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Cliff Owen / AP

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson traveled to the Gulf region Monday in hopes of resolving the diplomatic crisis which has seen a Saudi-led bloc of nations boycott Qatar and accuse the country of supporting terrorist activity. Tillerson's trip comes after Qatar rejected a list of 13 demands — including calls to shut down Al Jazeera and loosen ties with Iran — from its neighbors.

Why it matters: One month in, the Qatar crisis shows no signs of resolution. The blockade is pushing Qatar even closer to Iran and Turkey, both of which have flown in food and resources. The United States has a stake in the crisis with major military bases in Qatar, including its Central Command headquarters, which controls all operations in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

  • The list of demands was voided last week after Qatar rejected them and its neighbors said they would continue their boycott. In a statement, the Saudi-led coalition said Qatar's move reflected its "intention to continue its policy aimed at destabilizing security of the region." Qatar has denied allegations that it supports regional terrorist groups. Tillerson wants to help the sides reach a new compromise.
  • Qatar has $340 billion in reserves to handle the economic strain of the blockade, Abdullah Saud Al-Thani, the governor of the nation's central bank, told CNBC.
  • But they're seeking compensation, reports Al Jazeera, Qatar's state-run media company. Qatar has formed a Compensation Claims Committee to follow-through on requests for billions in damages from the blockade. One of the companies asking for money is Qatar Airways.
  • Moody's lowered Qatar's credit outlook from "stable" to "negative," signaling that the financial impact of the blockade may be steep. Qatar's stock market has fallen 10%, losing about $15 billion, per Bloomberg

.

Go deeper

Trump can't quit mainstream media

Bob Woodward and Robert Costa are interviewed by Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" in September. Photo: William B. Plowman/NBC via Getty Images

Bob Woodward and Robert Costa issued a rebuttal on Friday to a statement by former President Donald Trump that misrepresented their reporting — and once again showed the 45th president's thin skin about mainstream media.

Driving the news: "Former President Trump said ... our book, 'Peril,' implied that he was planning to go to war with China," the statement begins. "[W]e report that Chairman of Joint Chiefs Mark Milley 'believed that Trump did not want a war' before or after the 2020 election."

NY declares state of emergency amid concerns over Omicron COVID variant

Governor Kathy Hochul makes an announcement about a new plan transforming Penn Station on Nov. 3, 2021. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday declared a state of emergency amid rising COVID-19 cases and the newly-identified Omicron variant of the virus.

Driving the news: The declaration enables the state to acquire supplies to fight a potential surge in cases, increase hospital capacity and combat potential staff shortages, NBC's local affiliate reports.

2 hours ago - Health

First cases of COVID-19 Omicron variant discovered in U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Two cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant were detected in the United Kingdom overnight, the U.K. Health Security Agency announced Saturday.

Why it matters: The discovery comes as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.