Qatar and Saudi Arabia Have Vitriolic Exchange at Arab League Meeting

Tamim bin Hamad al Thani inspects a guard of honor upon arriving at the Bole International Airport during his official visit to Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa

Reports of the arrests came amid widespread speculation that King Salman bin Abdulaziz was preparing to abdicate in favour of his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Al-Thani said QIA has not divested from any banks.

All three men are outside the state-backed clerical establishment but have large online followings. "The contract involves the firm "[developing] and [implementing] a government relations strategy for the State of Qatar" and communicating with government officials on Capitol Hill and the Trump administration, in addition to "other individuals and organizations involved in governmental or public policy matters".

Sheikh Salman al-Awdah, an influential cleric who was imprisoned from 1994-99 for agitating for political change and has 14 million followers on Twitter, appears to have been detained over the weekend, the posting suggested. He later called for democracy and tolerance during the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011.

Back in June, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates imposed a trade and diplomatic embargo on Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism, an allegation strongly denied by Doha.

Ahmed Bin Abdul Aziz Qattan, Saudi Ambassador to Egypt, has said that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, is keen to strengthen cooperation between Saudi Arabia and all the countries of the world.

The authorities in Saudi Arabia have arrested more than 20 clerics and intellectuals in an apparent crackdown on dissent, activists say.

"This shows that Saudis are doing their best to divert the attention from reports by The New York Post and The Independent saying that the Saudi embassy in Washington did, in fact, have ties to some of the hijackers of the 9/11 attacks", said Marwan Kabalan, director of policy analysis at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies.

On Saturday, Riyadh had suspended all communication with Doha after Qatari media allegedly misreported the contents of the first phone call on the crisis between the two Arab states. Following a meeting with the Kuwaiti emir where serious regional problems came up for discussion, Trump made a decision to act as a mediator between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The abdication plan is just one rumor, as Voice of Israel radio claimed a Saudi prince has secretly visited with Prime Minister Netanyahu, and some are reporting that it was the crown prince.

Meanwhile Exiled Saudi opposition activists have called for protests on 15 September meant to galvanize opposition to the royal family.

He further criticized what he called Qatar's "historic support" for terrorism and extremist factions.

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