The following items are sourced from Al Jazeera:
After Saudi Arabia and other GCC nations cut ties with Qatar, a series of surreal decisions were taken against it
These are two of them:
To stem the flow of negative reactions Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain took steps to curb their citizens from expressing opinions that opposed their policies.
The UAE Attorney General Hamad Saif al-Shamsi announced that any objections to the UAE’s strict measures against the government of Qatar or expression of sympathy with Qatar would be a crime punishable by a prison sentence of 3-15 years and a fine of no less than $136,000 (500,000AED), whether on a social media platform or via any written or spoken medium.
Hotel residents in Saudi Arabia can no longer watch Al Jazeera channels, after the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage warned against airing Al Jazeera inside any hotel or tourist establishment.
The commission stressed that all channels belonging to the Al Jazeera Media Network are to be removed from the list of satellite stations in “all hotel rooms and touristic facilities and furnished residential units … including the TV lists kept within”, in order to avoid punishments that included fines up to $27,000 (100,000 Saudi riyals) and a cancellation of the hotel’s licence.
The Qatar-Gulf crisis has given Israel an opportunity to normalise its presence in the region, analysts say
The current Qatar-Gulf crisis has offered Israel a golden opportunity to normalise its presence in the region, undermine the Palestinian cause and deliver a diplomatic blow to the Islamic Resistance movement, Hamas, analysts say.
Under the pretext of fighting “terrorism”, the anti-Hamas, anti-political Islam coalition seems to be emerging with the Saudi-led bloc and Israel at its heart, they added.
Researcher and expert on Israeli affairs, Antoine Shalhat, believes that Israel’s rapid adoption of the Saudi position confirms that the two countries share Israel’s vision on regional developments and the Palestinian cause.
Shalhat told Al Jazeera that Israel is hoping to make political gains from the Gulf crisis and the blockade on Qatar by weakening Hamas and undermining its influence in the Gaza Strip, and demonising it in the Arab world under the pretext of “terrorism”.
He added that the Saudi attack on Hamas and its portrayal of the movement as a “terrorist organisation” serves the Israeli agenda and is consistent with Israel’s goal to eliminate the Palestinian cause.
US legislation threatening Qatar for Hamas support is tied to donations from UAE, Saudi, and Israel lobbyists
US legislation threatening to sanction Qatar for its support of “Palestinian terror” was sponsored by 10 legislators who received more than $1m over the last 18 months from lobbyists and groups linked to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
For Trita Parsi, author and founder of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), a nonprofit that aims to strengthen the voice of US citizens of Iranian descent, the similarities between the US-allied Arab nations’ “terror list” and HR 2712 show growing cooperation between Gulf Arab states and Israel.
“The coordination between hawkish pro-Israel groups and UAE and Saudi Arabia has been going on for quite some time,” Parsi told Al Jazeera. What is new, he continued, is pro-Israel groups such as the Foundation for Defense of Democracies “coming out with pro-Saudi [articles] and lobbying for them on Capitol Hill”.
Israel’s influence on US policymakers is clear. HR 2712’s sponsors received donations totalling $1,009,796 from pro-Israel individuals and groups for the 2016 election cycle alone, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics, an independent research group tracking money in US politics and its effect on elections and public policy, and then compiled by Al Jazeera.
“They’re not traditional pro-Saudi legislators. They’re in the pro-Likud camp,” Parsi said, referring to the party of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The bill has bipartisan sponsorship. Five of the legislators come from the House Committee on Foreign Relations (HCFR), including sponsor Brian Mast, a first-term Republican congressman from Florida, and Ed Royce and Eliot Engel, the ranking Republican and Democrat of the HCFR, respectively.
Royce received $242,143 from pro-Israel sources for the 2016 election cycle, $190,150 went to Engel. Mast, who volunteered with the Israeli military after he finished serving in the US Army, received $90,178.
King Faisal, son of King Ibn Saud, fought in the military campaigns in the 1920s and ’30s that helped forge modern Saudi Arabia. He later served as Saudi ambassador to the United Nations and in 1953 was made premier upon the ascension of his older brother, Saud. In 1964, King Saud was pressured to abdicate, and Faisal became the absolute ruler of Saudi Arabia. As king, he sought to modernize his nation, and lent financial and moral support to anti-Israeli efforts in the Middle East. In 1975, Faisal was assassinated for reasons that remain obscure, and his son, Crown Prince Khalid, ascended to the throne.
Interestingly, Faisal’s assassin was one of the family, subsequently declared insane and executed (in the normal humane Saudi fashion, by decapitation).