We are currently living in the dawn of what is known as the 2017 Qatar Diplomatic Crisis with several countries cutting off their ties with Qatar this month. Trade and travel bans as well as the removal of several diplomats. This all comes with the allegations that Qatar is funding terrorist organisations and attempting to destabilise the Middle East.
This week it was revealed that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt are demanding the closure of Al Jazeera and its affiliate stations over allegations it supports terrorism.
In a 13-point list, the countries also gave the ultimatum that Qatar sever all alleged ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and with other groups such as Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and ISIL/ISIS
Launched in 1996 – and then in English in 2006 – and operated mostly by former BBC reporters, Al Jazeera has been widely accepted as a trustworthy media outlet despite some obvious biases and inaccuracies published in the past – something most, if not all, outlets can be accused of. Al Jazeera’s coverage of the Arab Spring lead to the outside world witnessing the protests for democratic change in the Middle East and surrounds. Many have accused Al Jazeera of sharing influence and being behind said demonstrations.
The list of demands by the Arab nations is found on Al Jazeera itself.
- Scale down diplomatic ties with Iran and close the Iranian diplomatic missions in Qatar, expel members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and cut off military and intelligence cooperation with Iran. Trade and commerce with Iran must comply with US and international sanctions in a manner that does not jeopardise the security of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
- Immediately shut down the Turkish military base, which is currently under construction, and halt military cooperation with Turkey inside of Qatar.
- Sever ties to all “terrorist, sectarian and ideological organisations,” specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIL, al-Qaeda, Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as the Nusra Front) and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Formally declare these entities as terror groups as per the list announced by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt, and concur with all future updates of this list.
- Stop all means of funding for individuals, groups or organisations that have been designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, US and other countries.
- Hand over “terrorist figures”, fugitives and wanted individuals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain to their countries of origin. Freeze their assets, and provide any desired information about their residency, movements and finances.
- Shut down Al Jazeera and its affiliate stations.
- End interference in sovereign countries’ internal affairs. Stop granting citizenship to wanted nationals from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Revoke Qatari citizenship for nationals where such citizenship violates those countries’ laws.
- Pay reparations and compensation for loss of life and other financial losses caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years. The sum will be determined in coordination with Qatar.
- Align Qatar’s military, political, social and economic policies with the other Gulf and Arab countries, as well as on economic matters, as per the 2014 agreement reached with Saudi Arabia.
- Cease contact with the political opposition in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Hand over files detailing Qatar’s prior contact with and support for opposition groups, and submit details of their personal information and the support Qatar has provided them.
- Shut down all news outlets funded directly and indirectly by Qatar, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al Araby Al Jadeed, Mekameleen and Middle East Eye, etc.
- Agree to all the demands within 10 days of list being submitted to Qatar, or the list will become invalid.
- Consent to monthly compliance audits in the first year after agreeing to the demands, followed by quarterly audits in the second year, and annual audits in the following 10 years.