Sheikh Abdullah, who lives in London and comes from a wing of the ruling family that was ousted in a 1972 coup, posed for pictures with King Salman at his lavish coastal palace outside Tangiers. (Estimates of the cost of the king’s holiday run as high as $100 million — expensive even for a monarch who typically travels with an entourage of 1,000 or more.)
Although there was no official explanation for the visit, the Saudi news media played up Sheikh Abdullah’s visit as the beginning of a potential challenge to the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
Few analysts believe the emir faces a serious threat, but some Qataris took the move as a provocation, and as further evidence that the true intention of the Saudi- and Emirati-led boycott is to engineer leadership change in Doha.
The diplomatic skirmishes are the latest moves in a crisis that, until now, has largely played out in the news media, amid accusations of hacked emails and fake news stories, and in fruitless efforts at conciliation led by worried Western allies like Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson.
President Trump’s role in the crisis has been hotly debated since he openly sided with the Saudi-led bloc in June, although he has
Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/24/world/middleeast/qatar-iran-boycott-saudi-arabia.html
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