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12 October 2017 12:00 am

GCC Crisis Week 19 – UAE official: crisis fabricated to strip Qatar of World Cup

In this week’s updates, Dubai’s Head of General Security admits that goal of blockade is to strip Qatar of the World Cup, US forces withdraw exercises with Gulf allies over the crisis, and Kuwait says crisis may be resolved by December. Read the article for more.
ILQ Staff
ILQ Staff
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(Photo credit: iStock by Getty Images)

Cover image courtesy of The Gulf Times

Here’s what has happened since last week’s updates:

October 6

The US Army announced that it would cease some regional exercises with its Gulf Arab allies in an attempt to influence a resolution to the ongoing GCC crisis as it now enters its fourth month.

Air Force Colonel John Thomas, a spokesperson for Central Command, stated: “We are opting out of some military exercises out of respect for the concept of inclusiveness and shared regional interests.”

The Gulf hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet and the Al Udaid Air Base is the nerve centre for the American military’s campaigns in Afghanistan and regional operations against ISIS.

October 7

Qatar’s government issued a directive to provide aid to private sector businesses to offset the economic ramifications of the Gulf crisis. The Qatar News Agency announced that Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani has ordered that companies in Qatar’s logistics zones have their rents cut in half for 2018 and 2019, while the Qatar Development Bank will postpone the collection of loan payments for up to six months for industrial sector projects. 

October 9

Dhahi Khalfan, Head of General Security for the Emirate of Dubai, caused widespread public reaction when he Tweeted an alleged admission that the GCC crisis was fabricated to remove Qatar of its right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The Tweet stated that: ‘If the World Cup goes away from Qatar, the Qatar crisis will go away…because the crisis is fabricated in order to break it.’

Qatar responded by reaffirming its commitment to hosting the tournament with Supreme Committee Secretary-General Hassan Al Thawadi saying “Our projects are going ahead as scheduled. This blockade is no risk in relation to the hosting of the World Cup. 

Qatar also condemned an attack on a palace guard post in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah on Monday in which two security guards were killed and three others wounded by 28 year-old Saudi national Mansour al-Amri.

October 12

Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled al-Jarallah says he believes the GCC crisis could be settled before the GCC leaders’ summit takes place in December, reiterating his faith in Kuwait’s Emir to mediate the crisis.

Qatar’s Director of the Government Communications Office, HE Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed bin Saif Al Thani also reinforced that Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup was not up for questioning, expressing that the blockading states’ “weak attempts to tie the hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to their illegal blockade show their desperation to justify their inhumane action. The World Cup, like our sovereignty, is not up for discussion or negotiation.”

Representatives from Qatar’s financial sector came forward to state that the country’s banking institutions are stronger than ever after a coordinated effort of reorganization between local banks in the wake of the crisis, and in a move towards self-reliance. 

Ambassador of France to Qatar, HE Mr. Eric Chevallier announced support and joint cooperation between the two nations to offset any economic consequence of the blockade on Qatar’s healthcare system.  Chevallier stated that “Qatar is extremely resilient in facing the crisis. Qatar is committed to further developing its economy, that is why it’s welcoming new foreign partners.” 

Representatives from French healthcare products manufacturing companies met with officials from Hamad Medical Corporation on Wednesday to explore joint ventures in economic development during the crisis. Areas of collaboration include pharmaceutical products, e-health systems, medical electronic devices, and mobility solutions.

What are your thoughts on this week’s current updates on developments amid the GCC crisis? Drop us a line and tell us your thoughts in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to like and share this article.