The boycott of Qatar is hurting its enforcers

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Doh! The embargo isn’t working THE largest insurer in the Gulf should have taken out a policy on itself. Last year Qatar Insurance collected about 110m rials ($30m) in premiums from its Abu Dhabi office. But in September it announced that, because of a diplomatic dispute, the United Arab Emirates (UAE)would not renew its business licence, forcing it to close its branch in the Emirati capital. Its stock price has fallen by 30% since the beginning of the summer. It has been more than four months since Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt closed their borders and cut diplomatic ties with Qatar. The so-called quartet wants the little gas-rich emirate to stop supporting Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, and to shut down Al Jazeera, the Arab world’s most popular broadcast

Syria’s Kurds led the advance on Raqqa, but now may fracture

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The wreckage of Raqqa THE bodies of the dead would hang for days from the railings in the main square of Raqqa. It was a macabre reminder to residents that Islamic State (IS) had declared the capital of its so-called caliphate in the Syrian city. Signs around the victims’ necks revealed their crimes. Dozens were executed for spying; others for smoking or listening to music. This week that reign of terror ended. On October 17th, after four months of heavy fighting, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an army of Kurds and Arabs, took the square. Tying yellow and green flags to the railings where the bodies once hung, they stomped and shouted to celebrate. The capture of Raqqa highlights how over the past few years the SDF has become the most effective American-backed force in the fight a