The Saudi Blockade of Qatar - can anyone explain what is going on?

That would be the bit where certain countries issuing ultimatums to smaller neighbours gets labelled 'aggression' and attracts calls for sanctions and for 'something' to be done, yet for others... deafening silence.

If you are really, seriously trying to claim that the Saudi's treatment of Yemen and Qatar has been treated in any way the same as other aggressor nations, you'll get very few takers.
You need to stop putting words in my mouth. I haven't claimed anything other than that you persistently snipe at the UK government and ignore everyone else, including the Scottish government.

How has China and the UN reacted to Yemen and why have they reacted as they have? How has China reacted to Yemen in respect of military action other than by upping its sales to both sides?
How has China and the UN reacted to Yemen and why have they reacted as they have?
By NOT playing favourites.
By NOT changing their minds about the wrongness of an action based on who's doing it.
By NOT legitimising one set of aggressions while criticising others and flinging bombs at a third set.

What does that have to do with whether UK Gov has a set of standards that it upholds in a partisan fashion?
By NOT playing favourites.
By NOT changing their minds about the wrongness of an action based on who's doing it.
By NOT legitimising one set of aggressions while criticising others and flinging bombs at a third set.

What does that have to do with whether UK Gov has a set of standards that it upholds in a partisan fashion?
Aye, right. Which is why they're fairly quiet on Yemen, they're making lots off both major players and their oil is safe.

China is legitimising aggression by enabling it, no difference there. Their weapon supplies to Iran support the wars in Yemen and Syria. Their footprint is all over the ME, they also supply arms supplies to Hezbollah and Syria, including chlorine, which suggests tacit support. Some of their arms supplied to KSA have ended up in the hands of FSA. China can proclaim policies of non interference as much as it wants, fib-r-us comes to mind.

On the third point they're going to start getting involved at some time, somewhere, it's inevitable. Just a matter of time and when they're ready.

I've nothing against China, it will do what's in its best interests, as every country does.

Once again you've sidestepped why you're always happy to snipe at the UK government and nobody else. Once again, what makes you think that Qatar isn't being reported?

What exactly should they be doing with respect to Qatar? What do you think we're not doing? Qatar supplies a huge amount of our LNG imports and has around £40 billion invested in the UK. KSA is a strategic ally and has around £60 billion invested. I'd imagine our man in Riyadh and our man in Doha are alternately keeping their heads down and spending forever on the phone to London.
Qatar shows mettle, offers compromise as Gulf states prepare meeting
Qatar is to increase LNG production by 30% and have responded to the three Gulf nations and Egypts demands:
"What Qatar has given in goodwill and good initiative for a constructive solution, based on dialogue, we believe should be sufficient (to show) we have carried out our duties from our side," Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told a news conference in Doha.

"There is a lot of progress that has been made on that front (countering terrorism financing)... but of course there is always room for improvement," he said, describing the sanctions as illegal steps under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

They're also prepared to meet any 'reasonable' demands
The Saudi led coalition have rejected Qatar's response to the ultimatum, saying that Qatar is "not serious" about ending the crisis. Qatar's response to demands 'not serious,' rivals say
Four Arab nations seeking to isolate Qatar for its alleged support for terrorism issued a statement on Wednesday saying Doha's response to their demands to end the crisis was "not serious."

The statement came after foreign ministers from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain met in Egypt's capital after receiving Doha's response to their list of demands.

The Egyptian foreign minister said that Qatar "does not realise the gravity of the situation".
He also described Doha's response as a "position that reflects a failure to realize the gravity of the situation."

Turkey's president repeated his country's support for Qatar, and said that what is being done by the Saudi led coalition is contrary to international law and shows a lack of respect for Turkey and Qatar.
Earlier, Turkey's president underlined his country's support for Qatar and its anger at the demand by the four nations that Doha close a Turkish military base in the capital.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying in an interview with German weekly Die Zeit published on Wednesday that "what is being done with Qatar runs counter to international law."

He said the demand for the Turkish base to be closed shows "a lack of respect toward us and Qatar,"

He also questioned why the ultimatum demands that Turkey close their base in Qatar, but ignores the presence of the Americans and French.
and added that "the Americans are also there, with 9,000 soldiers, and so are the French." "Why are the Saudis disturbed by us and not by that? This is unacceptable," he added.

He also criticised the demand to close al Jazeera.
Erdogan also criticized a demand for the closure of broadcaster al-Jazeera, saying Ankara "will support Qatar in every way, because we share the same values, have good relations and we cannot be silent about the injustice."

We don't know the exact wording of whatever communications are going back and forth between the two sides, but it would appear that little or no progress is being made towards resolving the crisis.
With a lifetime’s employment in - and, continuing interest in - the automotive manufacturing industry, the following pertinent information came to my attention . . .

In search of new markets, Volkswagen returns to Iran

"VW’s push in Iran coincides with intensifying political tension in the Gulf region embroiling VW’s third-largest shareholder, Qatar, which is facing an unprecedented boycott by four of its neighbours over alleged ties to Muslim extremists. Iran and Turkey have stepped in to support the emirate".


In search of new markets, Volkswagen returns to Iran

Saudi Arabia is (apparently) concerned with Qatar’s “political” (and geographical) proximity to Iran
World-beating wealth props up Qatar against Arab sanctions
Despite some calling it a 'crisis' including the BBC, it appears Qatar can 'weather the storm' for some considerable time. The main problem (which would lead to an international crisis), is ensuring its export of LNG continues:
"As long as we can sell our products we can withstand this for a very, very long time. The only thing that can really hurt us is if they block the gas exports, but then you provoke a crisis in the world," said a top Qatari banker.

"The economy will suffer but not to the point that we Qataris will suffer," he added, declining to be named because his bank still does some business in other Gulf Arab states. "Instead of having five maids at home, we'll have three."
Qatar is showing no signs of knuckling under to the ultimatum, which puts the Saudi-backed coalition in a difficult position. Qatar's defiance may spur Arab quartet to act
Qatar is showing no signs that it is about to bend to the demands of the four Arab countries lined up against it.

That puts the quartet of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, which have accused Doha of a host of transgressions, including backing extremist groups, in a tough spot.

Qatar is essentially calling their bluff, forcing them to either find new ways to increase the pressure on Qatar, or back down.
By refusing to give in to the Arab states' ultimatum, tiny but wealthy Qatar is calling their bluff and forcing them to prove how much leverage they actually have over their wayward neighbour — which could spur them to impose more punitive sanctions.

In a statement released late Thursday, the four governments said they will take new political, economic and legal steps against Qatar, without elaborating on when the new steps would be announced or what they would entail.

Their options at this point however are limited. They could try things like pulling their deposits out of Qatar's banks. Or, they could do something more dramatic such as trying to disrupt Qatar's gas exports.
Their options are limited, however. To really hit Qatar where it hurts would involve measures like forcing Gulf banks to pull their deposits out of the country or, even more dramatically, disrupting shipments of its economic lifeblood, natural gas — an escalation few analysts believe the countries seriously have an appetite for.

Many people expected Qatar to give in to the ultimatum quickly. However, Qatar's citizens have rallied to support their emir. Qatar has proven to be much more resilient than expected.
Many Gulf observers expected Qatar to quickly capitulate when the crisis erupted last month and the four Arab states cut diplomatic ties and moved to isolate it. But the World Cup 2022 host has shown resilience.

The Qataris responded with rare displays of patriotic fervour, holding rallies in support of 37-year-old Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who ascended to the throne just four years ago.

The Saudi led coalition apparently had no plan of what to do if Qatar didn't capitulate to the ultimatum.
"There's no indication that these states have necessarily a long-term plan of how this conflict is going to play out," said Allison Wood, a Dubai-based analyst at Control Risks who watches Qatar closely.

The news story raises the possibility that the Saudi-led coalition may decide to escalate the situation by imposing a naval blockade on Qatar's LNG exports. This could be done by either blockading Qatar's ports, or by closing off the Straits of Hormuz to traffic going to and from Qatar.
Carrying an even bigger economic punch would be disrupting shipments of its vital export, natural gas. Doing that would require preventing the hulking tanker ships that carry a super-cooled form of the fuel from reaching markets in Asia and elsewhere.

Such a move would likely involve militarily blocking Qatar's ports or preventing its ships from entering the Strait of Hormuz, the key passageway at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Those measures would be tantamount to a declaration of war — a provocation few experts believe any of the countries want.

I will add that blockading Qatar's LNG exports would be a major military escalation, and would have serious consequences around the world. Qatar has a very large share of the world's LNG market, and this would almost certainly draw outside powers into the conflict if it were to be maintained for any length of time. Even the threat of it could cause natural gas prices to rise substantially around the world hitting many economies hard. Even countries which don't import LNG could be affected, due to the way that many gas markets are interlinked.

The article sees a more likely scenario as Qatar being expelled or suspended from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
A more likely scenario could see Qatar frozen out of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a six-member group of hereditarily ruled states dominated by Saudi Arabia that includes the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Kuwait, which is mediating the Qatar crisis, and Oman round out the group.

Personally, I would see any settlement that is limited to Qatar leaving the GCC as being a loss for Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It would mean that a small but influential Gulf emirate had faced down its larger neighbours and kept its independence by keeping its collective nerve. This could encourage other GCC members such as Oman and Kuwait to pay less attention to GCC measures that they don't agree with.

Overall, I would say that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have handled this situation very badly so far. There is however still plenty of room for them to do even worse in future.
This could be done by either blockading Qatar's ports, or by closing off the Straits of Hormuz to traffic going to and from Qatar.

I will add that blockading Qatar's LNG exports would be a major military escalation, and would have serious consequences around the world.
Well, back to my first war then. 30-odd years forward, 30-odd years back.

On another view, though, I'm not sure that the Saudis have the kit or the competence to enforce a blockade and, dredging back the memories, the way through the Straits goes through Iranian territorial waters? Blockading that will be even more "interesting" than you suggested.
Qatar has said they will seek compensation for financial losses from the countries which imposed a limited blockade on them. Qatar to seek compensation for damages from Arab blockade

Qatar's government said Sunday it is forming a committee to pursue compensation for damages stemming from its isolation by four Arab countries.

These include claims by private companies, individuals, and the state.
Qatari Public Prosecutor Ali Al-Marri told reporters in the Qatari capital of Doha that the committee will handle claims made by private companies, public institutions and individuals.

There aren't a lot of details, but the strategy apparently includes hiring overseas law firms to go after those countries abroad. I suspect this means filing lawsuits in western courts.
He gave few details but said the body would use both domestic and international mechanisms to seek compensation, and will hire overseas law firms to handle its claims.

I see this move as implying several things. One is that it is a sign that Qatar isn't backing down. Another is that it is intended as a deterrent against any other country who might be tempted (or bribed) into supporting the Saudi backed coalition. The third is that I suspect it provides a formal mechanism for injecting (Qatari) state funds into the economy by compensating the business and personal losses of Qatari residents to help them maintain their resistance over the long haul.

From this I suspect that Qatar intends to continue to hold out, leaving Saudi Arabia and friends to try to figure out their own next move.
From this I suspect that Qatar intends to continue to hold out, leaving Saudi Arabia and friends to try to figure out their own next move.
This will be settled out of sight and away from the drama.
This will be settled out of sight and away from the drama.
It may get settled, but how it is settled is the big question. One of the Saudi-led coalition demands was for Qatar to pay them a large unspecified sum of money. Qatar now appears to have met that with a counter-demand of their own for compensation for the border closure. It looks like that ultimatum item is going nowhere.

It makes you wonder how the other ultimatum demands are faring, doesn't it? My opinion is that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have handled the situation very badly so far and risk massive loss of face through having misjudged Qatar's resolve. That in turn may embolden other players in the region to face them down as well.

Aside from the above, the rest of the world has an interest in seeing that things don't get "settled" in a manner which threatens to interrupt LNG exports from Qatar. Qatar was being touted as being both a reliable as well as a politically and diplomatically acceptable alternative to Russia as a supplier of natural gas. Now they suddenly look rather risky, with the risk coming from an unexpected and seemingly politically untouchable quarter. This has all been a very unhelpful development.
The US is trying to persuade the Saudi led coalition to drop their blockade of Qatar. U.S. presses Gulf states to drop Qatar land blockade
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday the United States was satisfied with Qatar's efforts to implement an agreement aimed at combating terror financing, and urged Arab states to lift a "land blockade" on the tiny Gulf nation.

This follows the conclusion of increased anti-terrorist measured having been taken in Qatar.
While in the Gulf, Tillerson signed an accord with Qatar on terrorism financing in a bid to ease the crisis, but Qatar's opponents said it fell short of addressing their concerns.

While this comes nowhere near meeting the terms of the ultimatum issued by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and friends, it may provide them with a face saving way of backing down.
"They have been very aggressive in implementing that agreement, so I think we're satisfied with the effort they're putting forth," Tillerson told reporters just before meeting with Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah at the State Department.
Qatar has launched a complaint against Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates at the World Trade Association. Qatar launches trade complaint against 3 Gulf states
Qatar filed a wide-ranging legal complaint at the World Trade Organization on Monday to challenge a trade boycott by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates, according to Qatar's WTO representative Ali Alwaleed al-Thani.

This starts a 60 day deadline to settle the complaint via direct negotiations, or face litigation at the WTO.
By formally "requesting consultations" with the three countries, the first step in a trade dispute, Qatar triggered a 60-day deadline for them to settle the complaint or face litigation at the WTO and potential retaliatory trade sanctions.
"The consultation request is to discuss and clarify the legality of these measures and find a way to bring them into conformity with their commitments," al-Thani said.

The three countries have said they will cite "national security" in their defence against the complaint.
The boycotting countries have previously told the WTO that they would cite national security to justify their actions against Qatar, using a controversial and almost unprecedented exemption allowed under the WTO rules.

Rather interestingly, Egypt is not included in the complaint. However, Egypt has not been enforcing the boycott to the same degree as the others. To me, this suggests that Qatar may seek to split Egypt off from the others.
The WTO suit does not include Egypt, the fourth country involved in the boycott. Although it has also cut travel and diplomatic ties with Qatar, Egypt did not expel Qatari citizens or ask Egyptians to leave Qatar.

Qatar also intended to raise the issue at a UN International Civil Aviation Organization meeting.
Qatar is also raising the boycott at a meeting of the UN International Civil Aviation Organization on Monday, al-Thani said.

I doubt that Qatar expects to resolve the outstanding issues by these measures. However, they do act to put pressure on the trio of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates and cause them some discomfort and distraction, and as such is more of yet another tool in the battle rather than be decisive in itself.

This does show though that Qatar is not backing down just yet, and is capable of widening the scope of their diplomatic defences beyond what the trio had planned.
A top UAE security official has said that the only way for the "Qatar crisis" to end is for Qatar to give up the World Cup match. Qatar blockade could end if it gives up World Cup, says UAE official
A top Emirati security official has said the only way for "Qatar's crisis" to end is if Doha gave up hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, (...) Dubai security Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan, ...

His attempts to back away from that stance became more bizarre still when he said what he really meant was that Qatar was faking the whole crisis in order to find an excuse to cancel the World Cup event because they can't afford it.
"I said Qatar is faking a crisis and claims it's besieged so it could get away from the burdens of building expensive sports facilities for the World Cup," he tweeted.

"That's why Qatar isn't ready and can't host the next World Cup," he added.

Qatar has responded that the World Cup will go on in Qatar as planned.
Hassan al-Thawadi, Qatar World Cup supreme committee secretary-general, told the AP on Friday that the project remained on time despite that.

"We are aiming to make sure that this World Cup leaves a legacy for the people of the Middle East [and] is an opportunity to transform our region towards a sustainable and stable future," he said.

I find it a bit difficult to take the Lt. General's comments too seriously at this point, but it does highlight the fact that the Saudi-led coalition seems to be having little obvious success in bringing Qatar to heel.
I work in Qatar on a major infrastructure project. Business as usual for us, full speed ahead.

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