221 days

Six months ago, an air, sea and land blockade was imposed on Qatar by neighbouring countries. Here are the latest developments as of Friday, January 12:

  • Qatar files complaint to UN. Qatar filed a complaint at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) against the United Arab Emirates, citing an airspace violation.
  • The complaint emphasised that the entrance of a UAE military aircraft into Qatari airspace was a flagrant violation of Qatar’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity”, as well as international law.

  • Qatar FM vows legal action over hacking. An investigation into the hacking of the state-run Qatar News Agency (QNA) website has revealed the involvement of two nations that are blockading Doha, Qatar’s foreign minister has said, as he vowed legal action.
  • Qatar seeks international arbitration. Foreign ministry spokesperson Lulwa Al Khater announced the moves on Wednesday, days after a UN investigation said the blockade was negatively impacting the people of the region.
  • “We have already begun moving internationally to seek arbitration or [go to] international courts or UN institutions” to end the blockade, Al Khater said in a press conference. “All options are available for us.”
  • UN reports on Qatar’s blockade. The chairman of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (QNHRC) said on Monday that the Office of the UN Human Rights High Commissioner (OHCHR) issued a report that criticised the blockade on Qatar as “one-sided”, “arbitrary” and “characterised by racism”.
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    Chairman Ali al-Marri had called on the UN to dispatch an international technical mission to Qatar and the blockading countries to examine first-hand the alleged human rights violations.

  • Kuwait sentences journalist to seven years.  A Kuwaiti court sentenced writer Fouad al-Hashem to seven years on Monday, charging him with insulting the state of Qatarlocal media reported.
  • Kuwait’s emir inaugurates GCC meeting. The 11th Meeting of Chairpersons and Speakers of Shura, Representatives Councils and National Assemblies of the GCC was inaugurated in Kuwait on Monday at 10:30am local time.
  • Sheikh al-Sabah spoke during the opening ceremony of the 38th summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and  called for unity between the Gulf States. “We are all aware of the conditions around us… and of their deterioration that represent a serious challenge to us all,” Sabah said. “The situation is compounded with the obstacles on our GCC forward-looking progress, and this demands that we cooperate, consult and meet at all levels,” agencies reported.
  • The two-day summit on January 8-9 will review the efforts of the GCC Parliamentary Committee on Enhancing Relations with the European Parliament, and will also review the Gulf parliamentary vision for addressing the threat of “terrorist” organisations.
  • Attendance from all six GCC member nations was confirmed by Kuwait’s National Assembly Speaker Marzouq al-Ghanim on Tuesday, December 2.
  • Qatar’s emir sends message to South Africa. On Sunday, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani met in South Africa with South African President Jacob Zuma.
  • According to a statement by Qatar’s foreign ministry, Al Thani carried a verbal message from Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
  • The message spoke of the “brotherly ties” between the two countries and the latest developments in the Gulf region, according to the news agency.
  • Muslim scholar held over Qatar tweet. Saudi authorities detained Muslim scholar Salman al-Awda on September 7 and later imposed travel bans on members of al-Awda’s family, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Sunday.
  • A family member told HRW that al-Awda was being held over his refusal to comply with an order by Saudi authorities to tweet a specific text to support the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar.
  • In its editorial on Thursday, the Al-Raya newspaper said Saudi Arabia has been taking arbitrary measures against Qatari pilgrims visiting Mecca.
  • Iran invites Qatar to OIC meeting. On Wednesday, Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani invited Qatar Parliament Speaker Ahmed bin Abdullah al-Mahmoud to attend the 13th summit of the OIC parliament speakers to be held in Tehran on January 17-18, as reported by Iran’s news agency (IRNA).
  • The countries blockading Qatar are members in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) but have strained diplomatic relations with Iran. They have demanded that Qatar followed suit with Iran.
  • Turkey looks to enhance cooperation. Speaking from Turkey during a promotional event for the website, Ahmet Arslan, Turkish minister of transport, maritime and communications said: “Our cooperation with Qatar will not be limited to e-commerce, it will become widespread in other fields and will pave the way for the two countries to work together elsewhere.”
  • UAE, Saudi introduce VAT. A common agreement on value-added tax (VAT) for the GCC region will officially come into effect January 1, 2018, with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates announcing actual implementation, Kuwait’s News Agency reported on Sunday.
  • Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman reportedly decided to delay introducing VAT until later in 2018 and 2019.

For previous developments click here