29 thoughts on ““Wait ’til the fire turns green!”

  1. Hey presto says:

    (6/5/17) residents in Qatar are swarming local supermarkets in fear of a sudden food shortage sparked by a dramatic shift in Middle East power after three of Qatar’s powerful neighbors—including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain—cut diplomatic ties with the country, accusing it of funding Islamic militants. The three states are giving Qatari residents two weeks to return to Qatar and have shut down transportation ties with the country, including airline flights to and from there. https://qz.com/999017/qatar-is-facing-a-food-shortage-as-saudi-arabia-uae-and-bahrain-cut-diplomatic-ties/ “Iran, long at odds with Saudi Arabia and a behind-the-scenes target of the move, blamed Trump’s visit last month to Riyadh and called for the sides to overcome their differences. “What is happening is the preliminary result of the sword dance,” tweeted Hamid Aboutalebi, deputy chief of staff to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, referring to Trump’s joining in a traditional dance with the Saudi king at the meeting. …The hawkish tone on Tehran and on terrorism that Trump brought in his visit to Muslim leaders in Riyadh is seen as having laid the groundwork for the diplomatic crisis. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-gulf-qatar-idUSKBN18W0DQ

  2. Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay! says:
    • شنو says:

      Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar this week over allegations it supports terrorism and, more specifically, that it uses Al-Jazeera as a mouthpiece to destabilize the region. The Qatar-based network, one of the most widely seen Arabic channels in the world, had long angered Mideast governments, since at its start it was one the few that presented alternative viewpoints. Critics say it has in past years turned to promoting Islamist movements as a tool of Qatar’s foreign policy. The region’s rulers see many of these movements, including the Muslim Brotherhood, as threats. Qatar and the station deny the accusations. Qatar’s foreign minister told The Associated Press there was no way the country would silence Al-Jazeera, which says its channels reach 100 countries and 310 million homes worldwide. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/al-jazeera-a-target-in-gulf-confrontation-with-qatar/2017/06/09/0957eec2-4d35-11e7-987c-42ab5745db2e_story.html See also “Al Jazeera media platforms under cyberattack : Website and digital platforms of entire Doha-based network undergoing ‘systematic and continual hacking attempts’.” http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/al-jazeera-media-platforms-cyberattack-170608170600837.html Meanwhile: Turkey is a key ally of Qatar and is setting up a military base in the country which also hosts the largest US airbase in the Middle East.

  3. WTF says:

    Qatar said Wednesday it has signed a $12 billion deal to buy F-15 fighter jets from the United States — just days after President Donald Trump accused the country of being a “high-level” sponsor of terrorism. The announcement came after the country’s defense minister met with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in Washington. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/qatar-buys-12b-u-s-jets-days-after-trump-says-n772691 See also “Trump punishes “funder of terrorism” Qatar with $12 billion weapons deal” https://news.vice.com/story/trump-punishes-funder-of-terrorism-qatar-with-12-billion-weapons-deal

  4. Meanwhile says:

    “Arab states issue list of demands to end Qatar crisis : Saudi and other Arab nations ask Qatar to shut Al Jazeera, close a Turkish base and scale down Iran ties within 10 days.” (Al Jazeera 6/23/17) http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/arab-states-issue-list-demands-qatar-crisis-170623022133024.html The document does not specify what the countries will do if Qatar refuses to comply.
    Al Jazeera Media Network is an “internal affair” and there will be no discussion about the fate of the Doha-based broadcaster with nations that imposed a blockade on Qatar, its foreign minister says. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/al-jazeera-table-gulf-crisis-talks-fm-170613023203310.html
    Journalist watchdog Reporters Without Borders has condemned the crackdown on Al Jazeera. https://rsf.org/en/news/al-jazeera-collateral-victim-diplomatic-offensive-against-qatar Launched in 1996, Al Jazeera revolutionized the Arab world’s media landscape by making room for the broadest range of viewpoints, from the most moderate to the most radical. It distinguished itself above all during its coverage of the Arab Spring but enraged many of the region’s governments, which regard it as a Qatari foreign policy tool.

  5. Update says:

    The Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said he’ll block U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and their neighbors in the Gulf Cooperation Council until there is a clear path for settling a major diplomatic crisis with Qatar. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-26/senator-vows-to-block-u-s-arms-sales-until-qatar-crisis-eased The GCC is an alliance of six Middle Eastern countries: Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman

  6. Bouncing Betty says:

    6:29 AM ET, Mon July 3, 2017: Qatar’s foreign minister has arrived in Kuwait carrying an official response to a list of demands from the Saudi-led bloc, according to Qatari officials in Doha. Details have not been released but Qatar has called the demands an “affront to international law”. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt agreed late Sunday to a request from the Emir of Kuwait to extend by 48 hours the deadline for meeting their demands.
    Qatar is a US ally and the United States maintains a large military base there, home to some 11,000 personnel. http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/03/middleeast/qatar-deadline-extended/index.html

  7. Magic 8-Ball says:

    “Volatile Persian Gulf crisis over Qatar tries, divides Trump administration” (LA Times 7/3/17) http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-fg-trump-qatar-20170703-story.html “…Trump lent enthusiastic support to Saudi Arabia, backing its move, made along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, to cut off Qatari airspace, seal its land and sea borders and suspend diplomatic ties. (Kuwait did not join the blockade and is attempting to mediate.)
    Trump’s decision to turn on Qatar — just days after boasting that he had brought Arab nations together in “historic” unity to fight terrorism — has stunned diplomats here and abroad.”

  8. Hooligan says:

    “Major Western firms delivering stadiums for the Qatar 2022 World Cup are drawing up contingency plans to leave the Emirate if the diplomatic row engulfing the Middle East is not resolved.” (7/2/17) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/07/02/world-cup-2022-builders-draw-plans-leave-qatar-gulf-row-rages/ “Ongoing trade sanctions threaten to derail the £160bn ($206.9bn USD) building program the country needs to finish to host football’s top tournament. These include eight state-of-the-art stadiums, a new metro system for the capital Doha and 60,000 hotel rooms.” Also: “FIFA facing more calls to strip Qatar of 2022 World Cup as explosive full report into vote-buying is finally published” (6/27/17) https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/3898820/fifa-facing-more-calls-to-strip-qatar-of-2022-world-cup-as-explosive-full-report-into-vote-buying-is-finally-published/

  9. Mouse that roared says:

    A month after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic, trade and transport ties with Qatar, accusing it of backing terrorism, it is suffering from isolation but is nowhere near an economic crisis. Qatar is so rich — at $127,660, its gross domestic product per capita in purchasing power terms is the highest of any country, according to the International Monetary Fund — it can deploy money to counter almost any type of sanction.
    In the past month it has arranged new shipping routes to offset the closure of its border with Saudi Arabia, deposited billions of dollars of state money in local banks to shore them up, and drawn the interest of some of the West’s biggest energy firms by announcing a plan to raise its LNG output 30 percent. On Wednesday, the alliance said Qatar, which denies any support for terrorism, had missed a deadline to comply with its demands. Further steps against Doha will be taken in line with international law “at the appropriate time”, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-gulf-qatar-economy-idUSKBN19R1WA

  10. Puzzling Evidence™ says:

    “Qatar Says It Has Enough Reserves to Meet Commitments” http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Qatar-Says-It-Has-Enough-Reserves-to-Meet-Commitments-20170711-0003.html
    “…U.S. President Donald Trump, who took credit for the diplomatic row between Qatar and its neighbors, has been critical of the Gulf country on social media. “So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off,” he tweeted on June 6. “They said they would take a hard line on funding, extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar.”
    In contradiction, Trump’s son-in-law, Kushner reportedly tried and failed to secure a US$500 million loan from a Qatari billionaire businessman …It has been alleged that Kushner, who serves as a senior adviser to the president, was integral in his father-in-law’s push for the crackdown on Qatar by his Saudi alliance.”
    See also “Jared Kushner Tried and Failed to Get a Half-Billion-Dollar Bailout From Qatar” https://theintercept.com/2017/07/10/jared-kushner-tried-and-failed-to-get-a-half-billion-dollar-bailout-from-qatar/

  11. خنفساء الروث says:

    “The diplomatic machinations that have enveloped Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar may seem like a membership feud in a Persian Gulf club for the wealthy. But their quarrel highlights battles that have been roiling the Middle East since the Arab Spring began nearly seven years ago.” (David Ignatius, Washington Post 7/13/17) https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/the-question-about-islam-that-has-vexed-the-world-for-a-decade/2017/07/13/df7c9ede-67e9-11e7-8eb5-cbccc2e7bfbf_story.html “The allegation that Qatar supports terrorism is weak, especially after it signed a memo with (Secretary of State) Tillerson on Tuesday committing to a joint counterterrorism battle with the United States.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/qatar-agrees-to-curb-terrorism-financing-under-deal-with-us/2017/07/11/1a86e3b0-a041-4300-ab03-c840d8a19bcf_story.html See also “Trump’s stunning response to the Middle East diplomatic crisis” (June 6th) https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/trumps-stunning-response-to-the-middle-east-diplomatic-crisis/2017/06/06/2a531a16-4aec-11e7-9669-250d0b15f83b_story.html

  12. Nast says:

    “The Gulf Crisis, as Told Through Cartoons” (The Atlantic) https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/07/gulf-crisis-cartoons-cartoonists/535122/ “…In this stifled, conservative environment, the role of the cartoonist is sacrosanct. In the Arab world, the politically inflected art form dates back to the late 19th century, when Yaacub Sannu crafted anti-government, anti-imperial caricatures and satire in self-published broadsheets in Egypt. From the 1920s through the 1950s, cartoonists were integral to the rich illustrated press in Cairo and other Arab capitals. Since then, cartooning has played an outsized role in Arab media. In the face of a stifled press often unable to publish critical journalism, cartoonists take it upon themselves to fill the gap. They expertly employ tricks of the trade—metaphors, sarcasm, slang, and double entendre—to break the rules in ways that investigative reporters simply can’t.
    That doesn’t mean the task is easy…”

  13. Angry Optimist says:

    August 20, 2017: “Little-Known Qatari Sheikh Embraced by Saudi in Surprise Move” (Bloomberg) https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-20/little-known-qatari-sheikh-embraced-by-saudi-in-surprise-move
    “In the last two years, three Saudi princes living in Europe have disappeared. All were critical of the Saudi government – and there is evidence that all were abducted and flown back to Saudi Arabia… where nothing further has been heard from them.” (BBC) http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-40926963
    “UAE ambassador says ‘whole of Saudi Arabia is cuckoo’ in leaked email : Yousef Otaiba an influential player in world politics and has attended Pentagon strategy meetings” (Independent UK) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/united-arab-emirates-globalleaks-hackers-yousef-otaiba-saudi-arabia-mohammed-bin-salman-pentagon-a7902281.html
    “The correspondence from Mr Otaiba’s email account was initially uncovered by the GlobalLeaks group, who approached Daily Beast. The hacking group claims to “reveal how million of dollars were used to hurt reputation of American allies and cause policy change.” (Al Jazeera) http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/08/yousef-al-otaiba-berates-saudi-leaked-emails-170819140533961.html

  14. 3rd law says:

    “Qatar’s emir officially inaugurates Hamad Port” http://www.aljazeera.com/video/news/2017/09/qatar-emir-officially-inaugurates-hamad-port-170905110351179.html “Large container ships will now go directly to Qatar rather than docking in the United Arab Emirates, where cargo used to be transferred to smaller vessels. The UAE is one of the countries that have imposed a land, air and sea blockade on Qatar. Hamad Port will have an annual capacity of 7.5 million shipping containers, and separate terminals dedicated to general cargo, cereals, vehicles and livestock. Located in the town of Mesaieed [about 50 kilometres south of the capital city of Doha] the port is the largest of its kind in the Middle East with the capacity to receive all types of ships and vessels. It is expected to be fully operational by 2020, when it will cover around 20sq km. The existing Doha port will then be transformed into an international cruise ship terminal.

  15. L7 says:

    President Donald Trump on Thursday hailed efforts by the leader of Kuwait, a staunch American ally, to mediate a festering diplomatic crisis involving Qatar and its Arab neighbors that could have implications for the U.S. military presence in the region.
    However, the quartet of Arab nations now boycotting Doha issued a strongly worded statement early Friday morning dismissing some of Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah’s comments, signaling the diplomatic crisis roiling the Gulf is far from over. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-hails-kuwait-mediation-on-qatar-arab-states-react/2017/09/07/6ec0ee2a-9444-11e7-8482-8dc9a7af29f9_story.html

  16. اصبر تنل says:

    “Trump’s Bid to End Saudi-Qatar Stalemate Ends in Recriminations” (NYT 9/9/17) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/09/world/middleeast/trump-qatar-saudi-arabia.html
    ““The problem is as much about appearing to not capitulate to the other side as it is trying to solve any problems,” said Michael Stephens of the Royal United Services Institute in London.
    “Given the hypersensitivity of both sides to appearing weak,” he said, “it makes the problem considerably harder to solve.”
    …An influence race has erupted in Washington, where both sides have spent huge sums on lobbyists and advertising in a bid to influence political and public opinion.”

  17. Stranger than fiction says:

    During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump attacked Hillary Clinton for accepting money from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, complaining during one of the debates, “These are people that kill women and treat women horribly and yet you take their money.”
    That was, of course, before he made his first foreign visit as president to Saudi Arabia—and accepted dozens of gifts from the kingdom. In fact, during Trump’s visit, the White House accepted at least 83 separate gifts from Saudi Arabia, according to a document The Daily Beast has obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request to the State Department. http://www.thedailybeast.com/the-insane-gifts-saudi-arabia-gave-president-trump “The gifts range from the regal (“Artwork featuring picture of President Trump”) to the martial (multiple swords, daggers, leather ammo holders and holsters), to the baroque (tiger and cheetah fur robes, and a dagger made of pure silver with a mother of pearl sheath). Now when the president is contemplating the state of Saudi women’s rights, he can do so before a “large canvas artwork depicting [a] Saudi woman.”

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