Browsing 'blockade' News

Qatar had been working hard both externally and internally to neutralise and even by-pass the effects of political and economic embargo imposed on the country by Saudi led bloc. Qatar is finally to yield required support from US.

A high level strategic dialogue in Washington took place between US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defence James Mattis and Qatari counterparts Foreign Minister Mohammed Al Thani and Defence Minister Khalid al-Attiyah, on Tuesday.

The first session of the dialogue focussed on strengthening security ties between US and Qatar and concluded with a joint declaration by both the countries to promote peace and stability and counter the scourge of terrorism.US also committed that it will work with Qatar to “deter and confront” external threats to Qatar’s territorial integrity

US and Qatar counterparts had a detailed discussion on the ongoing gulf crisis which have become a challenge to Qatar’s sovereignty and integrity. Both the governments expressed concern over the negative impact of the ongoing crisis on polity, economy and life in the region. Serious concerns were also raised in context to peace and stability in the region which has been jeopardised and is a stern violation of international law.

Both the countries expressed their commitment for seeking a resolution to the ongoing gulf crisis and affirmed their backing for a strong Gulf Cooperation Council that is focused on countering regional threats and ensuring a peaceful and prosperous future for all its peoples.

Qatar appreciated US role in taking a strong and just position in the crisis and significant part it plays in countering threats of terrorism and violent extremism. Apart from the ongoing crisis both countries discussed about various other threats to regional security and stability focussing on efforts to defeat ISIS, ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan, as well as efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The strategic dialogue till now has proved a mutually benefiting dialogue though it follows few days after Qatar announced an expansion of a US airbase in its capital, Doha. US, though, has emphasised its support for Doha but it is still calling for all sides to compromise.

Qatar Currency Manipulation

The ongoing Gulf crisis instead of being resolved are becoming more complex with new issues surfacing on the horizon. Qatar already made it clear earlier that the blockade which is veiled as a diplomatic crisis is a veiled economic warfare.

Qatar has further enhanced its argument of economic sabotage by alleging rival Gulf countries attacking its currency through “blatant, unlawful market manipulation,” in the letter which was sent to global regulators including Securities and Exchange Commission, regulators in the U.K. and Luxembourg.

Qatar stated that the manipulation of its currency is a well-planned economic attack waged to target its bonds and a well-coordinated scheme to extract funds from the Banks of Qatar creating shortage of liquidity.

Qatar Central Bank also showed a considerable outflow of funds from its financial system after the diplomatic standoff began.

The crisis has already imposed a pressure on Qatar’s financial per reports, Fitch Ratings in August downgraded Qatar’s credit rating to AA- from AA because of geopolitical risks related to the diplomatic standoff, which it said was “unlikely to be resolved for some time.”

Qatar’s Finance Minister Ali Al Emadi expressed his concern to Wall Street Journal in November, about the financial drain and stated that Qatari authorities were investigating possible manipulation of its currency. He stated that “These tactics are not only unethical, but they give misleading information for international investors…about how the economy is doing.”

Possibly, Qatari authorities found a connection to the manipulation of currency when a presentation made by employee of Banque Havilland—a private wealth bank in Luxembourg with clients in the Persian Gulf—emerged on the internet last November.

The presentation was worrisome as it explained about the financial weapons that can be used to create pressure on Qatar to release money for protecting its currency that will be affecting by a purposeful targeting of its bonds.

The presentation entitled “Control the Yield Curve, Decide the Future,” was distributed by a group called “Global leaks” , who also sent journalist stolen emails from account of Yousef Al Otaiba, the U.A.E.’s ambassador to the U.S.

Though the group has completely denied to identify its members and source of information, it stated last year that it functions on the lines to “expose corruption, financial frauds which are done by rich governments.”

Banque Havilland is still silent on the allegation levied by Qatar but denied any kind of “improper conduct” and its “intend to execute any of the transactions on financial instruments” as stated in the presentation.

In the letters written to the global regulators Qatar’s lawyers has asked to “examine the extraordinary conduct of Banque Havilland” for devising “a plan to engage in financial warfare against Qatar.”  They have also provided details of certain suspicious market moments that can only be caused in an attempt to manipulate the financial market.

Apparently, the case suggests that there is a planned economic attack on the economic institutions of Qatar by manufacturing and spreading pathetic image about Qatar’s economy with the aim to economically pull down one of the biggest competitor in the region.



GCC Blockade violation of Human Rights

Qatar has been trying its best to keep people unaffected by the ongoing blockade imposed by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. It has also been appreciated for the same internationally. But it would be closing eyes to the reality if we deny that it has affected people residing in the country greatly.

The report issued by United National Office of High Commissioner for Human rights (OHCHR), following its November mission testifies the same. The mission held from November 17 to 24 at OHCHR included meetings with some 20 governments, civil societies as well as people affected by the blockade with the objective of understanding the scenario.

A copy of the report issued by OHCHR was sent to the National Human Rights Committee of Qatar (NHCR). As per the declaration made in context to the report by head of NHRC, Ali Bin Smaikh al-Marri yesterday, stated that the report serves as a documented proof that GCC blockade is not just unethical and arbitrary but also illegal as it is clear infringement of the human rights.

He stated that “This report shows without a spec of doubt that these procedures undertaken by blockading countries are not merely diplomatic severing of relations, they are not just an economic boycott,” in fact, “These are unilateral, abusive, arbitrary measures that are impacting citizens and expats in Qatar.”

The disclosures made referring to the OHCHR report clearly suggested the measures taken to impose blockade are much more than a diplomatic tension but a well-planned economic warfare led by Saudi-Arabia. To meet their selfish rivalry they have staked the life of not only Qatari citizens but also expats from various countries residing in Qatar.

People in Doha celebrated the report as a victory of human rights of the people residing in the country as this may prove as an official recognition of injustice that they have experienced for several months, by United Nations institution.

Despite recognition by Amnesty International earlier in June 2017, accusing Gulf States toying with lives of people there have not been paid much heed by the GCC countries. Hopefully this report will bring an end to their arbitrary agendas and the ongoing injustice on the people residing in Qatar.