Monday, 10 December, 2018

Saudi Arabia 'arrests clerics in crackdown on dissent'

Muslim cleric Sheikh Salman al-Awdah 60 was reportedly taken into custody on Saturday just days after he took to Twitter to welcome reports that Saudi and Qatari royals had made contact after months of their prolonged dispute Saudi Arabia 'arrests clerics in crackdown on dissent'
Christy Curtis | 15 September, 2017, 00:30

"May God harmonise between their hearts for the good of their people", Ouda said on Twitter after a report of a telephone call between Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss ways to resolve the rift which began in June.

For a moment, it appeared as though it might lead to an opening for resolving the three-month-old dispute that has divided USA allies in the Persian Gulf, with Qatar on one side and a Saudi-led bloc of four countries on the other.

Arab foreign ministers meet in Cairo, Egypt, September 12, 2017. "Hence, directives were issued to suspend any talks with Qatar until it issues its clear position publicly, and its willingness to dialogue", he said adding "what has Qatar done reinforced the fact that they are unwilling to enter into dialogue".

Rising debt, increased debt issuance from other GCC states, and rising USA interest rates had put pressure on Bahrain's financing costs since 2014, Moody's said.

Muraikhi's remarks sparked angry reactions from Ahmed al-Qattan, Saudi Arabia's envoy to the Arab League, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Emirati State Minister for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, with the Qatari minister and Qattan even telling each other to "be quiet". "What Qatar has done reinforced the fact that they are unwilling to enter into dialogue". "If the Qatari brothers think that if the rapprochement with Iran would serve their interests, they are carrying out matters in a wrong way and they will be accountable for that", he said.

"The severity of the diplomatic dispute between Gulf countries is unprecedented, which magnifies the uncertainty over the ultimate economic, fiscal and social impact on the GCC [Gulf Co-operation Council] as a whole", said Moody's Vice-President Steffen Dyck.

"Everyone knows the reality of the destructive Iranian role toward the Arab states, especially the Gulf states, with its interference in internal affairs and destabilizing and undermining the security of the GCC states", he said.

The bitter dispute between Gulf states and Qatar threatened to deepen amid a slanging match between rival ministers over the status of Iran.

Qatar is facing regional isolation after Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain plus Egypt cut ties with the small monarchy on June 5. The countries accused Qatar of supporting terrorist networks and called on the nation to downgrade its relations with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and close its al-Jazeera media outlet, among other things.

Israel's neighbors in the Middle East continue to sling mud at one another in their quarrel over Qatar.

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