Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, others cut ties with Qatar

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Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Yemen, and Libya’s eastern-based government, in addition to the Maldives, cut their ties with Qatar on Monday. The six Arab governments accused Qatar of supporting terrorism, disturbing security and stability in the region, and supporting Iran.

Although the six countries cut relations with Doha on accusations of supporting Iran, they didn’t cut ties with Iran itself.

According to the last manoeuvre, the three Gulf states gave Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave their countries. Qatar was also expelled from a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

 

Saudi Arabia (KSA)

Saudi Arabia announced that it decided to cut ties and all transportation means through land, sea, and air with Qatar because of reasons related to the Saudi National Security and to protect its security from terrorism and extremism, according to an official statement.

“Cutting relations is a result of the serious Qatari violations in secret and in public over the last years in order to divide the Saudi people, inciting rebellions, and supporting terrorist groups such as Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic State, and Al-Qaeda to destabilise the region,” the statement read.

Saudi Arabia accused Doha of supporting Shiite rebels in the eastern Saudi state Al-Qatif and in Bahrain, in addition to supporting the Houthi group in Yemen, according to the statement, which added that all these groups are backed by Iran.

Bahrain

Bahrain decided to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing its closest Khaliji neighbour of backing terrorism and interfering in Bahrain’s internal affairs, according to state-owned Bahraini media. Bahrain also cut its air and sea contact with Qatar, gave Qatari diplomats 48 hours to leave its territories, and gave its citizens in Qatar 14 days to leave.

The Bahraini statement claimed that Qatar threatens the Bahraini national security and disturbs security and stability in Bahrain by supporting Shiite groups linked to Iran.

 

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The United Arab Emirates asserted its full support for the Gulf Cooperation Council and the statements of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom of Bahrain on Qatar, the Emirati Foreign Ministry stated.

The UAE said that it has given the Qatari diplomats 48 hours to leave the country, and Qatari visitors and residents 14 days to leave.

Abu Dhabi accused Doha of supporting extremist and terrorist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and using its media outlets in promoting the ideology of the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda.

The announcements come ten days after the US-Islamic summit in the Saudi capital Riyadh when US president Donald Trump visited the region to call on Muslim countries to stand united against Islamist extremists, singling out Iran as a key source of funding and support for militant groups.

Qatar hosts the largest US military base in the Middle East.

 

Analyst: US will play an important role to end the tension

Professor of political science at Cairo University Hassan Nafea said that the Khaliji transition against Qatar comes following the US-Islamic summit in Riyadh and the US president’s visit, which declared the KSA as a leader of the region.

“Stability in the Arab gulf region is very important to the US, so I guess it will play an important role to end this tension,” Nafea told Daily News Egypt.

Nafea believes that the KSA will make concessions towards the Palestinian issue in order to introduce Iran as the main danger in the region and to consider Israel as a friend. Also, he added that the current situation will not affect the Arab position in the United Nations because Arab members have no effect in the international forum.

Political science professor and former diplomat Mustafa Al-Feki told Daily News Egypt that he believes that the Arab league has no role in the current tension, because it is among members of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the council has to interfere to end the tension.

Al-Feki believes that its the time for Qatar to pay the price for its policies and political behaviour.

 

Qatar responds

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar expressed its deep regret and surprise at the decisions by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the Kingdom of Bahrain to close their borders and airspace, and sever diplomatic relations with the State of Qatar, bearing in mind that these measures are unjustified and based on false claims and assumptions,” according to Qatari state-owned media.

The Qatari statements asserted that the country has been subjected to a campaign of lies that have reached the point of complete fabrication to undermine the State of Qatar.

Furthermore, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, visited Kuwait on Wednesday to hold discussions with the Emir of Kuwait, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

Kuwait is believed to play an important role in ending the latest tension between Qatar and other Khaliji countries, like the role it had played in 2014.

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