Qatar Amending Anti-Terror Laws, Crisis Ending -- As forecast here Wednesday, the Qatar crisis is winding down with some face-saving moves on both sides of the issue. Yesterday, the Emir of Qatar issued a decree amending his country's anti-terrorism laws. Today, the United Arab Emirates (perhaps speaking for the other members of the anti-Qatar bloc, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt) welcomed the changes calling them "a positive step." The Qatari government's expulsion of the Iranian ambassador and 14 other diplomats yesterday also helped. These cosmetic measures, though, mean little. Qatar faced down the others. [21 July]
US to Halt Arms Shipments to Syrian Rebels -- The US program of sending weapons to certain Syrian rebel groups is coming to an end. The Trump administration has already agreed to a cease-fire in the southwest part of the country where the Assad government is largely in control. Combined, they represent a clear attempt to remove obstacles from the path of improved US-Russian relations. However, it would appear that the Trump administration has simply given away the store. [20 July]
Saudi-Led Bloc Caves on Qatar Demands -- The Qatari crisis appears to be moving toward a resolution. Back in June, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt severed ties and announced sanctions including a land blockade against Qatar to force the sultanate to accept 13 demands within 10 days. Qatar rejected them out of hand. The Saudi-led bloc withdrew their demands today replacing them with 6 broad principles. These should be relatively easy for Qatar to accept while maintaining that its policies have always been in alignment with the principles. Standing up to bullies does work. [19 July]
Health Care Bill Dies in the Senate, Again -- There is a certain harmony to the fact that George Romero of zombie movie fame passed away the day before the Republican health care bill died again in the Senate. Repealing and replacing Obamacare is, like a zombie, a beast that won't stay dead. The latest version was sitting on a knife-edge last week with two GOP senators opposing it, and last night, two more joined them to prevent the bill from even being considered. The White House and Senate leaders are now saying they just want to repeal Obamacare and worry about replacement later. That idea is dead on arrival. [18 July]
UAE Allegedly Hacked Qatari States News, Social Media -- The Washington Post has reported that hackers backed by the United Arab Emirates attacked and altered information on the state news website of Qatar along with various official social media accounts. The attack made it look like Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, had called Iran an Islamic power and described his nation's relations with Israel as good. These statements sparked the disruption of relations among the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Bahrain on the one side and Qatar on the other. The UAE denies the report. This is a foreshadowing of future conflicts. [17 July]
© Copyright 2017 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.