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Al Jazeera English producer Baher Mohamed, Canadian-Egyptian acting Cairo bureau chief Mohammed Fahmy and correspondent Peter Greste appear in court during their trial on terror charges, Cairo, Egypt, March 31, 2014 (AP photo by Heba Elkholy).

Gulf-Backed Regional Status Quo Restored With Egypt-Qatar Thaw

Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015

Last month, after a summit in Doha where the wealthy Arab kingdoms of the Persian Gulf rallied around a joint naval and police force, Qatar’s foreign minister had some kind words for Egypt. Evoking the 1950s and 1960s, the height of pan-Arab rhetoric, Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah called Egypt “strong and capable…the backbone of all Arabs.” The nostalgia was part of a reconciliation campaign, led by the conservative Gulf countries that back Egyptian strongman President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, to mend ties between Egypt and Qatar. That came on the heels of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain’s own efforts to end their long dispute with Doha over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Weeks later, Qatar shut down Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr (Live Egypt), an Egyptian affiliate of Al Jazeera with unabashedly pro-Islamist coverage that has been highly critical of el-Sissi and his generals. The Egyptian government outlawed the station soon after the military ousted President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, but it kept broadcasting from Qatar, hosting Muslim Brotherhood supporters and airing their views, while slamming Egypt’s regime. Until recently, the channel regularly referred to el-Sissi as “the first elected president after the coup.” ...

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