region, with 3.39 million sqm of retail malls, ahead of other major cities such as Abu Dhabi (2.62 million sqm), Jeddah (1.21 million sqm) and Riyadh (1.17 million sqm). On an international scale, Dubai has approximately twice as much retail space per capita as London, indicating its reputation as a major international retail hub.

The consultancy said delays may occur given the soft market conditions.

“The pressure to complete and hand over projects is expected to intensify in the coming two years, in anticipation of the potential boost to retail spending around Expo 2020,” the consultancy said.

The retail sector, JLL said, continues to evolve, with retail brands and centres merging both online and offline experiences as lines between bricks and mortar and online retailers blur.

In the second quarter, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it expected e-commerce to account for 10 percent of Dubai’s total retail trade in the near future.

 

 

How to improve the Climate of Business in Algeria

This brief analysis is a synthesis of the Doing Business Report 2017 data compiled upto and as of June 1, 2016. The indicators are used within the context of Algeria to analyze economic outcomes of countries of the same calibre and identify the regulatory reforms of all legislation that are required so as the economies where they have been adopted and the reasons for which they have been implemented have born fruits. The question that such report brings to mind would therefore be about how to improve the Climate of Business in Algeria and how to go about it.  

In the meantime, the above mentioned report findings were that :

Starting a business
Algeria made starting a business easier by eliminating the minimum capital requirement for business incorporation.

Dealing with construction permits
Algeria made dealing with construction permits faster by reducing the time to obtain a construction permit.

Getting electricity
Algeria made getting electricity more transparent by publishing electricity tariffs on the websites of the utility and the energy regulator.

Paying taxes
Algeria made paying taxes less costly by decreasing the tax on professional activities rate. The introduction of advanced accounting systems also made paying taxes easier.

This brief analysis is a synthesis of the Doing Business Report 2017 data compiled upto and as of June 1, 2016. The indicators are used within the context of Algeria to analyze economic outcomes of countries of the same calibre as first reviewed back in October 2016 and identify the regulatory reforms of all legislation that are required so as the economies where they have been adopted and the reasons for which they have been implemented have born fruits. The question that such report brings to mind would therefore be about how to improve the Climate of Business in Algeria and how to go about it.  
In the meantime, the above mentioned report findings are excerpted below:
  • Starting a business
Algeria made starting a business easier by eliminating the minimum capital requirement for business incorporation.
  • Dealing with construction permits
Algeria made dealing with construction permits faster by reducing the time to obtain a construction permit.
  • Getting electricity
Algeria made getting electricity more transparent by publishing electricity tariffs on the websites of the utility and the energy regulator.
  • Paying taxes
Algeria made paying taxes less costly by decreasing the tax on professional activities rate. The introduction of advanced accounting systems also made paying taxes easier.

 The authors state at the outset that there are some important areas not covered by the Doing Business report and that it does not evaluate all of the factors such as policies and institutions that affect the quality of the framework of the economic activity of an economy or its competitiveness. It does not for example,  consider the macroeconomic stability, the development of the financial system, the size of the market, the frequency of bribery and corruption, nor the quality of the workforce, deadlines and costs as related to the logistics of the import and export of goods, indicators on the cross-border trade, or the cost of international transport as well as the effect of roads, rail, ports and inadequate communication systems that can have on operating a business and their consequences in terms of competitiveness.

However, if this report does not evaluate and/or is not intended to assess the benefits of all social and economic programs funded by tax revenues, assessing the quality and efficiency of the business regulation is something to take into account in the debate on the burden on enterprises regulatory objectives, which may vary from one economy to another.

The score awarded to each country on entrepreneurship is based on the following criteria.

– Procedures, deadlines, costs and supply minimum capital required to create a limited liability company.

– Obtaining a building permit:-procedures, time and costs related to execution of all required formalities and controls of quality and security in the system of obtaining a building permit.

– Connection to electricity: procedures, time and costs of connection to the electric network, electricity supply reliability and transparency of prices.

– Transfer of property: procedures, delays and costs of ownership transfer, and quality of the land administration system.

– Getting credit: laws on the pledging of movable property and credit information system.

– Protection of minority investors: rights of minority shareholders in transactions between related parties and corporate governance.

– Taxes and payments: payments, delays and total pay for a business applying all tax legislation as well as procedures subsequent to its declaration.

– Cross-border trade: delays and costs associated with the export of a product with a comparative advantage.

– Performance of contracts: delays and costs of settlement of a trade dispute and quality of court proceedings.

– Insolvency regulation: delays, costs, results and recovery rates in insolvency cases and solidity of the legislation in this area.

– Regulation of the labour market: labour regulation flexibility and aspect of the quality of employment.

 

The three main conclusions of this report are:

  • Europe and Central Asia have improved significantly more commercial regulatory over time than any other region.
  • It is in the area of entrepreneurship that economies have improved their regulatory processes the most.
  • The economies in which it is easy to create a business tend to have lower levels of inequality in income on average.

 

Doing Business 2017 in its 14th Edition gives the following classification:

The first ten are :

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

New Zealand with a note of

Singapore

Denmark

Hong Kong

South Korea

Norway

UK

USA

Sweden

Mecedoine

87.01

85.05

84.07

84.21

84.07

8282

82.45

82.13

81.74

80.87

 

Classification of the major countries. 

17.

22.

25.

28.

29.

32.

34.

40.

42.

50.

Germany

Canada

Portugal

Netherlands

France

Spain

Japan

Russian Federation

Belgium

Italy

79.87

78.57

77.40

76.38

76.27

75.73

75.53

73.00

73.19

72.25

 

Ranking of middle  of the pack countries

63

66

68

69

74

77

78

83

94

102

116

120

122

123

130

Bahrain

Oman

Morocco

Turkey

South Africa

Tunisia

China

Qatar

Saudi Arabia

Kuwait

Argentina

Iran

Egypt

Brazil

India

68.44

67.73

67.50

67.19

65.50

64.89

64.28

63.66

61.11

59.55

57.45

57.45

56.64

56.53

55.27

Ranking of countries at lower grades than 50 requiring deep reforms

149

150

155

156

159

160

164

165

169

173

Bolivia

Niger

Bénin

Algéria

Ethiopia

Mauritania

Gabon

Iraq

Nigeria

Syria

49.85

49.57

48.52

47.76

47.25

47.26

45.88

45.61

44.63

41.43

 

Ranking of countries with less than 40 points

180

184

186

187

188

189

190

Tchad

Républic of Congo

South Sudan

Venezuela

Libya

Erythrea

Somalia (last)

39.07

39.28

33.48

33.37

33.19

28.05

20.29

 

In summary, the deplorable ranking at the 159th of Algeria that belies the euphoric statements of the former Minister of Industry having induced on the line the country’s authorities, and which I had been cautioning against on several occasions the Government, does not reflect the country’s significant potential.  There is no more a justifying speech that in anyway no-one believes in, therefore the only way is to go towards the necessary reforms to improve the business climate that primarily depend on Algerians themselves.

This ranking together for that matter many others would explain the collapse of the productive fabric and the importance of all hard currency services outflow and legal capital transfer that annually amounted between 2010 and 2016 to $14 / $15 billion to which the value of imports of goods need to be added for the calculation of currency.  These were $60 billion in 2013 and were brought back to $45 / $47 billion in 2016 and are currently extrapolated to be around $45 / $46 for 2017 giving approximately a total of $60 billion still less than what could paralyze the entire economic machine whose integration rate does not anyway exceed 15%.

Let us remember that the reserves of $114 billion as per the official data of both the IMF and the Bank of Algeria as at December 31, 2016. The Governor before the National Assembly on April 12, 2017 gave the amount of $109 billion as at end of March 2017 and as recorded by the official press agency APS.

With the deficit of the balance of payment as shown, during the first five months of 2017 customs statistics and those of the Office of National Statistics, reflecting an outflow of currency between April, May and June 25, 2017, the amount should be less than $109 billion on July 1, 2017.

According to this report, which gives a central place to the analysis of the informal sphere, an effective regulation would facilitate access of companies to the market, creation of jobs, productivity and the improvement of the levels of economic development in general; each new reform of the regulation is associated with a substantial increase in economic growth and thus improvement of the standard of life of the citizens. This report points out to what Haidar & Hoshi (2015) made 31 recommendations to achieve this goal for reform, classified into six different categories, depending on whether the reform is administrative or legal, and according to the level of potential resistance at the political level. 

By Dr Abdulrahmane Mebtoul, Mobile +213 0661552928- fax +213 041415837- +213 041446148

The challenges for the new Government of Algeria

TEBBOUNE faces a productive fabric weakness and foreign exchange reserves declining, dire imports restrictions, and exports awkward regulations.

The challenges for the new Government of Algeria will be such that it will probably be before budgetary tensions between 2017 and 2020 with the current outflow of hard currencies (goods and services – legal transfer of funds) of approximately $60 billion by end of 2017, and very limited revenues to account for.  Except for blind restrictions which are likely to lead to great social tensions by a push of the inflationary process, the amount of foreign exchange reserves only $109 billion in February 2017, whereas the importance of the renewed governance, shared sacrifice, and an urgent reorientation of the entire socio-economic policy adapting to the new global changes.

1 – On June 9th, 2017 morning, the price of Brent is $47.65 and the WIT at $45.42.  Pondering in retrospect on the negative experience of the war economics of the years 1991/1993, leading the country right to the IMF, a discourse of truth is needed for as much as realism is concerned but away from bureaucratic injunctions of the past.

In 2017 rather than in the 1970s, the economic situation is made up of 83% of small business / enterprises, the industrial sector representing less than 5% of the Gross Domestic Product, (97% of small innovative SMI/SMEs); the informal sphere holding more than 50% of the economic life and 97% of Dollar revenues are directly and indirectly hydrocarbons related.  And above all, the lack of vision of adaptation is noticeable while the world is at the dawn of the fourth economic revolution of 2017/2030 with major geostrategic upheavals including Africa and the Middle East (1).

Taking data from the ‘Office National des Statistiques’ (ONS) for the first four months of 2017, imports of goods will roughly be about $46/47 billion.  According to data from the IMF for 2017 outflow of hard currencies on services would be of $10.5 billion, against $9.9 billion for 2016 and between $3.5 and 4 billion of legal transfers of capital (this amount is bound to increase with the rule of 49 / 51% according to the IMF to $7/8 billion by 2019/2020) and giving us single reference document at the level of the balance of payments, and not trade balance, an extrapolated outflow of about $60 billion.

However, currency entries would vary between $30/32 billion, if the average price of 2017 were between $50/52 a barrel.  Impact of the fall in the price of hydrocarbons, presumably being of long term, disturbing forecasts growth for Algeria by the IMF and the World Bank (WB) dated June 5th, 2017 for the years 2017 and 2018, are below the rate of population growth.  This would bring the official unemployment of 11% in 2016 to more than 13% in 2018. So the WB brought back its growth projections for Algeria in 2017 to 1.8% against 2.9% as projected in its report last January and for 2018, real GDP growth is expected to be even lower at 1% down from 1.6% compared to the 2.6% as anticipated in January.

According to Jean François Dauphin, the head of mission of the IMF, Algeria has the capacity to diversify its economy through ambitious structural reforms that would allow it to move out of its dependence on hydrocarbons. And, one of the tasks facing the new Government Tebboune would be to put these reforms into the works, through a pedagogical format, requiring a return to confidence without which no development is possible, in the direction of the population on rail.

The most important, for the Government will be to cope with the economic and social situation which will have to face an exceptional crisis with the long-lasting low prices of hydrocarbons and deepen a comprehensive reform, reconcile economic efficiency and bring some necessary social cohesion to which I am deeply attached.  We can hypothesize that it is the State which is lagging behind society that produces rules that allow functioning.  An economic model that is not represented by political, economic and social forces would have no chance of being operationally carried through.

It will be to first identify the different stakeholders in the process of economic reforms, whether favourable or unfavourable, be they national or foreign. In a second step, it will be to proceed with the analysis of the strategies that they are implementing to support reforms, block them or, in default, slow them down, in assessing the means put at the service of these strategies.  This is a good chance for Algeria, where it will manage all structural reforms between 2017 and 2020 perhaps difficult in the short term but hopefully fruitful in the medium term by 2019/2020 .

Summarising, in 2017, a blind import restriction may paralyze the economic machine, 70% of the needs of public and private companies are indeed from overseas with a rate of integration exceeding not 15% and eventually lead to social tensions. There is above all a matter of lowering costs, especially in services, improve on management and fight off corruption so as not to penalize the disfavoured and by the same prevent a dumbing down of the middle classes.

I would recommend meditating the Venezuelan experience, one of the largest oil reserves in the world or the Romanian ex-Communist camp experience that with a zero foreign debt has left an economy in ruins. For my part, I am convinced that Algeria has significant potential to confront this multidimensional crisis which it is facing.  For this, there is an urgent need for a political will for change represented by social forces for the development of economic, social and political freedoms.

In the recent history of Algeria, the issue of reform – be it economic or political gave rise, because of the worth that they represent, to the development of conflicting strategies that work to the defence and promotion of these or, instead, their blocking and, failing that, to their perversion or their slowdown.

  • – Conference of the Professor Abderrahmane Mebtoul at the invitation of the European Parliament (2013) -“the Maghreb the geostrategic challenges” – Dr. Camille Sari (2 volumes 1080 pages – edition L’Harmattan Paris 2015).
  • – Conférence at the ‘Direction Générale Sûreté Nationale Ecole Supérieure de Police,’ Algiers may 2015 “Global changes, fall of the oil prices and its impact on macroeconomic and macro-sociaux balance.”
  • – On the same theme, May 2016 at ‘l’Ecole Supérieure d’Administration de la 2ème Région Militaire’ – Oran, Algeria.
  • – interview on 28/12/2016 by American Herald Tribune: “Assessment of the Algerian economy its prospects: destabilisation of Algeria having geostrategic repercussions on African and Mediterranean space.”

Qatar Crisis that is Widening by the Day

This is the 5th day MENA-Forum is dedicated to the Qatar Crisis that is Widening by the Day and getting to be centre stage despite what is happening elsewhere in the MENA region.  A border closed between Morocco and Algeria, Libya ruled by 2 governments, the Palestinian territories lead by 2 separate peoples organisations, Somalia in the middle of nowhere, Syria on its way to total destruction and Iraq coming out of years of upheaval as shrunk as it never has been.
These are only but a few of the on-going traumatic tragedies that are still unfolding as times flies.  We are not trying to belittle the currently on-going internal saga between the GCC countries by any mean but we believe it is worthwhile to place it within its regional context.
Meanwhile here is the same as seen Dawn from Pakistan where a number of residents in the Gulf originate as well from.  These along with others such as citizens from India, Nepal, the Philippines, etc. form indeed the large majority of the populations.  They are the expatriate work force that literally make and keep making the Gulf going on about providing the world with oil and gas all year round.

Arab nations add names to terror list amid Qatar dispute

AP Published by June 9th, 2017

Arab countries put 12 organisations and 59 people on a terror sanctions list early Friday they described as being associated with Qatar, the latest in a growing diplomatic dispute that seen the country isolated by Saudi Arabia and others.

Qatar dismissed the terror listing as part of “baseless allegations that hold no foundation in fact,” standing by earlier defiant statements by its top diplomat to The Associated Press that Arab nations had no “right to blockade my country.”

The sanctions list further tightens the screws on Qatar, home to a major US military base and the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and shows the crisis only escalating despite Kuwaiti efforts to mediate an end to the rift.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates said they sanctioned the groups and individuals because of “the continuous and ongoing violations of the authorities in Doha of Qatar’s commitments and obligations.”

 

Six of the organisations are already considered militant groups in Bahrain, an island home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet and an under-construction British naval base. Bahrain has been gripped by a government crackdown on dissent for over a year now.

Among the individuals named is Youssef al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian-born cleric considered a spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Qaradawi has been tried and sentenced to death in absentia in Egypt since the 2013 military overthrow of elected President Mohammed Morsi, a Brotherhood member.

Other names involving Egypt include more Brotherhood members and those once belonging to Gamaa Islamiya, a group that carried out a series of bloody attacks in Egypt in the 1990s before renouncing violence in 2000s. One is the brother of the Gamaa Isalmiya assassin who killed Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat in 1981.

Egypt separately has asked the United Nations Security Council to investigate reports that Qatar “paid up to $1 billion to a terrorist group active in Iraq” to recently free 26 hostages, including members of its ruling family, saying it would violate UN sanctions.

Names involving Libya include militia commanders and the Benghazi Defence Brigade, which is battling forces commanded by Gen. Khalifa Hifter, who has the backing of Egypt and the UAE amid that country’s chaos.

The sole Yemeni, Abdel-Wahab al-Humayqani, is the leader of a Salafi party whose has been accused by the US of financing Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terror group’s branch in Yemen.

Qatar long has denied supporting or funding terror groups. However, Western diplomats accuse Qatar’s government of allowing or even encouraging the funding of some Sunni extremists, like Al Qaeda’s branch in Syria.

Responding to the list overnight, Qatar issued a statement saying: “We do not, have not and will not support terrorist groups.” “We lead the region in attacking the roots of terrorism by giving young people hope through jobs, replacing weapons with pens by educating hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and funding local community programs globally to challenge extremist agendas,” it said.

In a wide-ranging interview Thursday with the AP, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani repeatedly denied that his country funded extremists and he rejected the idea of shutting down its Al Jazeera satellite news network, something suggested as a demand of the Arab nations.

He said Qatar, as an independent nation, also had the right to support groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, despite the fact that its neighbours view it as a threat to their hereditary rule.

Sheikh Mohammad’s hard line mirrored that of a top Emirati diplomat who told the AP on Wednesday that the United Arab Emirates believes “there’s nothing to negotiate” with Qatar. “If anyone thinks they are going to impose anything on my internal affairs or my internal issues, this is not going to happen,” Sheikh Mohammad said.

Worried residents have responded to the crisis by emptying grocery stores in the capital of Doha, and Saudi Arabia has blocked trucks carrying food from entering the country across its only land border. Doha is a major international travel hub, but flagship carrier Qatar Airways now flies increasingly over Iran and Turkey after being blocked elsewhere in the Middle East.

On Wednesday, Emirati officials shut down the airline’s offices in the UAE. Al Jazeera’s offices have been shut down by authorities in Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The network also said Thursday night that its websites had come under a sustained cyber attack.

Turkey’s parliament, on the other hand, has approved sending troops to an existing Turkish base in Qatar as a sign of support.

US President Donald Trump, who tweeted Tuesday about Qatar funding extremists, called Qatari ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Wednesday and offered to host leaders at the White House to resolve the crisis.

But Sheikh Mohammed told the AP on Thursday that Sheikh Tamim “is not going to leave the country while the country is in blockade,” in effect turning down the mediation offer. Analysts have raised the prospect of a palace coup in Qatar, a hereditary monarchy ruled by the Al Thani family that has a history of such changes in leadership.

Trump’s administration later suggested US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who as Exxon Mobil’s CEO had business with Qatar, as a possible mediator.

 

 

Crises between Qatar and its Neighbours

For many, crises between Qatar and its neighbours severing all diplomatic, trans border air, land and sea transportation and diplomatic representation could possibly lead to a schism in the Gulf and as a consequence to potential disruption in the supply of Oil & Gas to the rest of the world. in the meantime, well informed personalities are calling for the US to come into the arena so as to mediate unless these prefer to leave it to Russia and / or Iran to move in. Trump dives into Qatar feud, but will America follow him ? Wonders Brian Whitaker in al-bab.

For many, crises between Qatar and its Neighbours severing all air, land and sea transportation and diplomatic representation could possibly lead to a schism in the Gulf and as a consequence to potential disruption in the supply of Oil & Gas to the rest of the world.  in the meantime, well informed personalities are calling for the US to come into the arena so as to mediate unless these prefer to leave it to Russia and / or Iran to move in. Trump dives into Qatar feud, but will America follow him ? Wonders Brian Whitaker in al-bab.  

Continue reading “Crises between Qatar and its Neighbours”

QATAR, the tiny Emirate accused of convenience with . . .

On Monday, June 5, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt and the Maldives decided to sever their diplomatic relations with Qatar.  They suddenly decided  that QATAR, the tiny Emirate accused of convenience with . . . Iran and Islamist movements, the two main sources of destabilization in the region according to them was to pay the price.

These countries have accompanied their decision of retaliation with the closure of their land and sea borders, the suspension of the flights of their airlines to Doha, Qatar capital city, the closure of their airspace to Qatar Airways, the country’s state carrier and restrictions on the movement of people.  Qatar has also been excluded from the recent military coalition operating in Yemen under Saudi command.  Everybody agrees that there will be no “escalation” on the part of Qatar and that it is only about forcing Qatar to fall in line.

A review of the country’s history could explain this on-going saga as since its independence in 1971, the small Emirate of Qatar plays it as it were solo.

Pearling and fishing brought populations from the nearby main Arabia peninsula as well as from across the Gulf, e.g. Iran.  Bahrain had the upper hand until the Ottomans in the late 19th century decided otherwise.

In 1916, Britain and Qatar sign an agreement for the protection and control of external affairs of Qatar.

In 1939, oil reserves were discovered and became Qatar’s main source of revenue, replacing pearling and fishing.

In 1968 Britain withdraws from the gulf and Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE decide to set up a federation.

In 1971 Qatar is independent but refused to join the other principalities of the Arab side of the Gulf, who after the departure of the British, formed the UAE.

Squirmishes about borders delineations here and there between the neighbouring countries had envenomed the neighbourhood.  And at the time, this refusal of moving in and join the Emirates has apparently something that Abu Dhabi, the main UAE Emirate, never taken lightly.  Since then however, Qatar did not only increase in stature but went on especially in the early 1990s, to develop his immense field of gas.  This gave it the means towards diplomatic activism and development of its now renowned soft power, by investing in sport, culture, museums, etc.  Soft power of Qatar as symbolized by winning the hosting of the World Cup, collided in a certain way with the Emirate of Dubai, Member of the UAE ambitions.

The latest piece of news always in line with the above is Turkey throwing its weight behind Qatar.  Troops will follow this decision and will presumably be stationed per the understanding on a Turkish base in Qatar.