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Saudi accused of blackmailing African states with Hajj visas

Pilgrims during Hajj in Mecca [File photo]
Pilgrims during Hajj in Mecca [File photo]

Saudi Arabia has been accused of making threats to African countries that have refused to support the blockade against Qatar, including veiled threats to deny Hajj visas to African Muslims, French newspaper Le Monde reported.

Riyadh has led a campaign to influence African states to break diplomatic relations with Doha. Seven countries have already yielded but a number of African leaders have refused to support the siege on Qatar. In an attempt to coerce countries refusing to join the blockade, Saudi Arabia has been accused of resorting to coercion and blackmail.

According to the paper, Riyadh was using veiled threats, including complicating the visa process for countries who refused to support the blockade.

African states with a large Muslim population have come under severe pressure to support the siege since it started last week. Many African states have mosques and institutions financed by Riyadh.

Read: What will Saudi Arabia lose after the Gulf earthquake calms down?

Six African countries (Niger, Mauritania, Senegal, Chad, Egypt and the Comoros) have recalled their ambassador from Doha. Others, including Djibouti whose border dispute with Eritrea is being mediated by Qatar, preferred to take a less drastic measure to avoid a future backlash.

Riyadh however is struggling to obtain the support of many Muslim majority countries in Africa. Somalia was the latest, which turned down $80 million in aid to cut ties with Qatar. The countries of the Maghreb – Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia – and Sudan, have called for dialogue without taking sides. Nigeria, which has enjoyed good relations with Qatar, is also not in any position to cut diplomatic relations with Doha without suffering negative consequences.

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Saudi was reported to have resorted to exerting pressure on those countries. The first is by threatening to cut off aid which is believed to be modestly successful and the second is said to be veiled threats to make obtaining visas more difficult for Hajj and Umrah.

The map of diplomatic relations between African states and the GCC is more complicated than Saudi initially anticipated. Over the past decade, Qatar has made important avenues in Africa. The emirate is hoping that its generosity will pay off.

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  • The truth of the matter to muslim world is that wahabism practise by saudi kingdom is long overdue for. Overhaul it will not stand the test of time any longer Saudi govt execess will be expose and muslim world will bring it down sooner than later American and Isreil realise this that was why they are using it to their advantage against their fellow muslim neithgbour for a start which will pitch Muslims against Mulims on a larger scale just like when they introduce ISIL against muslim world Once their agenda is finish ISIL this will be their second phase agenda to purposely reduce Islam practises to nothing with the aim of taken control of more land and resource from Arab world with ripple effect to other Muslim Nations.

    • Mohamed Sajid

      The ideology of Abdul Wahab has nothing to do with these present day Monorch/ dictator/ayatulah / peer lanati’s. Abdul Wahab was a great reformer against grave worshipers he tried hard to bring Muslims to true path followed by Prophet(pbuh). The present day dictators/monarchs/ayatulla’s/ peers are bunch of Hypocrites who have sold themselves for security, But they have forgotten security comes from Allah(swt). They are like “Eat my Muslim brother Not me”.

      • Correct  observation in fact the present rulership in Saudi Arabia are creating problems for the entire muslim world

  • Shawn Nazzari

    Terrorism and Blackmailing is in their Nature. Not too long ago, Before the Oil Money, they were nothing but a bunch of bandit desert Rat Eater Criminals. I guess the easy money which they did not work for it spoiled the Saudi’s family. It is time for the Saudi citizens to get back what is belong to them and do what Iraqis did to Saddam. Hang them all.