Browsing 'gcc' News

Riyadh Summit

Qatar has formally been invited to attend this year’s Arab League summit, set to be held in Riyadh on April 15. Saudi Arabia had earlier postponed the summit to April, saying the original date in late March clashed with Egypt’s presidential election. According to Lulwa al-Khater, a spokesperson for Qatar’s foreign ministry, Qatar will take part but has yet to decide on the level of participation.

Maybe, just maybe, the upcoming summit could lead to the thawing of the bitter relationship between Qatar and the Arab bloc, although going by the attitude of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, who categorically pointed out earlier in March that he would not tolerate outside mediation in the resolution to the Gulf crisis, the possibilities are remote.

But going by the historical role the League has played, there may be some hope of at least a start of reconciliation.

After all, the League’s prime objective is to draw closer the relations between member States and co-ordinate collaboration between them, to safeguard their independence and sovereignty, and to consider in a general way the affairs and interests of the Arab countries. It facilitates political, economic, cultural, scientific, and social programmes designed to promote the interests of the Arab world.

In the past, it has served as a forum for the member states to coordinate their policy positions, to deliberate on matters of common concern, to settle some Arab disputes and to limit conflicts such as the 1958 Lebanon crisis.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates imposed a sea, land and air blockade on Qatar on June 5, 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism and destabilising the region. Doha has consistently denied these charges.

Starting with only six members in 1945, the Arab League now has 22 members. Qatar joined in 1971. One of the significant agendas will be to seek to prevent Israel from gaining a rotating seat on the U.N. Security Council in 2019.

 

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 system.as 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.