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Saudi

Top 5 Facts about the Qatar-Gulf Crisis

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]One year ago, an air, sea and land blockade was imposed on Qatar by four Arab countries: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt. We take a look at the top five facts surrounding the latest developments of the blockade.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_toggle title=”Fact 1: Despite the drop in oil revenues, Qatar’s economy has grown.”]Despite the drop in oil revenues, Qatar achieved a growth rate of 2.1 per cent in 2017, almost unchanged from the previous year, and is forecast to rise to 2.6 per cent this year, according to the IMF.

“Growth performance remains resilient. The direct economic and financial impact of the diplomatic rift between Qatar and some countries in the region has been manageable,” the International Monetary Fund said in a report on Wednesday (May 30).

Gas-rich Qatar tapped into its massive wealth to absorb the early shocks to its financial system, and secure alternative food supplies, maritime routes and ports, reports said.

“The latest data from Qatar reiterate that the worst of the hit to the economy from its diplomatic crisis with Saudi Arabia and its allies has now passed,” said Capital Economics in a report in May.

Doha injected tens of billions of dollars to offset a drop in banking deposits at the start of the crisis and succeeded in bringing the banking sector back to normal operations.

“Qatar’s economy has suffered on several fronts as new logistics links proved to be more expensive in the short term,” Andreas Krieg, a professor at King’s College London, told AFP.

“However, Qatar has been able to transform this crisis into an opportunity.”

Economic diversification has made a huge leap, such as the opening of Hamad Port to bypass Jebel Ali in Dubai. The multi-billion-dollar mega projects connected to the 2022 football World Cup have continued unabated, said Krieg.

In addition, Doha’s gas and crude oil exports have not been disrupted, providing a revenue lifeline.

Despite the rift, Qatari gas continues to flow into the UAE through the Dolphin pipeline.

Since the blockade began, Qatar – home of Al-Udeid, the largest US base in the region – has agreed a raft of military purchases worth tens of billions of dollars with the United States and Europe.

“Qatar made a large drawdown of its reserves and investment assets when the blockade began,” said Middle East commentator Neil Partrick.

Although it sustained losses in tourism revenue, it has enjoyed “economic success” assisted by Iran, Turkey and Oman, Partrick said.

The blockade’s negative impacts on Qatar were in real estate, tourism and Qatar Airways, which is expected to announce large losses because of longer routes.

According to Capital Economics, in the first six months of the blockade, visitors to Qatar dropped by 20 per cent, flights into Doha by 25 per cent, and Qatar Airways flights by 20 per cent.

It estimated loss in tourism revenue during the same period at US$600 million (S$803 million), and real estate prices fell by 10 per cent.

Mandagolathur Raghu, head of research at …

Saudi Crown Prince – Bin Salman’s Billion Dollar Shopping Spree

Saudi Crown Prince – Bin Salman’s Billion Dollar Shopping Spree

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The Saudi Palace Plot – Will Mohammed Bin Salman Succeed?

The Saudi Palace Plot

In January 2015, Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz, took the throne following the death of his half-brother, Abdullah (A son of the founder Ibn Saud)

Behind-the-scenes a power struggle was taking place for King Salman to crown his son, Mohammed Bin Salman, a prince and name him his chosen successor.

This power struggle became public on November 4th 2017 when Salman and his son had more than a dozen princes and former high-level officials arrested, including a world-famous billionaire.
The reason for their detention is simple: Salman is trying to remove obstacles that could prevent Mohammed bin Salman from succeeding him.

King Salman is the first monarch in the history of the modern kingdom to buck this particular tradition. Usually, a successor is chosen by consensus among the sons of the founder of the kingdom.

But now that the second generation is nearly all dead, and now that there are too many third-generation princes to convene, it has become more difficult to choose who will become the next king.
He has bucked other traditions too. Salman has strengthened his son’s claim by bestowing on him sweeping powers over security and economic affairs.

Mohammed bin Salman is the defense minister, the head of a strategic economic council, controller of Saudi Aramco and, after Nov. 4, the chief of an anti-corruption agency.

And Salman did all this by removing from power his half brother and his nephew, both of whom were crown princes. He has also sidelined powerful members of the clerical and tribal establishments.

Some rumors suggest that the purges were made in response to a plot against Mohammed bin Salman. It’s unclear if that is actually the case.

But whether the rumors are true or whether the arrests were pre-emptive, the outcome is the same: There are fewer threats to a Mohammed bin Salman reign.

Arresting these individuals accomplishes two things. First, it guarantees their capitulation to Mohammed bin Salman.
Second, it gives the Salman faction more mileage out of the anti-corruption drive.

Between that and their attempts to secularise Muslims in Saudi, the king and his son are moving away from the traditional sources of support (clerics and tribal establishments) and toward new ones: popular appeal among the country’s youth, which makes up about two-thirds of the population.

They are using populism to inoculate themselves from the potential consequences of their power grab. In the process, though, they are inadvertently laying the foundations for the next crisis. Relying on popular support means they will be forced to enact more reforms than they actually want to – or are even capable of. Despots who try to be populists usually end up being neither and, in their failure, lose power.

It is too early to tell what will be the outcome of the power struggle. Whoever comes out on top will be unable to ignore the fact: that Saudi Arabia is a country in decline, largely because of low oil prices but also because of the general disarray in …

Saudi Arabia footballers ignore minute’s silence for London attack victims

Read original article on The Guardian or read some of the key points below;

  1. Saudi Arabia’s national football team have been criticised for failing to observe a minute’s silence held before Thursday’s match against Australia in Adelaide.
  2. The footballers lined up in the centre of the pitch before the World Cup qualifier and held the brief silence as a tribute to the two Australians killed in the terrorist attack in London at the weekend.
  3. As they did so, the Saudi Arabia team continued jogging, passing the ball between each other and taking their positions on the field.
  4. Adam Peacock, a presenter with Fox Sports Australia, said on Twitter the Asian Football Confederation has approved the minute’s silence against the wishes of travelling Saudi officials. He said the Football Federation of Australia “tried to reason” with the Saudis but were unable to persuade them to participate in the tribute.
  5. The Saudi Arabian football federation made an “unreserved” apology. “The players did not intend any disrespect to the memories of the victims or to cause upset to their families, friends or any individual affected by the atrocity,” it said in a statement. “The Saudi Arabian Football Federation condemns all acts of terrorism and extremism and extends its sincerest condolences to the families of all the victims and to the government and people of the United Kingdom.”

Hajj in 1953

WOW! A blast from the past. Check out what the Hajj pilgrimage was like in 1953!…

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