What are the latest political developments on the GCC Crisis? If you've missed them, then you're at the right place. Read all the way down to get the latest updates on the political developments in the ongoing Gulf crisis.
And here's what happened last week: GCC Crisis Updates Week 169.
The Al Jazeera Network has condemned an order from the US Department of Justice (DOJ) that is forcing AJ+, which is part of Al Jazeera and makes videos for social media in different languages, to register as a foreign agent. Al Jazeera says that it appears that the designation was a precondition laid down by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to "normalise" diplomatic relations with Israel, based on a news report by Al Jazeera.
In a letter that is dated Monday, the DOJ said that AJ+ should be subject to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), while laying a claim that the AJ+ participates in "political activities" on behalf of the government of Qatar. Since AJ+ only has offices in Doha and Washington, DC, the FARA would just apply to AJ+ English, which is based in the US.
Jay I Bratt, the DOJ's counterintelligence chief, mentioned in the letter that the Qatari government provides funding to Al Jazeera and also appoints its board of directors. He wrote:
"Journalism designed to influence American perceptions of a domestic policy issue or a foreign nation's activities or its leadership qualifies as 'political activities' under the statutory definition." (Al Jazeera)
The Al Jazeera made a statement to the New York times in which it said:
"The UAE has confirmed it presented the United States with preconditions prior to announcing the Abraham Accords, and we received DOJ's letter the day before the UAE signed the Accords (with Israel)."
"Hobbling Al Jazeera was one of the top conditions of the UAE's blockade against Qatar and the Justice Department just gave the UAE what it wanted." (Al Jazeera)
In an interview with Bloomberg, the Spokesperson for the Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs Lolwah al-Khater hinted that there may be some progress towards ending a three-year-old blockade against Qatar by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.
Lolwah Al-Khater talked to Bloomberg just a day before UAE and Israel sign their first treaty. On Friday, Bahrain also announced that it would normalise relations with Israel.
The blockade placed on Qatar on 5 June 2017 has frustrated President Donald Trump's efforts to form a united front against Iran in the Gulf area, and a new round of US-led mediation talks was launched just recently.
According to Lolwah Al-Khater said.
"In the past couple of months, there have been messages and messengers going back and forth.
"It's very early to talk about a real breakthrough" but the "coming few weeks might reveal something new" (Bloomberg)
She also said:
"The point we are at is engaging constructively in unconditional negotiations and discussions" that "do not necessarily need to include all parties at once." (Bloomberg)
Lolwah Al-Khater's remarks came just a few days after the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington was hopeful that Saudi Arabia and its allies would end the GCC Crisis.
Qatar affirmed that the continuing blockade imposed on it, with no signs of any resolution in sight, would encourage more violations of different kinds and types, which is already taking place. This statement was made by His Excellency Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations Office in Geneva Ambassador Ali Khalfan Al Mansouri in the 45th session of the Human Rights Council, according to the MOFA Qatar.
The MOFA Qatar added that, even after, over three years have passed since the blockade, Qatar has proven that the argument on which the blockade was based is invalid, and all it left in its wake was human rights violations that have affected and inconveniences individuals and families, including the citizens of the countries that imposed the blockade.
Ali Khalfan Al Mansouri also commented that from where he stands, it's the Council and the Office of the High Commissioner's responsibility to work towards ending the blockade and the human rights violations that are coming out of it.
His Excellency renewed the call made by Qatar on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities and to work towards an immediate end to the GCC crisis.
The Al Jazeera reported that the US President Trump's administration wants to capitalise on agreements that will be signed this week between Israel, UAE and Bahrain and urging for an end to the GCC Crisis.
Mike Pompeo said on Monday that the US is hopeful that Saudi Arabia and its allies will end a blockade against Qatar that has continued for over three years even though the US has repeatedly called on all the involved countries for a resolution.
"To keep our focus on this work and to close the door to increased Iranian meddling, it's past time to find a solution to the Gulf rift.
"The Trump administration is eager to see this dispute resolved and to open Qatar's air and land borders currently blocked by other Gulf states. I look forward to progress on this issue." (Al Jazeera)
Pompeo made the comments at the opening of the US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue which was also attended by Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and their Qatari counterparts.
During the opening of the activities of the third US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated that the relation of the US with Qatar is strategic and important, it goes far beyond the issues of defence and economy and includes friendship between the two countries, according to Al Sharq.
Pompeo said Qatar plays a strategic role when it comes to stabilising the GCC region and reducing tensions in Syria and Lebanon. He also indicated that the US and Qatar will hold discussions on investment, trade, military cooperation and combatting terrorism. He also stressed that US President Donald Trump and his administration will help try to end the GCC dispute.
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