Qatar praises Iran at Arab League meeting

  • Qatari emir visits Turkey, Germany, France, and the U.S., marking his first international trip since the months-old GCC crisis erupted
  • Emir Tamim is the only GCC head-of-state to address the United Nations General Assembly
  • Qatar signs a fighter jet deal with the United Kingdom
  • U.S. president urges his Afghan counterpart to shut down the Taliban’s office in Doha

September 12

Qatar praises Iran at Arab League meeting

Diplomats of the Arab states blockading Qatar had harsh words for Doha at an Arab League meeting in Cairo, accusing the Arabian emirate of sponsoring terrorism and destabilizing the region. Sultan Saad al-Muraikhi, Qatar’s permanent envoy to the Arab League, stated that, as “advocates of peace”, Qataris do not “work like bats at night and our decisions are issued in broad daylight.” He also called Iran an “honorable state”.

Analysis: This meeting intensified the Qatar crisis, with such accusations and insults deepening wounds. The harshness of the words exchanged illustrates how severe the tensions between Doha and the quartet countries have become several months into the GCC’s unprecedented diplomatic row.

September 13

Qatar crisis costs Doha USD 38.5 billion, according to Moody’s

The ratings agency Moody’s has estimated that, as a result of the blockades and boycotts against Qatar since June 5, the Arabian emirate has burned USD 38.5 billion of its financial reserves and that roughly USD 30 billion has left the country’s banking system.

September 14

President of Turkey hosts Emir Tamim in Ankara

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hosted the Qatari emir at his presidential palace in Ankara. The meeting marked Emir Tamim’s first trip outside Qatar since the ongoing GCC crisis erupted on June 5.

September 15

Emir of Qatar visits Germany

Emir Tamim held a joint press conference in Berlin with Chancellor Angela Merkel, during which the Qatari monarch declared, “We have big trust in the German economy and German companies.” He emphasized that Qatar maintains “strategic relationships” with German firms and that Doha will continue investing in them. The Qatari monarch expressed gratitude for Berlin’s supportive role throughout the GCC’s diplomatic row and called for a solution to the Syrian civil war based on diplomatic compromise involving all parties.

Analysis: Emir Tamim’s visit to Germany underscored Berlin’s support for Doha amid the months-old Qatar crisis and the deepening of Germany’s relations with the Arabian emirate. Bilateral cooperation is growing across a range of sectors, including technology, where German skills excel on a global scale. For Germany, the Qatari emir represents a potentially useful ally when it comes to calming tensions between Berlin and Ankara.

September 17

Doha and London sign fighter jet deal

The U.K.’s defense secretary, Michael Fallon, and his Qatari counterpart, Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah, met in Doha and signed a statement of intent for the British to supply the Arabian emirate with 24 Typhoon fighter jets. According to The Telegraph, the deal will likely be worth billions of dollars and secure many jobs in the U.K.’s defense sector.

September 19

Emir of Qatar speaks before the UN General Assembly and meets with Donald Trump

After visiting Turkey, Germany, and France, Emir Tamim traveled to New York and addressed the UN General Assembly, condemning the “unjust” blockade of Qatar and calling it an attempt to destabilize the Arabian emirate. Emir Tamim declared, “We have refused to yield to dictations by pressure and siege…At the same time, we have taken an open attitude towards dialogue without dictation.” Later he met with President Trump, who stated that he expected the GCC’s ongoing row will “be resolved soon.”

Analysis: Emir Tamim’s speech put Qatar’s case in front of the international community. The reactions were mixed and reflective of the emerging divide over this row. The Emir’s speech won wide praise, of course, in Doha, where citizens and expats alike approved of the Tamim’s message to Qatar’s neighbors. It is notable that the Qatari monarch was the only head-of-state of a GCC country to speak at the podium before the UN General Assembly.

Economy and Trade Minister says Qatar’s economy is “heaven” despite the siege

According to Ahmed Bin Jassim Al Thani, Qatar’s Economy and Trade minister, the country’s economy is performing “better than ever” despite the Saudi/UAE-led bloc blockade. He described the Arabian emirate’s economy as “heaven”. Ahmed Bin Jassim Al Thani maintained that the blockade offered Qatar an “opportunity” that prompted officials in Doha to open new trade corridors with Turkey as well as with the two GCC states that have maintained ties with Qatar: Kuwait and Oman. He stated that the Qataris had activated a contingency plan only hours after the Qatar crisis erupted and that “consumers… never felt anything in terms of supplying goods.”

September 25

Foreign minister: Qatar crisis is pushing Doha economically closer to Iran

While speaking to reporters in France, Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, declared: “[The Saudi/UAE-led bloc] said Qatar was now closer to Iran. By their measures they are pushing Qatar to Iran. They are giving Iran, or any regional forces, Qatar like a gift… Is that their objective, to push country, a GCC member state toward Iran? This is not a wise objective.” He emphasized that despite growing economic links between Qatar and Iran, Doha and Tehran continue to harbor differences on regional issues such as the six-and-a-half-year conflict in Syria.

September 26

Trump urges Afghan president to close Taliban office in Qatar

According to sources close to the U.S. and Afghan governments, American President Donald Trump urged his Afghan counterpart, Ashraf Ghani, to shut down the Taliban’s delegation in Doha.

September 28

America’s Pentagon chief makes unannounced visit to Doha

U.S. Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, visited Emir Tamim and his counterpart, Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah, at the al-Udeid base in the Arabian emirate.

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