Why has uae cut ties with qatar -Associated Press
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Four Arab nations cut diplomatic ties to Qatar early Monday morning, further deepening a rift among Gulf Arab nations over that country’s support for Islamist groups and its relations with Iran.
Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all announced they would withdraw their diplomatic staff from Qatar, a gas-rich nation that will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and is home to a major U.S. military base. Saudi Arabia also said Qatari troops would be pulled from the ongoing war in Yemen.
The countries also said they would eject Qatar’s diplomats from their territories.
Qatar’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said there was “no legitimate justification” for the countries’ decision, though it vowed its citizens wouldn’t be affected by the “violation of its sovereignty.”
All the nations also said they planned to cut air and sea traffic. Saudi Arabia said it also would shut its land border with Qatar, effectively cutting off the country from the rest of the Arabian Peninsula.
It wasn’t immediately clear how Monday’s announcement would affect Qatar Airways, one of the region’s major long-haul carriers that routinely flies through Saudi airspace. The airline did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Etihad, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier, said it would suspend flights to Qatar “until further notice.”
Even before Monday, Qatar had appeared unperturbed by the growing tensions. On May 27, Qatar’s ruling emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, called Iranian President Hasan Rouhani to congratulate him on his re-election.
The call was a clear, public rebuttal of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to force Qatar to fall in line against the Shiite-ruled nation, which the Sunni kingdom sees as its No. 1 enemy and a threat to regional stability. Qatar shares a massive offshore gas field with the Islamic Republic.
Qatar is also home to the sprawling al-Udeid Air Base, which is home to the U.S. military’s Central Command and some 10,000 American troops. It wasn’t clear if the decision would affect American military operations. Central Command officials and the Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Saudi Arabia said it took the decision to cut diplomatic ties due to Qatar’s “embrace of various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilizing the region” including the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida, the Islamic State group and groups supported by Iran in the kingdom’s restive eastern province of Qatif. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry accused Qatar of taking an “antagonist approach” toward Egypt and said “all attempts to stop it from supporting terrorist groups failed.”
The tiny island nation of Bahrain blamed Qatar’s “media incitement, support for armed terrorist activities and funding linked to Iranian groups to carry out sabotage and spreading chaos in Bahrain” for its decision. The U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain, did not immediately respond to a request for comment about whether the decision would affect its operations.
In Sydney, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he didn’t believe the diplomatic crisis would affect the war against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
“I think what we’re witnessing is a growing list of disbelief in the countries for some time, and they’ve bubbled up to take action in order to have those differences addressed,” Tillerson said. “We certainly would encourage the parties to sit down together and address these differences.”
The decision comes after Qatar alleged in late May that hackers took over the site of its state-run news agency and published what it called fake comments from its ruling emir about Iran and Israel. Its Gulf Arab neighbors responded with anger, blocking Qatari-based media, including the Doha-based satellite news network Al-Jazeera.
Qatar long has faced criticism from its Arab neighbors over its support of Islamists. The chief worry among them is the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist political group outlawed by both Saudi Arabia and the UAE as it challenges the nations’ hereditary rule.
Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia fell out with Qatar over its backing of then-Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, a Brotherhood member. In March 2014, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar over the rift. Eight months later, they returned their ambassadors as Qatar forced some Brotherhood members to leave the country and quieted others. However, the 2014 crisis did not see a land and sea blockade as threatened now.
In the time since, Qatar repeatedly and strongly denied it funds extremist groups. However, it remains a key financial patron of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and has been the home of exiled Hamas official Khaled Mashaal since 2012. Western officials also have accused Qatar of allowing or even encouraging funding of Sunni extremists like al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, once known as the Nusra Front.
Global oil prices rose 1.24 percent to $50.57 a barrel in early trading Monday in Asia amid the Gulf diplomatic crisis. The Qatar Stock Exchange fell 7.65 percent.
Kuwait, which earlier had tried to mediate the crisis, had no immediate comment.
The crisis comes after U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia for a summit with Arab leaders. Since the meeting, unrest in the region has grown.
At that Saudi conference, Trump met with Qatar’s ruling emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
“We are friends, we’ve been friends now for a long time, haven’t we?” Trump asked at the meeting. “Our relationship is extremely good.”
Associated Press writers Aya Batrawy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Robert Burns in Sydney and Maggie Michael in Cairo contributed to this report.
Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellap. His work can be found at http://apne.ws/2galNpz.
UAE and Saudi Arabia's boycott of Qatar creates rift between US allies in Arab Gulf, compromises Washington's grip on Iran
Dubai: At a time when the United States hopes to exert maximum pressure on Iran, a regional bloc created by Gulf Arab countries to counter Tehran looks increasingly more divided ahead of the anniversary of the diplomatic crisis in Qatar.
A coalition of Arab Gulf countries launched the economic boycott of Qatar which stopped Qatar Airways flights from using their airspace, closed off the country's sole land border with Saudi Arabia and blocked its ships from using their ports.
The lack of cooperation among the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has already seen the US limit some military exercises. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also been sent to the region to urge allies to end the boycott of Qatar, a tiny, gas-rich nation.
The GCC consists of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. On 5 June 2017, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, along with Egypt, cut ties to Qatar, citing its close links with Iran and Qatar's alleged support for extremist groups in the region.
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani has been publicly criticised by UAE and Saudi leaders for his close ties with Iran. Reuters
Amid the dispute, Qatar restored full diplomatic ties with Iran. And just like Iran after the US pulled out of the nuclear deal with Tehran, Qatar appears to have no interest in ceding any ground, having already decried the demands as an affront to its sovereignty.
Ahead of the anniversary, Qatar's Government Communication Office began sending messages out with the hashtags "movingforward" and "Qatarstronger."
That leaves the GCC adrift at a time of regional tension.
The GCC has long been viewed as a regional counterweight to Iran and crucial for the US military. Bahrain hosts the US Navy's 5th Fleet and Kuwait is home to US Army Central. UAE military bases host American fighter jets, drones and soldiers, while Dubai's Jebel Ali port is the navy's busiest foreign port of call. Qatar's massive al-Udeid Air Base holds the forward headquarters of the US military's Central Command.
While hosting no troops, Oman does allow US forces access to its bases and serves as a crucial go-between for America and Western diplomats and Iran. Saudi Arabia also relies on US military support for its ongoing war in Yemen against Shiite rebels there.
The Qatar dispute has seen a public reordering of the GCC, with Saudi Arabia and the neighboring UAE taking an increasingly neoconservative foreign policy, as seen in their military intervention in Yemen. Ties between Abu Dhabi's crown prince, 57-year-old Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Saudi Arabia's 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have grown closer. Bahrain, long dependent on Saudi money to aid its troubled economy, cast its lot with Saudi and the UAE.
Kuwait, ruled by 88-year-old Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, has sought to mediate the dispute. It hosted a GCC summit in December that it hoped would bring the bloc together. Instead, it only saw the UAE and Saudi Arabia upstage it by announcing its own closer union.
For Oman and its 77-year-old ruler, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the country has sought to maintain its own separate diplomatic identity from the larger GCC. The sultanate's ports also have become a crucial lifeline to Qatar.
Both Kuwait and Oman feel the pressure of the diplomatic dispute. The two countries have yet to prepare for the coming generational leadership shifts that await them, as there is no clear successor to Sultan Qaboos, while an internal dispute among the branches of Kuwait's ruling family remains likely.
The two have also undoubtedly seen the criticism by Saudi and Emirati media of Qatar's ruling emir, 38-year-old Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, which has included promoting exiled Qataris as possible leaders for the country. Open criticism of ruling families is extremely rare among Gulf Arab nations, even during the border disputes in the 1990s that saw some skirmishes.
Threats of military action were also directed towards Qatar in the early days of the crisis. The combined troops and equipment of Saudi Arabia and the UAE dwarf those of Kuwait, Oman and Qatar's armed forces.
Gulf Arab nations have relied on US military power as a safety net since former president Jimmy Carter's 1980 pledge to use force to defend its interests in the Persian Gulf. The aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War cemented that, as has America's reliance on Gulf bases for its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
However, it remains unclear what options the US would have in a confrontation between Gulf Arab nations themselves, even though one does not look imminent.
Gulf states also have grown increasingly wary of President Donald Trump who initially came out in support of the nations boycotting Qatar, only later to back off. Investigations into Trump also have touched the UAE and Qatar, while nations involved in the dispute have spent millions of dollars on Washington lobbyists and influence peddlers.
For now, the crisis has improved ties between Qatar and Iran. The Islamic Republic immediately opened its airspace to Qatar Airways after the boycotting nations blocked its routes and sent food and other goods into Doha. In return, Qatar has restored full diplomatic relations with Iran, with which it shares a massive offshore natural gas field.
Updated Date: June 04, 2018 14:17:00 ISTИсточник: https://www.firstpost.com/world/uae-and-saudi-arabias-boycott-of-qatar-creates-rift-between-us-allies-in-arab-gulf-compromises-washingtons-grip-on-iran-4494671.html
Jean-Baptiste Gallopin, European Council on Foreign Relations
After failing for years to decisively woo Omar al-Bashir to their axis, the UAE and Saudi Arabia took advantage of the revolutionary uprising of 2018-2019 to bring Sudan under their influence. They have done so by supporting military and paramilitary figures under the guise of “stability” and coopting elements of the revolutionary coalition. Emirati and Saudi support to the Transitional Military Council that replaced al-Bashir emboldened the generals in the critical weeks that followed his downfall, enabling the TMC’s repression of demonstrators on 3 June 2019, stymying revolutionary demands for civilian rule, and enabling the emergence of a power-sharing agreement in which the generals play a dominant role.
The revolutionary period marks an inflection point in Sudan’s relationship with with these Gulf countries. Despite long-standing economic ties, the regime of Omar al-Bashir — an offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood —maintained, from its early years, a close alliance with Iran. Al-Bashir’s government also enjoyed privileged relations with the two regional backers of the Muslim Brotherhood: Qatar, which mediated the Darfur peace talks, and Turkey. In the 2010s, Khartoum, strapped for cash after the loss of most of its oil reserves in South Sudan’s secession, began a rapprochement with Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Within a few months of the start of the 2015 Saudi-led offensive on Yemen, Sudan committed an estimated 10,000 troops to support the coalition – the bulk of the infantry deployed – in exchange for the payment of soldiers’ salaries, direct deposits to the Sudanese state’s coffer, and subsidies on basic commodities. By 2018, UAE officials estimated that they had injected about $7 billion in Sudan’s economy.
This newfound patronage came with strings attached: Saudi Arabia and the UAE expected Khartoum to come on their side in their rivalries with Qatar and Iran. In 2016, Bashir eventually cut ties with Tehran. He reportedly promised the Emirates to sideline Islamists from his government.
But it’s unclear whether Bashir was ever strong enough to follow through on his promise. At a time when erstwhile allies were plotting to remove him, Bashir’s shift away from Sudan’s traditional allies exacerbated divisions within his fractious ruling circle and further weakened his standing within the ruling National Congress Party, a key pillar of his regime, alongside the military, the security services, and the paramilitary militia known as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
This domestic pressure likely accounted for Bashir’s decision in June 2017 to stay neutral in the Qatar crisis, angering the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Riyadh, in retaliation, stopped paying the salaries of Sudanese soldiers. Egypt, a close ally of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, kept up the hopes of bringing Bashir into the alliance, encouraging him to remove Islamist officers. But he continued to play one side against the other. In March 2018, he received UAE subsidies and a $2 billion loan from Qatar. This balancing game convinced Saudi Arabia and the UAE that Bashir was unreliable and should be replaced.
In December 2018, the UAE reportedly halted fuel shipments to Sudan. Faced with an acute shortage of foreign exchange, a deep deficit and crushing debt, Bashir cut subsidies on bread, triggering the first demonstrations of what would become the Sudanese revolution.
The opportunity of the 2018-2019 uprising
As the uprising unfolded, al-Bashir lost his few remaining allies. None of his foreign sponsors came to the rescue. On December 24, when Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Daglo, known as Hemedti, the head of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, came out supporting demonstrators’ demands, it became clear that the loyalty of the military and security apparatus was shaky. In mid-February, as demonstrations continued unabated, the head of the security service Salah Gosh and the UAE reportedly offered al-Bashir an exit plan, which he refused. The Emiratis began to reach out to opposition groups; so did Gosh, who visited prominent leaders in prison.
On 7 April 2019, a day after revolutionary demonstrators began a sit-in in front of the military’s headquarters, Gen. Jalal al-Dine el-Sheikh, the deputy head of the security service, headed a delegation of military and intelligence officials to Cairo, where he sought the support of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE for a coup against al-Bashir. The three countries then reportedly reached out to Abdelfattah al-Burhan, a military general who had coordinated the Sudanese military’s operations in the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, and Hemedti, who had also deployed there as head of the RSF. Egypt offered Bashir exile in Saudi Arabia. Again, he refused. A few days later, on 11 April, leaders of the military and security apparatus, including al-Burhan and Hemedti, overthrew him, installing a Transitional Military Council (TMC) to rule the country.
This coup gave an opportunity for the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt to finally bring Sudan into their axis. They threw their weight behind the TMC, and in particular Hemedti, who had already acquired considerable financial resources in the last year of al-Bashir’s rule thanks to the deployment of the RSF in Yemen and his exports of Sudan’s gold to Dubai.Within ten days, the UAE and Saudi Arabia had promised $3 billion of direct aid to the new regime. While revolutionaries continued their sit-in, demanding radical political change, Egypt lobbied the African Union to discourage a suspension of Sudan’s membership.
Throughout April and May, negotiations between the TMC and the Forces of Freedom and Change (the revolutionary umbrella organization of opposition parties, civil society groups, and rebel groups) failed to reach an agreement on power sharing. Saudi Arabia and the UAE, alongside other regional actors such as Chad, South Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia and Eritrea all encouraged the TMC to hold onto power. The UAE secretly delivered weapons to Hemedti in late April. The Emirati Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash tweeted “Totally legitimate for Arab states to support an orderly & stable transition in Sudan. One that carefully calibrates popular aspirations with institutional stability.” In the words of a former NCP minister, “some centers [were] working to build up a new Sisi”. Buoyed by diplomatic cover, military aid, as well as fresh cash, fuel and wheat injections, the TMC remained intransigent and played for time in negotiations, refusing the FFC’s central demand that a new sovereignty council meant to collectively serve as the head of state be dominated by a majority of civilian appointees.
By late April – early May, revolutionaries at the Khartoum sit-in were becoming more defiant in response to the TMC’s stalling tactics. “Madaniya” – civilian rule – emerged as their central slogan. Some who had welcomed the role of the military and Hemedti in ousting al-Bashir and who had been open to the idea of a mixed sovereignty council were now demanding an exclusively civilian council. Visible UAE and Saudi support to the TMC attracted the ire of demonstrators.
Yet even as revolutionaries showed signs of radicalizing, the Emirates worked discretely to co-opt the opposition. In late April, senior members of Sudan Call, a central component of the FFC, met with Emirati officials in Abu Dhabi. Upon their return, Sudan Call officials began to speak positively about the role of the military, the UAE and Saudi Arabia in the transition. By early May the softening of Sudan Call’s position prompted revolutionary activists and other armed groups to speculate about the UAE’s “suitcase diplomacy”. In private, Sudan Call officials now acknowledge that “handsome compensations were being thrown around”.
On 3 June, after a visit by Hemedti to Riyadh, Cairo and Abu Dhabi (Crisis Group 2019:12), RSF and police forces cracked down on the Khartoum sit-in, killing more than 130 people and sparking indignation in Sudan and abroad. The event prompted the US and the UK, after weeks of passivity, to pressure the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Emirati and Saudi officials, reportedly concerned that Hemedti had gone too far and was precipitating instability, used their influence on the TMC to push for a deal with the opposition. They began to publicly call for “dialogue”, and to work behind the scenes alongside the UK and the US to broker a deal.
The massacre failed to discourage grassroots revolutionaries, however. On 30 June, the resistance committees — a network of neighborhood groups — and the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, a coalition of unions, gathered hundreds of thousands of people on the streets in a “march of the million”. The show of force took the TMC by surprise. It showed that the junta’s strategy of repression and stalling had failed, and that mobilization could continue for many more weeks. But rather than using this renewed popular support to extract more concessions, the leadership of the FFC compromised.
Sabotaging civilian rule
In the power-sharing agreement that emerged five days later, the generals retained considerable influence: Gen. Abdelfattah al-Burhan, the head of the TMC, would act as the head of the new sovereignty council – and as de facto head of state – for the first 21 months of the transition. The “constitutional declaration” signed in August between the FFC and the generals planned for a cabinet led by a FFC appointee, but military leaders kept the control over the crucial ministries of defense and the interior. Hemedti became deputy head of the sovereignty council.
After the signing of the constitutional declaration, which laid out a roadmap to a constitutional conference and elections, the UAE and Saudi Arabia provided support to the new government, funneling $200 million monthly in cash and commodity subsidies to the government for the second half of 2019. In line with this new alignment, the Sudanese government, though desperate for cash, turned down an offer to send a delegation to Qatar in exchange for $1 billion in financing.
Domestically, the new alliance between the FFC and the former TMC members dramatically reconfigured the Sudanese state at the expense of the NCP, in line with Gulf backers’ hostility towards the Muslim Brotherhood. Top NCP representatives faced jail and their assets were seized. Al-Burhan, who had served as the military’ coordinator with the ruling party, pivoted to please his patrons and purged many who were too clearly identified as Islamists from the military and the security service. UAE influence came to pervade the Sudanese political scene. Hemedti, whom a diplomat described as “the agent and the proxy of the Emirates”, consolidated his position as a central player thanks to his ability to buy off potential dissenters and competitors. Sudan Call’s leaders, such as Yasir Arman and Sadig al-Mahdi, the leader of the Umma Party, continued to express public support to the participation of the military in the transition and worked to marginalize leftist groups not affiliated to the UAE.
Since late 2019, the Saudis appeared to have taken a step back, leaving the management of the Sudan file to the Emiratis. In spite of their official policy of support to the transition, the UAE have maneuvered to undermine the civilian wing of the government by propping up the generals. Three developments illustrate these efforts.
First, the Emiratis have sponsored a peace process that puts the generals front and center. The constitutional declaration was unclear about who, in the new power configuration, should be in charge of negotiations with armed groups from Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile – a priority for the transition. The generals seized on this ambiguity. Hemedti and Gen. Shamseddine al-Kabbashi, another former member of the TMC, wrested the process from the cabinet, heading government delegations in Juba, where the negotiations have been taking place with financial backing from the UAE. Abu Dhabi has used its influence with armed groups to push for a deal that would put the generals in the positions of peacemakers, though internal divisions between the RSF and SAF and the FFC’s belated effort to join the talks have been stumbling blocks (by the spring of 2020, Hemedti was happy to leave the file to al-Kabbashi).
Second, the UAE in February 2020 brokered a meeting between the head of the sovereignty council Gen. al-Burhan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which they discussed normalization of bilateral ties. The move earned al-Burhan an invitation to Washington by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, baffling American observers, since it appeared to contradict the official US policy to support civilian rule. A senior Sudanese military source told the media that Sudan hoped the meeting with Netanyahu would convince the US to lift the designation of State Sponsor of Terrorism, which Hamdok has sought – and failed – to secure for months, and which stymies investment and debt relief. The source also revealed that the Saudi and Egyptian officials knew of the upcoming meeting, which had been in the works for months, but that the civilian Minister of Foreign Affairs was not notified.
Third, the UAE have lobbied to put Hemedti in the driving seat of Sudan’s economic policy. In March 2020, Hemedti was briefly appointed the head of a new emergency economic committee – a powerful ad-hoc body. But in the face of opposition from the FFC, he was forced to step down and become a simple member, leaving the seat to Hamdok. In April 2020, amid intense rumors of a potential coup from the military, the FFC operated a rapprochement with Hemedti, whom they came to see as a protector. Following intense lobbying from the UAE, the FFC relented to Hemedti becoming the head of the committee, consecrating his role as the key decision-maker on economic policy. The UAE and Saudi Arabia officially ended their direct support to the Sudanese government in December 2019 without an explanation, having disbursed only half of the $3 bn they had promised; Hemedti, however, has been making a show of depositing hundreds of millions of dollars to the Central Bank to stabilize the economy.
Sudan’s international realignment has been swift. Within less than a year, the clients of Qatar and Turkey in Khartoum lost any role in policy. Financial support from Saudi Arabia and the UAE gave the generals crucial leeway to resist popular demands for civilian rule, shaping a lopsided balance of power that allowed the generals to navigate a period of mass mobilization. The Emirates’ covert financial flows subsequently earned them unparalleled leverage across large segments the political spectrum, which helped the generals, and in particular Hemedti, consolidate their power.
As the influence of Qatar and Turkey has faded, emerging political fault lines within Sudan are a source of disagreements within the Arab Troika. The Egyptian government, traditionally close to the Sudanese army, sees Hemedti with suspicion and has cultivated a relationship with al-Burhan. A rivalry between the two generals has become more apparent since April 2020; it suggests that the current power arrangement is unstable and could affect the relations between Egypt and its Gulf partners. Now that the fate of Sudan has become tied to the games of influence of the Arab Troika, its domestic politics may come to impact the Troika itself.
 This paper relies on interviews with actors and observers of the Sudanese political scene, and on an analysis of public or semi-public documents, including news articles, press releases and statements from political actors.
 Extensive defense cooperation extended to the manufacture of weapons. In the early 2010s, Iran still fielded a battalion of Revolutionary Guards in Sudan.
Interview with a Sudanese observer, May 2020. Africa Confidential. 2012. ‘Target Khartoum.’ Vol. 53, No. 22. Africa Confidential. 2 November.
Leff, J., & LeBrun, E. (2014). Following the Thread: Arms and Ammunition Tracing in Sudan and South Sudan. http://www.smallarmssurveysudan.org/fileadmin/docs/working-papers/HSBA-WP32-Arms-Tracing.pdf
 Of which 7,000 were RSF. Crisis Group (2019), Intra-Gulf Competition in Africa’s Horn: Lessening the Impact, Report n°206, Middle East and North Africa, 19 September 2019; De Waal, A. (2019b), Cash and contradictions: On the limits of Middle Eastern influence in Sudan, African Arguments, 1 August 2019. https://africanarguments.org/2019/08/01/cash-and-contradictions-on-the-limits-of-middle-eastern-influence-in-sudan/.
 These included $1.4 billion in the Central Bank’s foreign exchange reserves and 871 million dollars in fuel subsidies.
Abbas, Waheed. UAE pumps in Dh28b for Sudan’s development, fiscal stability. Khaleej Times, 14 March 2018.
 Interview with a minister under Bashir, Khartoum, April 2019.
 He further alienated his new patrons by sacking his head of cabinet Taha Osman al-Hussein — who had emerged as the central figure of Sudan’s foreign policy — after it emerged that al-Hussein had taken Saudi citizenship. Al-Hussein left the country went on to become an adviser to Riyadh.
 Interview with an observer of Sudanese politics, Berlin, June 2018.
See also Crisis Group 2019.
 Abbas, Waheed. UAE pumps in Dh28b for Sudan’s development, fiscal stability. Khaleej Times, 14 March 2018.
 Interview with a Western diplomat in Khartoum, April 2019.
 Interview with a representative of the Sudan Revolutionary Front, April 2020; with a Sudanese activist, May 2020.
 On the run-up to the coup against Bashir, see Magdy S., As Sudan uprising grew, Arab states worked to shape its fate, The Associated Press, 8 May 2019.
Abdelaziz K., Georgy M. Dahan M., Abandoned by the UAE, Sudan’s Bashir was destined to fall, Reuters, 3 July 2019.
 Kent, R. Exposing the RSF’s Secret Financial Network, Global Witness, 9 December 2019.
Walsh, D., Amid U.S. Silence, Gulf Nations Back the Military in Sudan’s Revolution, The New York Times, 26 April 2019.
 These efforts paid off at first, but Egypt failed to prevent the AU’s Peace and Security Council from suspending Sudan after the 3 June massacre. De Waal 2019.
 Interview with a diplomat working for a Western mission in Khartoum, April 2019. On Chad, see also De Waal 2019.
 Interview with a Minister under Bashir, Khartoum, April 2019.
 Interviews with organizers and activists at the Khartoum sit-in, 1-3 May 2019.
 Bearak M., Fahim K. (2019), From Sudan’s protesters, a warning to Saudi Arabia and the UAE: Don’t meddle, The Washington Post, 29 April 2019.
 These included Mariam al-Mahdi, of the Umma Party, leaders of the Sudan Congress Party, but also rebels of the Sudan Revolutionary Front, including Yasir Arman, of the Agar branch of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North, the Justice and Equality Movement, and Minni Minnawi, the head of a branch of the Sudan Liberation Movement, a Darfur rebel group. Hosting Darfur rebel groups allowed the UAE to weaken Qatar, which had previously sponsored peace negotiations on Darfur.
Interview with an official from the SPLM-N / al-Hilu branch, Khartoum, April 2019.
Interview with a leader of JEM, Khartoum, May 2019. Interview with a SAF officer, Khartoum, April 2019. See also Sudan Tribune, Sudan’s opposition, UAE officials discussed peace and issues of mutual concern: Arman, 18 June 2019.
 Yasir Arman of the SPLM-N / Agar branch on 18 June defended on Facebook the role of the UAE and Saudi Arabia in the Sudanese transition. Khaled Omer of the Sudan Congress Party attacked Qatar and Al Jazeera. Umma Party leader and former Prime Ministeer Sadig al-Mahdi praised the role of the UAE, Saudi Arabia and the Rapid Support Forces in the transition.
Al-Quds al-Arabi,الصادق المهدي لـ”القدس العربي”: “الحرية والتغيير” والمجلس العسكري بلا تفويض شعبي ونقبل انتخابات مبكرة بعد استيفاء شروطها… ونفضل التريث بالانضمام إلى المحاور , 29 May 2019.
 Phone interview with a Sudanese activist, May 2019.
 Interview with a senior adviser of a Sudan call group, March 2020.
 Under Secretary of State David Hale took the unusual step to not only call the Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Khalid Bin Salman and UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash, but also to make his messages to them public. “Under Secretary Hale’s Call With Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Kha-lid bin Salman”, Readout from U.S. State Department Office of the Spokesperson, 4 June 2019; “Under Secretary Hale’s Call With Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash of the United Arab Emirates”, Readout from U.S. State Department Office of the Spokesperson, 6 June 2019.
 Walsh, D. (2019). In Sudan, a Power-Sharing Deal Propelled by a Secret Meeting and Public Rage, The New York Times, 5 July 2019. Crisis Group 2019:11, De Waal 2019b
 Sudan Tribune, Saudi Arabia and UAE call for dialogue in Sudan, 6 June 2019.
 Phone interview with a Sudanese activist, June 2019.
 Walsh, D. (2019). Sudan Power-Sharing Deal Reached by Military and Civilian Leaders, The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/04/world/africa/sudan-power-sharing-deal.html
 Walsh, D. (2019). Sudan Power-Sharing Deal Reached by Military and Civilian Leaders, The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/04/world/africa/sudan-power-sharing-deal.html
 De Waal, A. (2019a), Sudan: A Political Marketplace Framework Analysis. World Peace Foundation Conflict Research Programme Occasional Paper n°19, August 2019. https://sites.tufts.edu/reinventingpeace/files/2019/07/Sudan-A-political-market-place-analysis-final-20190731.pdf
 Interview with a Sudanese cabinet adviser, May 2020.
 Interview with a former SAF officer, May 2020.
 PAX Sudan Alert, Actor Map, 5 June 2019.
Sudan Tribune, Sudan reforms military command structure, 30 October 2019.
Sudan Tribune, Sudan relieves over 60 security service officials, 25 November 2019.
Sudan Tribune, The armed forces and militia protect transition in Sudan: al-Burhan, 23 December 2019.
 Interview with a Western diplomat, April 2020.
 De Waal reports that Hemedti handed out money to striking policemen, tribal chiefs, teachers, electricity workers, and officers of the Sudanese Armed Forces’ High Command (2019a:21).
 Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North (Agar branch), موقفنا من لقاء عنتبي , 6 February 2020.
 The document states that the sovereignty council had “sponsorship” or “custody” over the peace process (“رعاية العملية السلام مع الحركات المسلحة”), but lists as the cabinet’s second competency a “work to stop wars and conflicts and build peace” (“العمل على إيقاف الحروب و النراعات و بناء السلام”). For the text of the constitutional declaration, see http://constitutionnet.org/sites/default/files/2019-10/Sudan%20Constitutional%20Declaration_Arabic_Final.pdf
 Among the armed groups negotiating with the government, some, such as the Justice and Equality Movement or the Sudan Liberation Army – Minni Minnawi, have been under Emirati patronage since their involvement as mercenaries alongside Khalifa Haftar, an Emirati client, in Libya. The Agar branch of the Sudan’s People Liberation Movement – North, as mentioned, operated a rapprochement with the UAE in April 2019, alongside other groups of Sudan Call. The UAE is working to bring the Sudan Liberation Army – Abdelwahed al-Nur and the Abdelaziz al-Hilu branch of the the Sudan’s People Liberation Movement – North, the two groups that actually control territory within Sudan, into a deal. Al-Hilu travelled to the UAE in December 2019.
Phone interview with a Sudanese activist, December 2019.
Radio Tamazuj, Sudanese rebel al-Hilu concludes visit to the UAE, 31 December 2019.
United Nations, Final Report of the Panel of Experts on Sudan, S/2020/36, 14 January 2020.
 US diplomats have been eschewing meetings with the military branches of government.
 Prime Minister Hamdok also denied having been informed of the meeting, although Shafi’a Khiddir, one of his informal advisers, said that the Prime Minister had received a 48h notice. Interview with a DC-based analyst of US foreign policy, February 2020.
The Associated Press, Netanyahu Meeting With Sudan’s Leader Was Set Up by UAE, Sudanese Official Say, 4 February 2020.
 On that occasion, the UAE also sought to impose a new leader for the security service: Gen. Abdelghaffar al-Sharif, one of the most influential spy chiefs under al-Bashir, who has since lived in exile in the UAE. Al-Burhan, Hemedti and the FFC refused. Interview with a Sudanese observer, April 2020.
 Hemedti interview to Sudan 24, 24 May 2020 : https://youtu.be/glpMPQI670w?t=2287
Abu Dhabi: The United Arab Emirates said there is support for mending the standoff with Qatar, but the media there is “undermining” that effort.
The political and social climate in the Arabian Gulf looks toward ending the Qatar crisis, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said in a tweet on Tuesday. “But Qatari media outlets seem determined to undermine any agreement,” he said. “A strange phenomenon.”
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic, trade and transport links with Qatar in 2017, accusing the gas-rich country of maintaining close ties with Iran and supporting terrorism. Qatar denies the charges.
But talks of a potential breakthrough began to circulate earlier this month. Kuwait’s foreign minister said last week that a meeting Gulf leaders was planned for Jan. 5 in Riyadh.
People with knowledge of the matter said that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are close to a preliminary rapprochement that may not initially include the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.
Also read:Now, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are nearing a US-brokered deal to end their 3-year rift
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Abbas Al LawatiИсточник: https://theprint.in/world/uae-says-qatar-media-determined-to-undermine-efforts-to-end-standoff/571747/
On January 5, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Egypt ended their three-and-a-half-year blockade of Qatar. The Al-Ula Declaration, signed during the 41st Summit of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), has led to the resumption of travel and trade between Qatar and the blockading countries. It is hoped that further discussions will lead to the full normalization of diplomatic and commercial relations.
In key ways, the blockade bolstered Qatar’s economy. This can be a positive development for regional integration. Stronger individual states will strengthen the region as a whole. Now that the blockade is lifted, the summit communique envisions greater military, foreign policy, and economic integration among GCC member states — integration for which the region is now better positioned. How will this be achieved? How will the blockade experience inform integration efforts? How can the GCC become a more effective institution? The long-term success of integration efforts will require GCC states to work together as equal partners, agree on common objectives, and strengthen their multilateral institutions.
Qatar becomes more independent
Frictions between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors are not new, but the 2017 blockade represented a more forceful effort by Riyadh and its allies to check Qatar’s independent foreign policy, which is what ultimately prompted the blockade. This policy included support for the Muslim Brotherhood, a political Islamist movement that had been branded a terrorist organization by the four blockading countries; maintaining economic ties with Iran, with whom Qatar shares its largest natural gas field; and sponsorship of the Al Jazeera Media Network, which was highly critical of other countries, as well as ideologically supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood and the popular protests and uprisings of the Arab Spring.
However, the blockade had the perverse effect of pushing Qatar to become even more independent of the GCC. Qatar strengthened its economic and political ties with Turkey, a regional rival to Saudi Arabia and the UAE and supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood. Out of necessity, Qatar also developed closer commercial ties with Iran, as Iranian airspace became a crucial corridor for Qatar to access the rest of the world. Although it became less ideological, Al Jazeera continued to cover stories critical of its neighbors, including the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul.
Qatar also became economically disengaged from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain. The purpose of the blockade was to apply economic pressure on Qatar. Before the blockade, Qatar had imported much of the goods and services it consumed through its neighbors. After the blockade, Qatar was forced to quickly develop alternative supply routes, scale up domestic production of basic goods and services, and expand its Hamad Sea Port, which had begun operations in early 2017. While this involved substantial short-run economic costs to Qatar, it also helped it become more self-sufficient and kick-started the country’s economic diversification efforts. For example, Qatar went from being dependent on milk and dairy products imported from Saudi Arabia to being largely self-sufficient. Businesses in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain lost access to a market that, although was not large, provided high profit margins.
Qatar has become more independent. After the declaration, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Qatar’s minister of foreign affairs, indicated that his country would not downgrade its economic and political relationship with Turkey or commercial ties with Iran. Qatari businesses are looking to trade with their neighbors, not just import and invest. In the context of regional integration, these are positive developments. Greater independence is a necessary step towards real integration and interdependence. Qatar can bring to the table a stronger network of international relations, as well as diversified supply routes, products, and services produced within its borders. A more balanced trade relationship between Qatar and its neighbors can take place to greater mutual benefit.
Why independence is good for integration
GCC countries do have common security, military, and foreign policy concerns that require strong regional coordination. The countries have extremist elements at home and have individually developed strong security systems to monitor and neutralize possible threats to their stability. They are wary of Iran’s military strength and regional ambitions, as three GCC countries — Kuwait, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia — have sizable Shia populations and accuse Iran of stoking sectarian tensions. They also have similar foreign policy concerns, such as the relationships with their migrant workers and their countries of origin, in addition to trade agreements with Europe, China, and other Asian economies. However, for countries to contribute substantively to an integrated regional security framework, they need to have strong security sectors, militaries, alliances, and networks of their own to bring to the table.
Likewise, GCC countries all face economic pressures from declining hydrocarbon reserves and revenues. They differ with respect to the timeframe of this decline, but all of them must deal with this challenge. A few months before the coronavirus pandemic, the International Monetary Fund published a report that projected that most GCC countries could exhaust their financial wealth within 25 years. The pandemic and resultant lower prices of oil have no doubt moved this timeline forward. The pandemic itself has also demonstrated the importance of regional integration around health policy and response. The way forward for GCC countries is to diversify and liberalize their economies. Regional economic integration can be especially helpful if countries can specialize in different sectors, commodities, and services that would permit gains from trade. To achieve this, they must develop and specialize on their own. Thus, successful regional integration requires individual countries to have stronger economic foundations.
Regional integration also requires countries to work together and to coordinate on foreign policy. Saudi Arabia in particular finds itself in a precarious foreign policy position. The war in Yemen has extracted a huge social, economic, and political toll; it is facing mounting criticism over its human rights record; and its efforts to contain Iran are a risk of faltering. The incoming Biden administration has signaled that it will take a tougher stance on Saudi Arabia than the Trump administration did. Qatar understands this and has signaled that it will co-operate on counterterrorism and security issues. While it does not want to give up its independent foreign policy, it is eager to reduce the pressure on other member states and support their policy priorities, including investing in their economies and suspending legal claims for blocking their airspace, currency manipulation, and other grievances.
The next step: Enabling institutions
The Al-Ula Declaration and GCC Summit were an important first step towards reconciliation; yet much work remains to be done. Indeed, reconciliation from the side of the blockading countries was driven primarily by Saudi Arabia in response to the prospect of a new Iran nuclear deal and its efforts to reduce international pressures ahead of the incoming Biden administration. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, was the face of the GCC summit and his warm embrace of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Amir of Qatar, signaled the end of the blockade. While other blockading countries have followed suit in resuming travel and trade with Qatar, bilateral discussions regarding remaining issues are needed in order to re-establish full diplomatic and commercial ties.
All GCC countries would benefit from greater coordination and integration of security, foreign policy, and economic functions. This is what the summit sought to achieve. To prevent such efforts from impinging on their national interests and independence, member states should enhance the role of multilateral institutions that support regional integration and coordination, especially the GCC. It is indicative that mediation efforts to resolve the blockade were driven by Kuwait. Even though the Gulf Cooperation Council is represented at the highest levels of government through its Supreme Council, comprised of the heads of its member states, and its Ministerial Council, comprised of the foreign ministers of all the member states, as an institution, the GCC itself was barely visible. Gulf states should grant the GCC Secretariat more authority to pursue economic and foreign policy coordination efforts and even to play a more formal role in resolving regional disputes. In the end, GCC member states must work together to confront the economic, security, and foreign policy challenges they all face.
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Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, U.A.E. Cut Contacts With Qatar, Citing 'Terrorism'
Several Arab nations have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, citing the country’s alleged support for Islamist groups and its close relations with Iran.
In a coordinated move, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) announced on June 5 that they would withdraw their diplomatic staff and sever all contacts with Qatar, largely isolating the gas-rich nation that will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and is home to a major U.S. military base.
Qatar said there was "no legitimate justification" for the decisions.
Persian Gulf nations see Qatar as too close to Iran and Islamist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood, a group which some ruling families in the region view as a threat to their rule.
All the nations also said they planned to cut air and sea traffic with Qatar and gave Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave their countries. Saudi Arabia said it also would shut its land border with Qatar, effectively cutting off Qatar from the rest of the Arabian Peninsula.
Yemen’s internationally recognized government followed regional allies in cutting ties with Qatar. So did an eastern-based government in Libya, which has spurned the UN-backed, internationally recognized government in Tripoli and has little authority within the country.
Saudi Arabia accused Qatar of supporting "multiple terrorist and sectarian groups...including the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS (Islamic State), and Al-Qaeda."
A statement carried by Saudi state news agency SPA also accused Qatar of supporting what it described as Iranian-backed militants in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Saudi Arabia also said Qatari troops would be removed from the ongoing war in Yemen.
Bahrain said its decision was the result of what it called Qatar's "media incitement, support for armed terrorist activities, and funding linked to Iranian groups to carry out sabotage and spreading chaos in Bahrain."
Egypt's Foreign Ministry said "all attempts to stop [Qatar] from supporting terrorist groups failed."
The United Arab Emirates accuses Doha of "supporting, funding and embracing terrorism, extremism, and sectarian organizations," state news agency WAM said, adding that Abu Dhabi gave Qatari diplomats 48 hours to leave.
U.A.E. carriers Emirates, Etihad, Fly Dubai. and Air Arabia, as well as Saudi Airlines, all announced earlier they would suspend flights to Doha starting from June 6.
Doha-based carrier Qatar Airways said on June 5 that it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia.
Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said it regretted the move, saying "the measures are unjustified and are based on claims and allegations that have no basis in fact."
Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV quoted the ministry as saying the decisions would "not affect the normal lives of citizens and residents.”
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on Gulf states to stay united and work out their differences.
"We certainly would encourage the parties to sit down together and address these differences," he said on June 5.
Tillerson said he does not believe the diplomatic crisis would affect the military campaign against the extremist group Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria.
Qatar is home to the sprawling Al-Udeid air base, which houses the U.S. military's Central Command and some 10,000 American troops.
In Tehran, a senior Iranian official said the decision to sever diplomatic ties with Qatar would not help end the crisis in the Middle East.
"The era of cutting diplomatic ties and closing borders...is not a way to resolve crisis. ... As I said before, aggression and occupation will have no result but instability," Hamid Aboutalebi, deputy chief of staff of Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, said on Twitter.
In Islamabad, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said that Pakistan has no immediate plans to cut ties with Qatar.
Relations have long been strained between Qatar and regional emirates and Saudi Arabia, a close ally of Bahrain and the United States.
The most recent dispute appeared to surface after what Qatar said were fake remarks published by hackers on the official Qatar News Agency on May 24.
The Qatari News Agency report claimed the small Persian Gulf nation had withdrawn its ambassadors from Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E. because of "tension" with the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.
The fake article also quoted Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani as saying Iran is an "Islamic power" and Qatar's relations with Israel are "good."
But tensions appeared to increase, nevertheless.
Al-Raya, a government-owned Qatari daily, published pictures of U.A.E. journalists it called "mercenaries."
A Saudi news website showed a cartoon of a Qatari man shaking the hand of a Gulf neighbor while stabbing him in the back with a knife.
In 2014, Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar to protest its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, a group which some ruling families in the Gulf view as an threat to their rule.
With reporting by AP, Reuters, Al-Arabiya, and AFP
UAE, Qatar officials meet in Kuwait amid Gulf thaw
Kuwait hosted officials from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates on Monday in their first such meeting since the Gulf states ended their yearslong rift with Doha, the Emirati state news agency reported.
Saudi Arabia and its allies Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt severed ties with gas-rich Qatar in June 2017, accusing their neighbor of funding terrorism and growing too close to Iran and Turkey.
Doha denies supporting terrorist groups but admits to backing Islamist movements including Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar, a tiny peninsula in the Persian Gulf, refused to comply with the Quartet’s 13 conditions for lifting the blockade, which included cutting ties with Tehran and shutting down the Qatari-funded Al Jazeera TV network.
After more than three years of Qatar’s diplomatic and economic isolation, the Saud-led bloc reached a “solidarity and stability” pact with Doha during the annual summit of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council, which was held in the Saudi desert city of Al-Ula in January.
According to the Emirati state news agency WAM, the Emirati and Qatari delegations in Kuwait on Monday “discussed joint mechanisms and procedures for implementing the Al-Ula statement.”
“They emphasized the importance of preserving Gulf kinship and developing joint Gulf action in the interest of GCC countries and their citizens, and of achieving stability and prosperity in the region,” WAM said, without specifying who from each country was in attendance.
The agency said the two delegations praised Riyadh for hosting the January summit and thanked Kuwait for its mediation efforts.
Since restoring ties, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways has announced the resumption of flights to Doha, and Qatar Airways is now flying to Abu Dhabi and Dubai. In early January, the UAE opened its air, sea and land ports to Qatar.