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tv   News  Al Jazeera  January 4, 2021 10:00pm-10:30pm +03

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administration officials what that ceremony will be of course we don't know. but we will find out in the coming hours stay with us for continuing coverage of the latest developments in the gulf crisis here on al-jazeera we're going to hand you now to my corrie colleague warren in london agent him up very much and if you're just joining us we'll start with that breaking news there's been a breakthrough in a 3 year dispute between cata and 3 i have a arab nations saudi arabia has agreed to reopen its airspace and land and sea border to qatar from monday ending the blockade on the state kuwait which has been the main mediator in the dispute made the announcement on the eve of a gulf cooperation council summit in riyadh saudi arabia the u.a.e. egypt and bahrain imposed a blockade on qatar and 2017 accusing it of supporting terrorism in qatar has always rejected the claim has bring in rami khouri who's the director of global
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engagement and a senior public policy fellow at the american university of beirut who joins us via skype from new york thanks very much indeed for being with us so give us your reaction to that to the in the significance of this news well my reaction is good i'm very pleased this is good news whenever any kind of tensions between countries and their region a result of them one has to be happy the significance is not clear because this was a fait accompli from the beginning the charges against covered by the 4 are countries are really court bridges and most of the world saw them that way and therefore very few people of any supported the boycott the this was this a political dispute that there is a political dispute between the u.s. so. and other countries about how to deal with political trends or. romy korea listen to last august they're just talking about also the influence of where this will take. the middle east and that whole region let's bring in now what is
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your caster who's following developments from washington d.c. and heidi we've seen recently the normalization of relations between some gulf countries and israel put this current development in the context for us. sure the guiding principle between this by this foreign policy team led by jared questioner the president's son in law has been to unite the countries in this region against iran and that is when the driving factors was in the push to normalize diplomatic relations between israel and several arab nations that we saw occur at the end of last year now he had also been working until the wee hours over the phones where according to the reporting of the reuters news agency citing an unnamed u.s. official that cushion i was on the phones himself trying to negotiate this breakthrough and that it finally has emerged i know
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a big question remaining out here there is whether or not this breakthrough is just between saudi arabia and qatar or whether it would also involves the other arab nations will according to the reporting by reuters and by the associated press this may be a deal that's emerging between all of the parties and that in fact tomorrow's signing ceremony which we're still trying to learn more about in saudi arabia will have a cushion or in attendance will be joined by brian hook a u.s. state department representative and other u.s. official as well and that this signing agreement it appears maybe more than just saudi arabia and qatar it may involve the other g.c.c. nations as well again this is still breaking we're trying to get this confirmed but what we know from the reuters news agency is that jerry cushion or had had a large part driving this effort is something that he was trying to race against the clock in finding some sort of resolution given that president trump will be out
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of office within 16 days into added this emergent emerging deal if it sticks as one more victory diplomatically between the trump administration negotiated in the gulf region will certainly be something that the president can. celebrate in his waning days in office i suppose what looking back on it though there was a truck a part that president trump played at the start of all this that perhaps some people might have said was was unhelpful in and encourage the the other countries to blockade. that's right and certainly that brings up the images of president trump's 1st 1st trip out of the u.s. as president of course he chose saudi arabia as the destination really cozying up to saudi arabia from the very 1st beginning days of his in ministration then of course there was the assassination of jamal khashoggi and president trump's
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unwillingness to condemn saudi arabia condemned the role of the crown prince despite the u.s. intelligence conclusions that it was likely a directed operation coming from the crown prince himself so certainly the president had faced much criticism over his response to saudi arabia coming even from members of his own party the republicans and we saw congress throughout the years of the trouble ministration in their rare departures from president members of his party again the republicans voting in measures that were very critical of saudi arabia its role in the war in yemen so to to go from bad point to the to the last 2 weeks of president trump's administration where he can call this a win again if the deal sticks that was negotiated by his own son in law and gerry cushion or who long called peace in the middle east his his predominant goal and
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his role in the white house as a senior advisor this is certainly something that the trouble in astray should and will likely celebrate will talk a lot about in the coming days. thank you much indeed for the time being and i'm sure we'll talk to you again soon i mean. it is live for us from doha so jim for people who just tuning in give us a quick sense of what this deal involves and who has to give what. well what it involves in terms of the commitments that will be taken by all sides is there to be clear and most likely we will not hear about it until the summit take place takes place itself however what we know is what we know what it won't involve it won't involve the 13 the bonds that the blockading countries said must be met by qatar in order for the blockade to be lifted those demands included cutting ties off with iran shutting down our does iran expelling turkish turkish military base here and paying billions of dollars of compensation to those 4 countries.
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was very clear. in what's happened and people say well why an obvious question why is there a breakthrough now if those demands on being met there's been a shift in international players in terms of the new u.s. administration that's on the brink of integration in terms of the fact that qatar has established that it is been able to survive over the past 3 years not just survive but actually its economy has been doing better than the 4 blockading countries and therefore the policies that have been pushed by that quartets have obviously failed that coupled with the constant push and efforts by kuwait's to try and find a solution and the revived interest of u.s. president donald trump senior adviser and son in law question or 2 maybe exit the white house with another diplomatic win as far as he's concerned is what led us to
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where we are today. speaking to people not just in qatar but also in kuwait and across the g.c.c. what i understand will take place tomorrow will focus more on an emphasis of the unity of the g.c.c. the need to bring about. reestablish a united front towards the different crises that they will face not least covert which has been a major one that they've all suffered equally from and also a. kind of reaffirm mission of the g.c.c. is principles and a return to the mechanisms that already existed in it in order to find a solution. as far as the saudis are concerned and this is why so far the only air space that will be open or has been an ounce of the open is saudi arabia they are
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maybe in a less i would say a better position but a less worse position than their moralities and the her a nice and the egyptians because of the geo political nature that they find themselves in as the custodians of the 2 holy shrines or as the self-proclaimed leaders of the muslim world the can always fall back on that as a reason why they are going to be the quote unquote a bigger person and find a way to reunite us jamal just you mentioned in passing iran and the and how that played into this whole dispute what do you think the future is for the relations between the countries in that area and iran. well i mean it's it's a relationship that's been part of cold and to a great extent actually a lot of times it's been kind of very confusing because you find for example the blockade in countries demanding from qatar to cut ties with iran but one of the blockading countries namely the united arab emirates does business in the trade
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volume between me and ron is tenfold greater than that of the house and iran there have been senior u.s. officials that have gone to to run over the past year in a bid to try and maybe find a different approach towards it's that's one of the differences between for example the u.a.e. and saudi arabia in terms of foreign policy it's also been obviously one of the difference between both those countries and cut that which has tried to always play a mediating role as well as for example a man which was one of the countries that paved the way for the iranian nuclear deal as well as other negotiations with iran in terms of looking forward to it a couple of weeks ago the deputy foreign minister of iran was in doha no doubt discussions would have taken place or at least would have. given been given some sort of visibility as to the discussions saying please to find a solution to the g.c.c.
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crisis but ultimately this crisis will or this resolution to the crisis will be seen detached from the individual relationships between each country and iran because one of the key. talking points that the party officials have been making throughout the past 3 years is that the blockade was being imposed on them to try and enforce or strip them rather of their independence and their sovereignty in making or pursuing specific form policies and therefore would it make sense for them to accept any sort of dictation as to how they would deal with iran or any other country for that matter in order to resolve. the issue does what about the g.c.c. now that well it appears that this big dispute is a long course being resolved at any rate it does the g.c.c. have a new position or kind of new power in the region i mean that in the past has been criticized for not having enough influence or not perhaps you know perhaps making
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big enough decisions on crises or conflicts what would you say the future the g.c.c. if this particular issue is resolved well for to look at the wider. middle east or north africa region. the g.c.c. is probably the most functioning bloc between them so the arab league of arab states the arab league has been one that many have criticized for failing to do anything on any fronts the g.c.c. at least had certain things like these are waiver between the countries had economic privileges often negotiated trade deals and so forth as a bloc. and therefore there was some sort of a benefit to it politically speaking when it came to issues of pursuing specific policies particularly when it came to international events that's where it's had a problem. obviously we're reporting on the facts right the fact is that these are
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countries that don't see eye to eye on issues also for true be blunt about describing any possible solution that will take place tomorrow the reality is it's not really going to solve the deep seeded issues between these countries because each country is built on a different political system and has a different outlook that is a lot more pluralistic in its approach it's a lot more open to. diversity and to different of of opinions and deals with countries from iran to israel in the past right whereas the united arab emirates saudi arabia and egypt have consistently pursued more. unilateral policies have supported consistently or thora tarion regimes either military ones like the one in egypt or in libya or absolute
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monarchies and therefore that's hasn't changed so if you are true follow the analysis that is that the core of the issue is that difference of opinion particular when we're looking at it post arab spring then really all that's being happening is you're putting a plaster on a gushing wound but that is enough at least for many people in the region because the stability that came from the g.c.c. even if it was fractured behind the scenes was still something that is worth maintaining as opposed to have been yet another. divided and fractured segments of the middle east and north africa. jamal thank you very much indeed for the time being and bring in rami khouri is the director of global engagement a senior public policy fellow at the american mystery of beirut joins us via skype from new york the line will stay stable this time because i want to ask you about the where this puts the body ministration and its future relations say with with iran does this complicate the task for the biden how to deal with iran the fact
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that this result that this. situation has been real is being resolved. i don't think so i think it probably is a positive element the arab countries in the arab region and the ones in the gulf in the g.c.c. don't have a united position unified position on iran some of them want to use forceful sanctions and threats and put military options on the table other ones want to have acquired the promises but really reducing the tensions between the g.c.c. countries and qatar will definitely be a positive step and the question of iran is going to depend much more on what people decide in washington and maybe a little bit in israel because israel drives a lot of washington policy on this that's the going to be the determining factor but cut that has cut in kuwait and all men have good relations with iran trading they talk their contact all the time and that's
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a very positive thing the genesis of this conflict between the or the blockade because it's not really a 2 way conflict but the genesis was the saudis and the a majority as were terrified after the hour of uprisings to $10.00 to $11.00 about trends in the region democracy voting leaders being thrown out open media larissa's here and others but they were also worried about the united states starting to negotiate with iran that the u.s. pulling out of the region so having a sensible logical political dialogue between iran and the arab countries is the only way to to do this and you've had some so it isn't a matter of these on others behind the scenes talking to 2 iranians so it have to wait and see there's also a new factor here which is some countries possibly without naming on it because we don't know this is speculation but some arab countries may feel that their links with israel may give them more comfort in terms of the ailing with iran if the u.s.
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is slowly downgrading its role in the region which it may or may not be. but the links with israel are also a new factor that we have to put into this and to the situation but the real driver of this whole boycott issue was the united arab emirates and hamad bin zayed the crown prince and effective ruler of the u.a.e. rather than the so these are the hernias on the egyptians went along with it because they basically gained a lot of material things and a sense of sort of a role in the region but the saudis are much more sensitive to the damage that has been done to their reputation because of this because of the blockade because of the war in yemen because of the internal factors that the dealt with in terms of repression so the saudis are much more sensitive to international opinion that it would at these are much more forceful and decisive and we don't know the relationship between them right now it seems to be evolving and we haven't heard
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anything about the end without these opening their border or doing anything so we have to really wait to get more information about what is the result of this reconciliation or reduction in tension opening of some borders but it's a positive move everybody should welcome it and people should not repeat such foolhardy you know unilateral blockades that are based on political differences that translate into acts of almost irrational political violence that to me you mentioned that the in passing the normalization of relations between some gulf countries and with israel and give us an idea whether this actually some of that might be tied to this in any way in what way. well it might be the image that is have established normal relations and some of them are earth $20.00 stick about economic ties of course we don't know what the american people feel about this the likelihood is not all iraqis are happy with this we know that around the entire
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arab region somewhere around 70 to 80 percent of the population of the arab countries don't want to normalize with israel until israel has a fair peace with the palestinians then everybody's willing to normalize their peace plan is based on normal relations with israel which came out of saudi arabia and the arab summit years ago but we don't know what average people around the region think the normalization there's a is a is a logistical mutually beneficial agreement between individual leaders and the behavior in the u.a.e. and morocco sudan even that the whole government isn't. behind the normalization or the steps towards normalization the military side wants to do it the political side in sudan doesn't so these are very delicate limited their. logistical arrangements rather than peace breaking out or i think like that and then the interesting thing here also is the announcement for this came out of kuwait not out of washington this far as i can tell the things may have changed in the last 15
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minutes the united states wants to play this up as a big deal and jared questioner is trying to take a lot of credit for the likelihood is that they are manny's and the kuwaitis the most of the heavy lifting in terms of discussions and how to get this resolved but again we're we just have to wait for the details of these things are not completely clear are the details are not completely clear right now and it's maybe a limited but significant 1st step towards reducing the tensions and eventually getting back to normal relations but normal relations as your correspondent said mean that from the gulf countries have different policies they're different in their economic with their ideology. the nature of their leadership the their relationship to open societies and close societies they're very very different from each other they're never had a strong unified position on anything political really and even they when they did
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play on palestine they just broke it because they thought they had things to benefit 'd so it has never been a major political bloc but it has been a functioning technical ringback collaboration among the 6 like minded countries which started at the moment in the 1970 s. when i was old enough to remember when it started and it was very much seen as a rich arab rich person's club to protect the wealth of the arab gulf region that suddenly boomerang the mushroom in the seventy's when oil prices increased and people saw the g.c.c. as a way for the gulf countries to try to protect their wealth and and it never had any real political weight and has much less now there's another danger here the u.a.e. in the saudis especially the u.a.e. may suffer what the trumpet ministration has suffered which is a drop in trust internationally people might say oh i can't make a deal with this country because they'll just break it unilaterally like prompted
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with a different you know climate change and other things and them about this and so it is just unilaterally broke the relations with cook the report card of them sort of the war in yemen and this kind of unilateral impulse of often violent behavior whether it's military or just political parlance this is a problem for many countries because others will look twice before making agreements with them in the future rami khouri thank you very much indeed to feel analysis and just if you're just joining us now our mind at the time we're talking about the breakthrough in the 3 a dispute between custer and 3 other arab nations and it's now been announced the cut is running emirs to attend the g.c.c. summit in saudi arabia. that after saudi arabia agreed to reopen its airspace and landed sea border to qatar from monday or sultan barakat is a director the center for conflict and humanitarian studies he joins us via skype from doha thanks very much for being with us so how do you see this playing into
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the the regional politics in the middle east the significance on that scale. well i think it's very significant the last few years have been incredibly chaotic here and we've suffered a good degree of instability and this is a very important step to bring former stability back to the gulf what kind of scale of damage has there been from this in terms of the economically but also politically. well know that there's been a good deal of damage economically and we don't really have sufficient figures but a lot of trade relations have been affected here and. qatar having preparing for the 2022 football games have had to rely on much more expensive routes tentative routes to supply itself and so on so
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there has been significant economic damage say but mostly it is social it's about social relations between extended families between qatar and the neighboring countries it's about students who knows that they're places of course study it's about people who lost their businesses and property in those countries and so i think more mostly on the social side the positive aspect of it at least as far as cutter is concerned has been a greater degree of resilience over the last few years the thais have managed to lead to labor the blockade and that has helped really help them discover better ways of living and more efficient ways of sustaining their economy that expenditure managing their affairs and resulted in an extremely resilient country that has now demonstrated itself in the lifting of the blockade without them having to endure as
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the totally irrational 13 conditions how do you see relations with iran playing out and of course that there is an incoming administration which had said it would have a different approach with iran but then there are various factors that may make that difficult. well of course through it because of the blockade. qatar has had to divert all its flights into iranian airspace now that may change it a bit now that they have alternative routes over saudi arabia and not their member adds but ultimately there are a lot of concerns here that maybe present trump before he leaves office he may trigger or allow israel to trigger some kind of action against iran which will be of 1st no interest to anyone in this issue nobody is willing to confront iran in any form and as rami hoary was saying and here. in
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the news channel i think the. partnership that is developing quickly between the united arab emirates and israel may lead some to take some further good decisions in the election of confronting iran but we hoping that that is not going to be the case and that this is a genuine step towards rebuilding relations within the gulf which could then come in one voice and negotiate with iran and talk to iran directly about 3 ching security arrangement that is really run by those neighboring the gulf thank you very much indeed sultan back out there with you analysis thank you. now on to our other top story this hour and the u.k.'s prime minister is preparing to address the nation in less than an hour boris johnson is set to announce a new knockdown for england just hours after soaring infections forced scotland's
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leader to bring in emergency measures from midnight g.m.t. the change in approach comes as the u.k. reported more than 58000 new cases on monday the 7th day in a row that infections have topped 50407 more people died as the new variant of corona virus continues to spread rapidly elsewhere thailand's prime minister people to stay at home after designating 28 provinces as high risk zones including the capital bangkok and european regularly and regulators a meeting to consider approval for a 2nd vaccine but there is criticism for a slow rollout so far in a continent that seen more than 15000000 infections andersen's begins our coverage in the u.k. where a 2nd vaccination campaign is now underway. a shot in the arm of the oxford university astra zeneca vaccine pulled 1st for the u.k. but any fanfare the roll out of the initial half a 1000000 doses of the vaccine was lost and replaced by
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a realisation that the spread of covert in the u.k. is out of control i think this is a really critical moment we we are at the point of being overwhelmed by this disease so i think it gives us a bit of hope but i think we've got some tough weeks ahead the u.k. prime minister boris johnson flagged the need for tougher restrictions with infection rates still climbing beyond the levels of the 1st wave and the number dead now at $75000.00 well i'm i'm going to obviously. ask you to wait and we will be pretty producing everything that we think is necessary to keep people from spreading the virus if you think about it we've already got a lot of the country in interior force on the interior 3 what we've been waiting for is to see the the impact to the tier 4 measures on the on the virus within a few hours of johnson speaking the 1st minister of scotland was on her feet before her devolved parliament announcing
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a full lockdown which will run for the whole of january we have to say to introduce from midnight tonight for the generation of the january a legal requirement to stay at home except for essential part the seas this is similar to the lockdown of march last year next came an announcement that boris johnson will make a televised address later on monday he'll announce new restrictions for england and parliament will be recalled on wednesday to vote on what he proposes and there's another worrying development a u.k. government side to have a good visor is reported as saying that he's concerned the vaccines won't be as effective against a south african variant of covert furthermore matt henkel the u.k. health secretary says he's concerned because. the south african variant seems to be more infectious than the u.k. strain as the u.k. braces itself for tougher restrictions the warnings from all quarters in this crisis are more stark than it's any stage since the prime demick began hospitals
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are on the brink of being overrun and here's the problem the case facing an extraordinary rise in recorded infections over the last few weeks the country is now seeing an exponential rise in cases far outstripping the 1st wave last year the number of actual cases may be even higher because not everybody is being tested andrew symonds has been following the story as you saw there and joins me now it's so we're expecting a promise to speak to it within about half an hour what what what we think he's going to say or just seen from that graphic this isn't just something of a curve it's a rapid sharp rise 6 day running we've seen figures in the 5000s infections and following on from that there will be an increase in deaths more than 75000 all up now 75000.

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