On 5th June 2017, Gulf Cooperation Council members Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain along with Egypt cut ties with Qatar accusing it of causing regional unrest, supporting terrorist groups including in Libya and getting to close to Iran. The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain impose an air, sea and land blockade on Qatar.
This incident came shortly after Donald Trump addressed the US-Arab-Islamic Summit in his quest to align the United States traditional allies against Iran and its regional agenda.
The UAE, Saudi and its allies issued a terrorist sanction list which contained 12 organisations and 59 individuals who they claim have had support and finances from Qatar. For Saudi Arabia, the decision to break ties with Qatar resulted Qatar embracing of various terrorist and sectarian groups whose actions are aimed at destabilizing the region. This includes the Muslim brotherhood, al-Qaida, Islamic state and groups supported by Iran.
the tension Qatar has with Qatar’s gulf Arab neighborhood have grown in recent years as part of the tussle for regional leadership. the Gulf states have been emboldened by trump and the row with Qatar is a Saudi led attempt to bring Qatar into line.
Through this crisis, Turkey has stood by Qatar. Turkeys president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned the decision made by these countries Erdogan described the situation as “death sentence” and criticized it for going against Islamic values. Initially Turkey refrained from taking sides and called for dialogue. Two days after, this all changed. A bill was passed to authorize the deployment of Turkish troops to Qatar. Due to its increased international isolation Turkey considers Qatar as an ally. The two countries share ideological stances, seen through how neither of them accepts the classification of the Muslim brotherhood as a terrorist group. Both states have also maintained close ties with Iran.
This diplomatic crisis has had immediate effects. There was an immediate effect on air travel in the region. Qatar airways, one of the region major long-haul carriers, suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia; Etihad, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier, said it would suspend flights to Qatar until further notice, Emirates Airline, the Dubai-based carrier, suspended Qatar flights and the Dubai-based budget carrier fly Dubai suspended flights to and from Doha.
The Qatar stock exchange fell by nearly 8%. Additionally, Qatar is facing fears of shortage of key food imports after the main land route into the country was closed. Oil prices are sensitive to geopolitical tensions. With this crisis still unfolding, it remains to be seen what the Qatari rift with its Arabic states will mean for its relationship with the international community especially the United States.
Featured image | President Donald Trump and King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia attend the meeting of the Leaders of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf Countries | The White House | flickr
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