Tag: Gulf states
A new Israeli report (February 2018) reveals a dramatic trend of expanding nuclear capabilities among Arab countries over the next few years... Dozens of nuclear reactors are in various stages of planning in the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Algeria, Tunisia and even Sudan (led by the wanted war criminal, Omar al-Bashir).
The United Nations Security Council voted to renew the UNIFIL peacekeeping mission in Lebanon for another year, one day before its mandate was set to expire. The UNIFIL force... is supposed to enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which among things, bars all forces other than the Lebanese Army from southern Lebanon. However, Israel says UNIFIL has increasingly turned a blind eye to a massive Hezbollah presence in the area.
Israeli officials have generally stayed out of the fray since the crisis began. One exception is comments from Israel's Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman in early June that the crisis "opens many opportunities for cooperation in the war against terror" and that "the State of Israel is more than open to such cooperation.".
The foreign policy of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members - Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman - has never been a model of cooperation and unity. Even the dramatic severing of relations with Qatar and closing the aerial, territorial, and naval spheres to it - as initiated by Saudi Arabia and the UAE - is not indicative of a change.
In the Middle East "game of camps", the Qataris have been playing a dangerous game for years. They have provocatively supported the Muslim Brotherhood and actively promoted the destabilisation of existing regimes, using huge sums of money as well as the pernicious influence of Al Jazeera TV. The dramatic steps taken against them over recent weeks are thus hardly surprising, but they shed some light on the present stage in the struggle for regional hegemony.
In a region where inter-Arab politics is frequently described as a zero-sum game, Qatar suddenly finds itself on the outside looking in. Recent analysis has tended to over-focus on the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, but a closer look reveals that the camel has suffered from chronic illness for years. It was only a matter of time before its health became critical.
In a dramatic move, on June 5 Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Libya, Yemen and the Maldives announced they were all severing diplomatic relations with Qatar over its support for terrorist groups including the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, as well as for its close ties to Iran, with which it co-owns the largest natural gas field in the world.
This Update concerns recent changes in Hamas, including the appointment of a new head of its politburo - who is basically head of the organisation overall - as well as the release of a new political "document of general principles and policies" which appears to soften some of Hamas' more extreme traditional stances.
With Ismail Haniyeh set to replace Khaled Mashaal as head of Hamas' political bureau in Qatar, reclusive Hamas official Imad al-Alami has reportedly been temporarily appointed to take over from Haniyeh in leading the terror group in Gaza.
Born in Gaza, al-Alami lived for several years in Teheran and then Damascus before returning to Gaza after the start of the Syrian Civil War.