Gulf Crisis: Saudi Arabia, allies insist on al Jazeera closure as part of long list of demands

Kuwait has handed Qatar a list of demands including the closure of the Doha-based al Jazeera news network as conditions for lifting blockades imposed by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt in the diplomatic row with the tiny gas-rich country.

Kuwait is playing a mediator role in the crisis, which erupted over two weeks ago after the besieging countries first suspended all Doha–linked media outlets. The suspension decision was made after the country’s state news agency QNA and its platforms circulated statements attributed to the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, criticizing Saudi Arabia’s anti-Iranian rhetoric and expressing Doha’s refusal to call Lebanon-based Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist groups. Doha rejected the claims saying the QNA was hacked.

The list seen by Associated Press asks Qatar to shut down its powerful news network al Jazeera, which has been suspended in the four besieging countries. The list also names several media outlets such as The Middle East Eye and The New Arab.

The anti-Qatar bloc also gives ten days to Doha to reduce diplomatic contact with Iran to commercial ties and to expel members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard from the Emirate.

The list also includes cessation of all Turkish military current deployments in Qatar and end of any joint military cooperation with Turkey inside of Qatar.

Qatar is ordained to end funding of all individuals and organizations designated as terrorists by the bloc and other countries.

Among other demands, the Saudi-led bloc imposes payment of reparations and compensation for loss of life and other financial losses caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years.

The countries did not specify what they will do if Qatar does not abide by the demands.

Wednesday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for dialogue among the US allies but urged for “reasonable and actionable demands”.

“We support the Kuwaiti mediation effort and look forward to this matter moving toward a resolution.”

The bloc also this week indicated that they will maintain the air, sea and land blockades if Qatar insists on defying its neighbors’ demands to freeze terrorist funding.

Doha has vehemently rejected the bloc’s accusation and threatened this week not to enter in negotiations if the blockades are not lifted.

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