Biden names Qatar major non-NATO ally as energy crisis looms
President Joe Biden on Monday designated Qatar a major non-NATO ally, a largely symbolic honor but one that was meant to convey his administration’s gratitude for the tiny Persian Gulf nation’s assistance during last year’s U.S. evacuations in Afghanistan and assistance in ending last year’s Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, Biden announced the designation during a meeting with the ruling leader of Qatar at the White House on Monday.
Iraq brings together Mideast rivals in bid to ease tensions
Arab heads of state and senior officials from the region including archenemies Iran and Saudi Arabia held a rare meeting Saturday at a conference hosted by Iraq. The meeting is aimed at easing Mideast tensions and underscored the Arab country’s new role as mediator. French President Emmanuel Macron also attended the Baghdad meeting, hailing it as a major boost for Iraq and its leadership.news.yahoo.com
Easing dispute, UAE announces reopening of borders to Qatar
Al Thani's arrival in the kingdoms ancient desert city of Al-Ula on Tuesday was broadcast live on Saudi TV. Saudi Arabia announced the reopening of its airspace and borders with Qatar earlier this week. National carrier Qatar Airways said it had started to reroute some flights through Saudi airspace, with the first flight cruising over Saudi skies from Doha to Johannesburg, South Africa on Thursday night. The four Arab states severed commercial and diplomatic ties with Qatar in 2017, accusing the country of cozying up to Iran and financing extremist groups in the region, charges that Doha denies. The boycott only pushed Qatar closer to Iran, for instance by forcing Qatar Airways to change routes through Iranian skies.
Gulf Arab leaders sign declaration to ease rift with Qatar
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan told reporters after the summit that diplomatic relations would be restored in full with Qatar, although no time frame was given. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are primarily concerned about Qatar’s ties with Iran. The rift between Abu Dhabi and Doha has been deepest, with the UAE and Qatar at sharp ideological odds. Egypt’s foreign minister also attended the meeting of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which comprises Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who spearheaded those deals, was at the summit for the signing of the Gulf declaration.
Saudi Arabia to lift Qatar embargo, easing the Gulf crisis
The Saudi border, which Qatar relied on for the import of dairy products, construction materials and other goods, opened briefly during the past three years to allow Qataris into Saudi Arabia to perform the Islamic hajj pilgrimage. The rift between Abu Dhabi and Doha has been deepest, with the UAE and Qatar at sharp ideological odds. This year, Egypt’s president has also been invited to attend the summit of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which comprises Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. “Saudi Arabia could frame a partial détente, which allows Qatari civilian planes to fly over Saudi airspace and de-escalates the information war, as proof of ‘new thinking’ in Riyadh,” Ramani said ahead of the announcement. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are primarily concerned with Qatar's close ties with regional foe Iran.
Bahrain's long-serving prime minister dies at age 84
That style would be challenged in the 2011 protests by the island’s Shiite majority and others, who demonstrated against him over long-running corruption allegations surrounding his rule. Late on Wednesday, Bahrain's state-run news agency initially announced Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa would lead the Council of Ministers, typically the job of the island’s prime minister. Under an informal arrangement, Sheikh Isa handled the island’s diplomacy and ceremonial duties while Prince Khalifa ran the government and economy. But while other hard-line members of the Al Khalifa family actively pushed for a confrontation with Shiites, Prince Khalifa maintained contacts with those the government opposed. “Khalifa bin Salman could and did work with both Sunni and Shia, especially through his relations with Bahrain’s business community,” Diwan said.
Sheikh Nawaf sworn in as Kuwait's new ruling emir
The new Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah, center, performs the constitutional oath at the Kuwaiti National Assembly in Kuwait, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020. Kuwait's Sheikh Nawaf was sworn in Wednesday as the ruling emir of the tiny oil-rich country, propelled to power by the death of his half-brother after a long career in the security services. At age 83, Sheikh Nawaf is not expected to deviate from the diplomatic path charted by his predecessor, the late Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah. Sheikh Nawaf and other mourners sprinkled dirt atop the body as it was finally lowered into the soil. After the ceremony, Sheikh Nawaf, in his flowing robe, strode into a black Mercedes as groups of soldiers delivered a crisp salute.