Bahrain FM keen to preserve GCC in its present form

Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2017
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Bahrain FM keen to preserve GCC in its present form

JEDDAH: Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Khalifa stressed in an interview with Russia Today TV on Thursday that the Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) countries were keen to preserve the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in its present form. He expressed hope that the crisis could be dealt with before the coming GCC summit in Kuwait.
He also told Russia Today that the Quartet countries had not blockaded or threatened Qatar, and that they were ready to sit with the country to discuss demands put forth by the ATQ.
Al-Khalifa denied any connection with the Qatari opposition group in London.
The foreign minister noted that the causes of the crisis, which only surfaced 100 days ago, began a long time ago and “We were patient with Qatari behavior for a long time and signed agreements which Doha did not respect.”
As for Kuwait’s mediation in the Qatar crisis, he confirmed that the “mediation is still there and we hope it succeeds, but we see some steps and intransigence by Qatar” which have prevented any progress.
Al-Khalifa stressed that there was no time limit for the end of the crisis because “the defense of our interests should not be restricted by time, even if the crisis continues for 10 years. What is important is to reach a real solution.”


In about-face, Iraq’s maverick Al-Sadr moves closer to Iran

Updated 32 min 16 sec ago
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In about-face, Iraq’s maverick Al-Sadr moves closer to Iran

  • Muqtada Al-Sadr, the maverick Shiite cleric who emerged as the main winner in Iraq’s parliamentary elections last month, campaigned on a platform to end sectarian politics and replace it with a government that puts Iraqis first
  • Instead, he has forged a postelection coalition with a rival Shiite bloc that includes some of the most powerful militias operating in Iraq — groups that get their funding and support from Tehran

BAGHDAD: Muqtada Al-Sadr, the maverick Shiite cleric who emerged as the main winner in Iraq’s parliamentary elections last month, campaigned on a platform to end sectarian politics and replace it with a government that puts Iraqis first.
Instead, he has forged a postelection coalition with a rival Shiite bloc that includes some of the most powerful militias operating in Iraq — groups that get their funding and support from Tehran.
The deal underscores the active role Iran is taking in shaping the next government of Iraq, sending key military and spiritual advisers to revive a grand coalition of Shiite parties as a conduit for its influence in Baghdad. It also illustrates how Iran has gained sway over Al-Sadr, who once called for booting foreign influence from Iraq.