Qatar says blockade by Arab states is collective punishment

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Earlier on Friday, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu arrived in Riyadh for a meeting with King Salman, while the U.S. and United Kingdom have joined calls for a de-escalation of the situation.

Simmering tensions between the USA partners boiled over this month when Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, along with Egypt, severed ties with Qatar over its alleged support for extremism. But it isn't just Saudi Arabia that has made the accusation.

"Presumably the US could have delayed the deal if they'd wanted to, although I don't think there's a great connect between sales and foreign policy". Salman asked Sharif, according to a high-ranking diplomatic source, cited Wednesday by The Express Tribune, a Pakistani affiliate of The New York Times. Their action risks complicating the conduct of USA military air operations in the region coordinated from the Al-Udeid Air Force Base, and undercuts a longstanding US goal of increased unity among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations. The move has amplified tensions and tested alliances in the region.

This crisis has no basis, no socio-political background... There's little sign that Qatar, whose officials reject the allegations, is willing to acquiesce to Saudi and UAE demands.

The company's deputy managing director for sales and marketing Ehsan Dashtianeh said, "Qatar needs a considerable amount of steel products for its development plans which were earlier supplied from companies in the UAE and Saudi Arabia".

But, the attempted isolation of Qatar and the IS attack on Iran have had the effect of bringing Qatar, Iran and Turkey into a new regional alliance, undermining the Saudi initiative to shape a cohesive Sunni coalition against Iran. Pakistan, however, has mostly kept quiet. Saudi Arabia's ally, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is the second biggest importer of USA weapons in the region, according to data provide by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). That same price level is supporting what the bank described as "nimble" producers in USA shale basins, which undercuts OPEC efforts to balance the market through managed declines in output.

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"We shall not end ties with either Saudi Arabia or Qatar", Mr Hirsi said.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gestures as he speaks to media after appearing before a Joint Investigation Team in Islamabad, Pakistan, June 15, 2017. The F-15 deal could give Qatar the sense that it can defy its Gulf neighbors and still enjoy a good relationship with the US, despite Trump's own statements that he backs the Saudi position.

As I wrote this month, the outgoing US ambassador to Qatar briefed participants in a policy conference in Washington on progress Qatar has made in cracking down on terror financing, a view that is not shared by the Treasury Department or experts inside the intelligence community.

I don't know, it's nearly like this president doesn't know anything about the military he commands. The administration of his successor, President Donald Trump, is now considering major cuts to this aid.

But over the subsequent 10 days, Trump chose to give Tillerson responsibility for negotiating a solution.

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