Saudi Ara­bia faces ter­ror claims

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD - MEL FRYKBERG ANA

THE DIS­PUTE be­tween Qatar and other Gulf Co-op­er­a­tion Council (GCC) coun­tries – Saudi Ara­bia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emi­rates (UAE) – is es­ca­lat­ing with both sides re­fus­ing to back down.

One of the ma­jor points of fric­tion be­tween the two sides is the al­le­ga­tion that Qatar is “sup­port­ing ter­ror­ism”.

Saudi Ara­bia, Bahrain, UAE and non-GCC mem­ber, Egypt, ac­cuse Qatar of sup­port­ing ter­ror­ism and back­ing a num­ber of groups in­clud­ing the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood.

How­ever, in an ironic de­vel­op­ment, a for­eign pol­icy think tank has ac­cused Saudi Ara­bia of be­ing the chief pro­moter of Is­lamist ex­trem­ism in Bri­tain.

On Wed­nes­day, the for­eign min­is­ters and in­tel­li­gence heads of the three GCC coun­tries and Egypt met in Cairo to dis­cuss the es­ca­la­tion as the dead­line for Qatar to re­spond to a list of de­mands passed.

The meet­ing fol­lowed Qatar mak­ing it clear that the de­mands were against in­ter­na­tional law, “un­rea­son­able and un­doable”.

The bloc has de­manded among other things that the Al Jazeera TV net­work based in the Qatari cap­i­tal Doha be closed down, that Qatar re­think its ties with Iran and that Turkey’s mil­i­tary base in the coun­try be closed.

Fol­low­ing Qatar’s de­fi­ance the four coun­tries said they would step up sanc­tions on Qatar, which is al­ready reel­ing from a land, air and sea block­ade im­posed since the cri­sis erupted about a month ago.

Turkey and Iran have been try­ing to meet food and other short­ages by fly­ing in sup­plies to Qatar.

With Kuwait try­ing to me­di­ate, Doha has said it will not at this point re­tal­i­ate by cut­ting off the nat­u­ral gas ship­ments it pipes to Dubai.

The dis­pute has dragged re­gional pow­ers into the fray. Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan has un­der­lined his sup­port for Qatar.

The US has a large mil­i­tary base in Qatar and the Pen­tagon has backed Qatar’s fight against Is­lamic State mil­i­tants in Syria and Iraq. In con­tra­dic­tion, the White House has echoed Saudi Ara­bia’s de­mand for Doha to cut ties with “ter­ror­ists”.

The Henry Jack­son So­ci­ety think tank in Bri­tain said there was a “clear and grow­ing link” be­tween Is­lamist or­gan­i­sa­tions re­ceiv­ing over­seas funds, hate preach­ers and Ji­hadist groups pro­mot­ing vi­o­lence in the UK and Riyadh.

The claim came as the Bri­tish govern­ment faces pres­sure to is­sue its own re­port on UK-based Is­lamist groups, after a se­ries of deadly bomb blasts car­ried out by re­li­gious ex­trem­ists in the coun­try.

The re­port may em­bar­rass Lon­don, which has close ties with the Gulf, par­tic­u­larly Saudi Ara­bia.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.