As tensions escalate in the region, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain have said that they are severing diplomatic relations with Qatar. The 4 Arab nations severed ties with Qatar on Monday, following accusations that the nation has been supporting ‘terrorism’ and Islamic groups. This sudden move comes in the middle of a deepening rift between the Gulf Arab nations. The four countries announced that they would withdraw their diplomatic missions from Qatar within the next few days. Qatar had recently won the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, within the next few days. The nations have also cut off all air and sea movement to the peninsular country. The dispute between Qatar and the Gulf’s Arab countries escalated after a recent hack of Qatar’s state-run news agency. It has spiralled since.
The crisis comes after US President Donald Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia for a summit with Arab leaders.Since the meeting, unrest in the region has grown. Qatar is also home to the sprawling Al-Udeid Air Base, which is home to the US military’s Central Command and some 10,000 American troops. It is not clear if the decision would affect American military operations. It is to be noted that Qatar is the biggest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and a big seller of condensate (another fuel). So, pushed up by the tensions in the middle east, oil markets rose more than 1 percent, and as signs of falling OPEC supplies tightened the market, Reuters reported. Here are 10 things you need to know about the dispute among Arab nations:
1. The dispute between Qatar and the 4 Arab countries started when the former had alleged in May that cyber criminals hacked its state-run news agency publishing fake comments related to Iran and Israel from its ruling Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
2. After the news of hacked news agency website came, comments falsely attributed to Hamad Al Thani were broadcast in the country. However, Qatar government had said that the comments in which Qatar’s Emir expressed support for Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and Israel were never made. The comments had also claimed that US President Donald Trump may not last in power.
3. However, UAE-based Sky News Arabia and Al Arabiya kept running the discredited story, inspite of Qatar’s denials. Meanwhile, the other four nations had responded by blocking all Qatari-based media, including Al-Jazeera, an Associated Press report said.
What Bahrain has said:
4. Bahrain was the first country to cut ties with gas-rich Qatar. It had accused Qatar of backing terrorism ‘at all levels’ and interfering in its internal affairs.
5. Bahrain said that its diplomatic mission will be withdrawn from Qatar’s capital, Doha, within 48 hours. The government has banned its citizens from travelling to Qatar or from staying there. Qatari residents and visitors have been given 14 days to leave the Kingdom.
6. The country has directed all Qatari diplomats to leave Bahrain within the same period, after completion of all necessary procedures. The official news agency, Bahrain News Agency, added that Bahrain would cut off its airspace, ports and territorial waters to air traffic and shipping between the counties within 24 hours.
What Saudi Arabia has said:
7. Saudi Arabia, soon after Bahrain’s announcement, said that it was breaking off diplomatic relations with Qatar. It said that the move was initiated to protects its Kingdom from terrorism and extremism, according to a Reuters report.
8. Its official news agency stated it would cut diplomatic and consular relations with Qatar “proceeding from the exercise of its sovereign right guaranteed by international law and the protection of national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism”.
9. Saudi Arabia has cut all land air and sea contacts with Qatar “and urges all brotherly countries and companies to do the same.” Saudi has also said Qatari troops would be expelled from the on-going war in Yemen. The Saudi-led Arab coalition has been involved in the war for the last two years.
UAE & Egypt
10. Egypt also announced the closure of its airspace and seaports for all Qatari transportation “to protect its national security”, the foreign ministry said in a statement.