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Doha fashions an entrance in Beirut, perhaps at Riyadh’s expense

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani’s unexpected arrival in Beirut for the Arab Economic and Development Summit on 20 January – followed shortly afterwards by a promise to buy $500m-worth of Lebanese sovereign bonds – revealed a bold move by Doha to put a wedge between Beirut and its traditional Gulf patron Saudi Arabia. At a poorly attended summit, whose only other visiting head of state was Mauritanian President Mohammed Ould Abdelaziz, Tamim’s attendance inevitably drew considerable attention.

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