Boeing

Silent Eagle fighter jets

Gulf states must work out their differences before they can buy any more weapons from the US, an influential American lawmaker has warned.

Yesterday, the chairman of the US Senate Foreign relations committee Bob Corker expressed concern about the ongoing Gulf crisis.

In a letter to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, he said “recent disputes among the GCC countries only serve to hurt efforts to fight ISIS and counter Iran.”

Corker added:

“Before we provide any further clearances during the informal review period on sales of lethal military equipment to the GCC states, we need a better understanding of the path to resolve the current dispute and reunify the GCC.”

Escalating crisis

It’s been three weeks since Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain cut off diplomatic and economic ties to Qatar for political reasons.

The crisis escalated last week after the nations presented a 13-point list of demands to Doha. They included closing Al Jazeera, shutting down a Turkish military base and cutting off ties with certain political groups.

Paul Keller/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Corker’s pledge to halt arms sales comes a day after Tillerson said that many of the demands would “be very difficult for Qatar to meet.”

On Sunday, he urged GCC nations to sit together to work out the dispute, adding that “a lowering of rhetoric would also help ease the tension.”

F-15 deal in question

A US arms embargo would directly affect recent weapons orders by both Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this month, Qatar signed a deal to purchase $15 billion in F-15 fighter jets. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has been talking about buying some $110 billion in weapons from US manufacturers.

Boeing

F-15 fighter jets

In the US, big arms sales come across the desk of the chairman of the House and Senate foreign affairs committees for preliminary approval.

Congress then has about a month to review the deals, and decide whether to take action against them.

According to some analysts, the threat of withholding sales could provide an impetus for the GCC nations to resolve their differences.

Qatar’s foreign minister is expected to meet Tillerson today, as the deadline for responding to its neighbors’ demands draws near.

Thoughts?

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A six-year-old boy has died after falling into an uncovered manhole in Wukair over the weekend, Gulf Times reports.

The child, an Indian expat named Izan Ahmed Basheer, reportedly went missing after he and his parents ate at a restaurant in the area on Saturday.

According to the newspaper, the parents filed a police report and began canvassing the area along with friends and family.

Mathrubhumi

Izan Ahmed Basheer

But then Izan’s body was found early Sunday morning in an open manhole near the restaurant.

Spate of deaths

At least half a dozen children in Qatar have died after falling into uncovered manholes in the past seven years.

That includes a three-year-old Jordanian boy who in November 2012 fell into an 8m (26-foot) hole outside of an Al Sadd hotel.

And one month later, a three-year-old Omani girl was killed after falling into an open manhole near her home in Al Wakrah.

Supplied

Fahim Sirajudeen

Municipal workers conducting a cleanup did not notice she had fallen in and secured the manhole cover before leaving for the night. She was found during a search of the area by neighbors.

And then in 2013, a five-year-old boy named Fahim was walking just ahead of his parents after leaving the now-closed fish market in Abu Hamour one evening when he disappeared into an open manhole.

Fahim was eventually rescued, but he suffered brain damage after being submerged in water and going without oxygen for several minutes. He died days later.

Put safety first

A government official was eventually sentenced to one year in jail for gross negligence after his death and for not ensuring the safety of manholes in the Central Market area.

Speaking after the verdict, the child’s father urged authorities to introduce stringent safety rules so that other families could avoid having to “share this sort of pain.”

Marco Zanferrari/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Sirajudeen added that simple measures such as putting barriers around the open hole and lighting the area could have shown up the open hole, and saved his son’s life.

“After this happened, people told us we weren’t looking after our son properly. But he was right with us. The area was dark – there were no lights at the time. We couldn’t see the hole.

“What we have lost we can never get back. My wife cries every single day. There is nothing, nothing which can compensate for what has happened to us. I never want something like this to happen to another family. I never want to share this sort of pain with another family.”

Thoughts?

Reem Saad / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only

The cost of premium (91-octane) fuel in Qatar will fall by 5 dirhams to QR1.55 in July, the Ministry of Energy and Industry (MEI) has announced.

Though marginal, this is the first time since October 2016 that premium fuel prices are dropping.

Meanwhile, the price of diesel will also fall 5 dirhams to QR1.50/liter.

MEI

July petrol prices

However, 95-octane super petrol will remain at QR1.65, after dropping 5 dirhams in June.

Before that, petrol prices held steady for two months, following five consecutive months of increases, from November 2016 to March 2017.

Gulf dispute

For now, the ongoing Gulf crisis that has left Qatar isolated from its neighbors should not affect petrol prices, according to experts.

RasGas

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Speaking to AFP this month, M.R. Raghu, executive vice president of Kuwait Financial Center (Markaz), said:

“Given the severe supply glut in the oil markets globally, it is quite unlikely that the Gulf spat would lead to a spike in oil prices in the short or medium term.”

However, if the matter escalates into a military confrontation that disrupts oil and gas supply lines, then energy prices around the world would likely soar, some analysts said, according to Al Jazeera.

Currently, Qatar is mulling a long list of demands sent by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE.

It has about a week left to respond, or face a possible “divorce” from the GCC.

Thoughts?

Photos courtesy of QNA, Katara, Nashira Usef and Lagoona Mall

Qatar residents turned out in droves to masjids, malls and other hotspots around the country to celebrate the first day of Eid Al Fitr.

Many spent time with friends and family, as well as went out to eat after a month of refraining from food during the daylight hours.

At Katara Cultural Village, thousands of people attended live entertainment shows and checked out the first in a series of daily fireworks shows this week.

Entertainment was in full swing over at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center, Asian Town and several malls, including Lagoona:

For a full list of what’s going on around town, check out our Eid guide here.

How is your holiday going? Thoughts?