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Qatar to mediate (again) in Yemen 15, July 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar, Yemen.
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Qatar is to attempt to mediate in the Yemeni conflict once more.

Back in 2006-7 Qatari mediators (including the Emir, the Foreign Minister and the Crown Prince) sought to mediate a solution to the Houthi Yemeni conflict. They suggested that the Houthi leaders relocate to Doha (with a nice house and a stipend) and refrain from making any public statements as part of their proposed solution. The Qatari attempts failed. Whilst I had simply assumed that Saudi had, in some way, shape or form, interfered and scuppered the deal, apparently, the Yemeni authorities (and their advisors) thought that Qatar was trying to pursue a line of mediation overly ‘kind’ to the Houthis.

Qatar have a mixed record in mediation. They succeeded in securing a very important medium term solution in Lebanon and are in the midst of mediating (with severe difficulty) in Darfur. Unlike many regional mediators (such as Saudi and Egypt, for example) Qatar can bring a high degree of neutrality to most of their mediations. Additionally, they are relatively cash rich and are willing to use their money to facilitate mediation.

If, therefore, the conflict in Yemen is approaching something that might be described as a ‘ripe moment’ then Qatar may well have the attributes to bring the parties closer.

I look forward to some comments from knowledgeable Yemen people…

Hat tip: Mari

Qatar mediate peace deal with Djibouti and Eritrea 10, June 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Horn of Africa, Qatar.
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Qatar, the Middle East’s mediator in chief of recent years, has mediated a peace between Djibouti and Eritrea. Their conflict was a long-running border issue which prompted clashes in 1996, 1999 and 2008. Under Qatar’s leadership, the Emir, Hamad Al Thani, will head up a committee to appoint an international firm to delineate the border. Both sides have agreed to abide by the results.

Eritrean troops have withdrawn from the areas that they had previously controlled in Djibouti. They have been replaced by 20 (twenty) Qatari soldiers. (Hmmm)

This is the latest success for Qatari mediation. In Lebanon and Darfur in recent years Qatar achieved agreements where countless actors had failed. They are, however, not always successful. In Yemen in 2007 a Qatari arranged cease fire only for it to break down some months later.

I’m personally very interested in these meditations. Specifically, I want to know how Qatar does it. I don’t really think that the Emir and the Foreign Minister are involved in the ‘nitty gritty’ but then again, their Foreign Ministry is so small that there are precious few others to do the work. I think that there are some specific Qatari-Eritrean relations at play. The history between Qatar (if not the Gulf) and the Horn of Africa is complex, but – essentially – there has been a significant amount of emigration from the former to the latter in the past half a century or so. Alas, (as you can tell) I don’t know too much about it. Inshallah, I’ll find out. If anyone as some specific ideas or can recommend some books etc, please let me know.