Damning Indictment: CNN leaks show Qatar reneged on GCC commitments

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A Saudi source has confirmed to Arab News the authenticity of the documents revealed to CNN.
Updated 11 July 2017

Damning Indictment: CNN leaks show Qatar reneged on GCC commitments

JEDDAH: Qatar, which is in the eye of a storm following a tough stance taken by the Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ), had signed agreements in the past that authorized its neighboring Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states to do what they deemed necessary to protect their security.
Copies of the agreements were leaked to CNN on Monday. The first — handwritten and dated Nov. 23, 2013 — is signed by the Saudi king and the emirs of Qatar and Kuwait.
It lays out commitments to avoid any interference in the internal affairs of other Gulf nations, including barring financial or political support to “deviant” groups, referring to terrorist groups.
The documents explicitly state that if the articles of the Riyadh Accord are not adhered to, GCC states will be within their rights to take all necessary measures to protect their security.
CNN said the existence of the agreements had been known, but both the content and the documents themselves were kept secret due to the sensitivity of the issues involved and the fact that they were agreed in private by heads of state.
Copies of the agreements were exclusively obtained by CNN from a source from the region with access to the documents. A Saudi source confirmed to Arab News their authenticity.

The documents can be viewed in PDF via CNN here

In a previous statement to CNN, Qatar’s foreign minister accused Saudi Arabia and the UAE of breaking the spirit of the agreements and indulging in an “unprovoked attack on Qatar’s sovereignty.”
But he never disclosed that Doha had agreed in writing to abide by those very demands in the past.
The ATQ — comprising Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt — issued a joint statement that the leaked documents published by CNN show without doubt that Doha had breached the agreements it had committed to in 2013 and 2014.

Here is a link to the full CNN report

While cutting ties and boycotting Qatar recently, the ATQ blamed Doha for not complying with the two agreements, which clearly barred it from supporting opposition and hostile groups in the GCC states, as well as in Egypt and Yemen.
Abiding by the agreements was among six principles the Gulf nations set as requirements to mend relations with Qatar in a statement released last week.
A supplemental document to the 2013 agreements signed by the countries’ foreign ministers discusses implementation.
It includes provisions barring support of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as groups in Yemen and Saudi Arabia that pose a threat to the security of GCC countries (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman).
In March 2014, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar, alleging that Doha was not implementing the first agreement’s pledge not to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs. 
The ATQ submitted a list of 13 demands to end the diplomatic crisis, including ending support for terror financing.
The list also includes demands to cut ties to extremist organizations, including the Brotherhood, Hezbollah and Daesh; to halt the development of a Turkish military base in Qatar; and to stop giving Qatari nationality to the wanted nationals of ATQ states.
The ATQ statement said the list of 13 demands presented to Doha is aimed at making it adhere to its previous commitments to the agreements reached in 2013 and 2014.
Fahad Nazer, a political analyst based in Washington, said the documents disprove Qatar’s claims that it is being boycotted for no reason.
“The release of the documents confirms what close observers of politics in the Arabian Gulf have known for a while,” he told Arab News. “The crisis between Qatar and its neighbors wasn’t a surprise. It was in essence a culmination of almost two decades of policies that were nothing short of interference in the domestic affairs of some of its closest neighbors.”
Lori Plotkin Boghardt, a fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Arab News that in view of the violations of the pacts, it would be difficult for the ATQ to take Doha at face value.
“Whereas before, Qatari promises to change were enough, this time the Saudis and Emiratis aren’t likely to accept only promises — they want to see actual changes in behavior before they let up on the pressure,” she said.
David Andrew Weinberg, senior fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, said it is clear that Qatar violated the terms of its agreements with the other GCC states.
“There’s no doubt that Qatar has been a continued political sponsor of the Brotherhood, including since 2014,” he told Arab News. “It’s clear that Qatar’s Al Jazeera has remained antagonistic media, undermining the security of neighboring countries and the region.”

US passes 9 million coronavirus cases as infections spike

Updated 53 min 54 sec ago

US passes 9 million coronavirus cases as infections spike

  • On Friday the US set a record for new daily infections of more than 94,000 in 24 hours
  • More than 229,000 people have died of the virus in the US since the pandemic began

WASHINGTON: The United States passed nine million reported coronavirus cases on Friday and broke its own record for daily new infections for the second day in a row, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University, as Covid-19 surges days before the country chooses its next president.
The US, which has seen a resurgence of its outbreak since mid-October, has now notched up 9,034,295 cases, according to a real-time count by the Baltimore-based school.
On Friday the country set a record for new daily infections of more than 94,000 in 24 hours, breaking the record of 91,000 it had set just one day earlier.
With the virus spreading most rampantly in the Midwest and the South, hospitals are also filling up again, stretching the health care system just as the nation heads in to flu season.
"We are not ready for this wave," Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University school of public health, warned on ABC's Good Morning America on Thursday.

COVID-19 tally by the John Hopkins University of Medicine as of October 30, 2020.

Authorities in El Paso, Texas, imposed a curfew this week to protect "overwhelmed" health care workers and began setting up field hospitals.
But a judge's attempt to shut down non-essential businesses in the city has been challenged by the mayor and the state's attorney general, the Washington Post reported.
Midwestern state Wisconsin has also set up a field hospital in recent weeks, and hospital workers in Missouri were sounding warning bells as cases rise.
Hospitals in the western state of Utah were preparing to ration care by as early as next week as patients flood their ICUs, according to local media.
The pattern of the pandemic so far shows that hospitalizations usually begin to rise several weeks after infections, and deaths a few weeks after that.
More than 229,000 people have died of the virus in the US since the pandemic began, the Hopkins tally showed as of Friday, with the daily number of deaths creeping steadily upwards in recent weeks also -- though at present it remains below peak levels.
For months public health officials have been warning of a surge in cases as cooler fall weather settles over the US, driving more people indoors.
As the weather changes, New York and other parts of the northeast, which were the epicenter of the US outbreak in the spring but largely controlled the virus over the summer, were reporting a worrying rise.
Some epidemiologists believe that Covid-19 spreads more easily in drier, cool air.
Rural areas, which in the spring appeared to be getting off lightly compared to crowded cities, were also facing spikes with states like North Dakota charting one of the steepest rises in recent weeks.
The state is so overwhelmed that earlier this month it told residents they have to do their own contact tracing, local media reported.
With four days to go until the election, Donald Trump was battling to hold on to the White House against challenger Joe Biden, who has slammed the president's virus response.
"It is as severe an indictment of a president's record as one can possibly imagine, and it is utterly disqualifying," Biden said Friday as the toll passed nine million.
Trump downplays the virus even as the toll has been accelerating once more, holding a slew of rallies with little social distancing or mask use.
He has repeatedly told supporters that the country is "rounding the curve" on Covid infections.
But Americans, wary of crowded polling booths on Election Day as the virus spreads, are voting early in record numbers.