Here’s what’s happened since last week’s updates: Egypt and Saudi Arabia reaffirm maintaining blockade on Qatar
H.H. the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani received Tuesday a written message from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, that invites HH the Amir to attend the 39th Summit of the Supreme Council of the GCC that will be hosted by the Kingdom on December 9, reported QNA.
The message was delivered by HE Secretary-General of the GCC Dr Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, during a reception today by HE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad Al Muraikhi.
Qatar is withdrawing from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as of January 2019, Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, the country’s energy minister said on Monday (December 3, 2018) while speaking at a news conference in Doha.
As he said: “Qatar has decided to withdraw its membership from OPEC effective January 2019 and this decision was communicated to OPEC this morning.”
The Minister added that this decision was communicated to OPEC before the announcement. He stressed that Qatar will continue to abide by all commitments like any country outside the OPEC, but Qatar will not be committed to OPEC agreements after exiting.
The US rarely has unblemished partners so it will pour more defensive weapons into Saudi Arabia despite outrage over Khashoggi and Yemen, Pentagon chief James Mattis admitted as the nation handed the kingdom a big new deal.
Saudi Arabia has signed a letter of offer and acceptance with the United States for Lockheed Martin's THAAD missile system, a significant step forward in the $15 billion deal.
Manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon's top weapons supplier, THAAD, or terminal high altitude area defense, is regarded as America's crown jewel in missile defense systems. Under the $15 billion contract, Riyadh will receive 44 THAAD launchers, missiles and related equipment.
The THAAD deal between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. has been in works since December 2016. Meanwhile, as the Khashoggi case unfolds, Germany and other American allies suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia and Trump threatened "severe punishment" if the journalist was in fact murdered. So the deal appeared at risk following pressure over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as well as Saudi Arabia's role in the war in Yemen.
Later Trump said there are other ways of punishing and he was disinterested in stopping a Saudi Arabian "investment of $110 billion into the United States," despite tensions over Khashoggi's disappearance and he affirmed that the U.S. would continue to stand with Saudi Arabia
State Department spokesperson, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that: "After completing required congressional notifications in 2017, followed by many months of negotiation, signing letters of offer and acceptance marks a step toward protecting the United States and its regional partners from Iranian-origin missiles."
"The sale of the THAAD missile defense system benefits U.S. national security by supporting the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of the growing ballistic missile threat from the Iranian regime and Iran-backed extremist groups," the spokesperson added.
Saudi Arabia's oil-rich monarchy is one of America's most crucial strategic partners in the Middle East and a significant patron of U.S. defense companies. Saudi Arabia is America's No. 1 weapons buyer. Between 2013 and 2017, Riyadh accounted for 18% of total U.S. arms sales or about $9 billion, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
What are your thoughts on these latest developments in the ongoing GCC Crisis? Drop us a line and tell us your thoughts in the comments below, and don’t forget to like and share this article.
(Cover photo: Bandar Algaloud / Anadolu Agency))
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