Middle East – North Africa News Brief

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MENA BRIEF, SITREP June 21 – June 26: Middle East and Northern Africa Regional Low Intensity Conflicts.

[MISC]:

Gulf States, led by Saudi Arabia, present Qatar with 13 demands.

Kuwait, operating as an intermediary, has presented Qatar with a list of demands from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, to resolve the diplomatic dispute between the nations. The demands were republished in full by the Associated Press (AP), and the below list was retrieved from AP’s wire piece on the matter. The list is presented within its context, but without commentary from Lima Charlie MENA Bureau.

The demands are as following:

“1. Curb diplomatic ties with Iran and close its diplomatic missions there. Expel members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard from Qatar and cut off any joint military cooperation with Iran. Only trade and commerce with Iran that complies with US and international sanctions will be permitted.

  1. Sever all ties to terrorist organisations, specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIL, Al Qaeda, and Hizbollah. Formally declare those entities as terrorist groups.
  2. Shut down Al Jazeera and its affiliate stations.
  3. Shut down news outlets that Qatar funds, directly and indirectly, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al Araby Al Jadeed and Middle East Eye.
  4. Immediately terminate the Turkish military presence currently in Qatar and end any joint military cooperation with Turkey inside Qatar.
  5. Stop all means of funding for individuals, groups or organisations that have been designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, the US and other countries.
  6. Hand over terrorist figures and wanted individuals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain to their countries of origin. Freeze their assets, and provide any desired information about their residency, movements and finances.
  7. End interference in sovereign countries’ internal affairs. Stop granting citizenship to wanted nationals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Revoke Qatari citizenship for existing nationals where such citizenship violates those countries’ laws.
  8. Stop all contacts with the political opposition in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Hand over all files detailing Qatar’s prior contacts with and support for those opposition groups.
  9. Pay reparations and compensation for loss of life and other, financial losses caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years. The sum will be determined in coordination with Qatar.
  10. Align itself with the other Gulf and Arab countries militarily, politically, socially and economically, as well as on economic matters, in line with an agreement reached with Saudi Arabia in 2014.
  11. Agree to all the demands within 10 days of it being submitted to Qatar, or the list becomes invalid. The document doesn’t specify what the countries will do if Qatar refuses to comply.
  12. Consent to monthly audits for the first year after agreeing to the demands, then once per quarter during the second year. For the following 10 years, Qatar would be monitored annually for compliance.”

Qatari Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, has stated that he, and the Qatari government, are rejecting the demands as unrealistic. The Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, has in turn voiced support towards Qatar, and stated that the “siege of Qatar is unacceptable”. Iran has also dispatched various food items, as well as medical items, as humanitarian aid to Qatar. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has also stated that Turkey supports Qatar, and wishes for a diplomatic solution that is “respectful and reasonable”.

US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, released a statement that said that while the US supports the demands, it recognizes that the demands “will be very difficult to meet”.

Acting Managing Director of Al Jazeera English, Giles Trendle, stated in regards to the accusations that the list of demands insinuate that al Jazeera is “not partisan to any particular group or ideology or government”.

[BAHRAIN]:

Shiite opposition groups continue to call for protests. Most of the demonstrations throughout the week have been held away from the capital.

JUN23, Abu Saiba, Bahrain; Shiite opposition affiliated media outlets reported that an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detonated outside the Country Mall, in Abu Saida, around midnight. According to the media reports, there were no casualties. Neither the Ministry of Interior (MoI), nor unaffiliated media outlets, have substantiated the report as of yet.

[SAUDI ARABIA]:

The Ministry of Health (MoH) stated that the past week saw 5 additional cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus (MERS-CoV). The majority of new cases were found in Riyadh.

JUN21, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; King Salman decreed that Prince Muhammad bin Salman is to be promoted to crown prince and deputy prime minister. These new positions will be in addition to bin Salman’s positions as Defence Minister and chairman of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs. Bin Salman is replacing Prince Muhammad bin Nayef in both positions. Bin Nayef has held both positions since 2015. Until the decree, bin Nayef also held the position of interior minister. The position of interior minister is now held by bin Nayef’s nephew, Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef.

JUN23, Mecca and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Ministry of Interior (MoI) has confirmed that militants were targeted by a coordinated security forces operation in both Mecca and Jeddah on JUN23. During the raid on a safe house in Ajyad, in Mecca, one of the individuals being detained detonated a suicide vest, injuring five security personnel and six expatriates.

[EGYPT]:

JUN22, al-Agouzah, Giza, Egypt; 4 individuals were detained under the suspicion of involvement in the Sinai branch of the Islamic State. The individuals were detained during a raid against a residential area, during which security forces seized large amounts of explosives and munitions.

JUN22, Cairo, Egypt; President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi extended the state of emergency for an additional 3 months.

JUN23, Manfalut, Egypt; Ministry of Interior (MoI) stated that 7 militants were killed during clashes with security forces. No members of the security forces were injured during the operation, which was initially intended to retrieve and detain a high value individual. In the aftermath of the fire exchange, security forces seized documents, military uniforms, pistols and rifles, as well as an improvised explosive device (IED). While the MoI has not specified which militia organization the individuals are believed to have belonged to, there are strong indicators that the individuals were affiliated with the branch of the Islamic State that is operating in Egypt.

JUN23, al-Wahat Road, 6th of October City, Giza, Egypt; MoI has stated that a man identified as Mohamed Abdel Moneim Abu Tabikh was killed during a shootout on JUN23. Abu Tabikh was suspected for conducting fund raising operations, as well as having an advanced leadership position, in the Hasm movement. The security forces were in the process of attempting to apprehend the individual when he opened fire.

JUN24, al-Awayed, Alexandria, Egypt; 6 members of an undisclosed militant group were detained during a raid in al-Awayed in Alexandria on JUN24. The Ministry of Interior has stated that the individuals were planning to carry out attacks that would coincide with the Eid al-Fitr celebrations later that week. Two of the individuals detained are said to have been carrying suicide belts at the time of their arrests.

[TURKEY]:

JUN22, Konak, Izmir, Turkey; A small detonation occurred inside the Konak cemetery area at 0800 local time. The cemetery is located 2 kilometers away from a NATO military installation. No injuries have been reported.

[ISRAEL and PALESTINE]:

JUN22, Jerusalem, Israel; Israeli Intelligence and Transportation minister, Yisrael Katz, has invited the newly appointed Kingdom of Saudi Arabia crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, to Tel Aviv to reaffirm ties between the two nations. Katz also called upon Saudi King Salman to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Riyadh for the same reason.

[IRAN]:

JUN22, Tehran, Iran; Iranian government affiliated media says that initial exports of Iranian gas to Iraq has begun. According to the FARS, an Iranian government affiliated news source, a newly built pipeline that goes from Iran to Iraq is now delivering 7 billion cubic meters of gas per day, and will eventually reach 35 billion cubic meters per day.

[UNITED ARAB EMIRATES]:

JUN23, Brussels, Belgium; 8 Abu Dhabi Emirati princesses of the al-Nahyhan family, the ruling family of Abu Dhabi, were convicted of human trafficking and abuse by a Belgian court on JUN23. The case was in regards to the treatment of servants at a Brussels luxury hotel in 2008. The 8 women received 15-month suspended sentences along with fines.

LIMA CHARLIE, MENA Desk

Lima Charlie provides global news, insight & analysis by military veterans and service members Worldwide.

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