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Four countries cut links with Qatar over 'terrorism' support

5 June 2017 10:23 am - 17     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain have broken off diplomatic relations and all land sea and air contacts with fellow Gulf Arab state Qatar, in the region’s most serious diplomatic crisis in years.

Saudi Arabia on Monday said the move was necessary to protect the kingdom from what it described as terrorism and extremism. The kingdom also pulled all Qatari troops from the coalition fighting the ongoing war in Yemen.

The official state news agency, citing an official source, said Saudi Arabia had decided to sever 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”.

Saudi Arabia cut all land air and sea contacts with Qatar “and urges all brotherly countries and companies to do the same.”

The decision comes after Qatar alleged in late May that hackers took over the site of its state-run news agency and published what it called fake comments from its ruling emir about Iran and Israel. Its Gulf Arab neighbors responded with anger, blocking Qatari-based media, including the Doha-based satellite news network Al-Jazeera.

Qatar is 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 wasn’t clear if the decision would affect American military operations. Central Command officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Qatar long has faced criticism from its Arab neighbors over its support of Islamists. The chief worry among them is the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist political group outlawed by both Saudi Arabia and the UAE as it challenges the nations’ hereditary rule.

Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia fell out with Qatar over its backing of then-Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, a Brotherhood member. In March 2014, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar over the rift.

mapEight months later, they returned their ambassadors as Qatar forced some Brotherhood members to leave the country and quieted others. However, the 2014 crisis did not see a land and sea blockade as threatened now.

In the time since, Qatar repeatedly and strongly denied it funds extremist groups. However, it remains a key financial patron of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and has been the home of exiled Hamas official Khaled Mashaal since 2012.

Western officials also have accused Qatar of allowing or even encouraging funding of Sunni extremists like al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, once known as the Nusra Front.

The crisis also 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.

Bahrain’s foreign affairs ministry issued a statement early Monday saying it would withdraw its diplomatic mission from the Qatari capital of Doha within 48 hours and that all Qatari diplomats should leave Bahrain within the same period.

The ministry’s statement said Qatari citizens needed to leave Bahrain within two weeks and that air and sea traffic between the two countries would be halted. It wasn’t immediately clear how that would affect Qatar Airways, one of the region’s major long-haul carriers.

Bahrain blamed Qatar’s “media incitement, support for armed terrorist activities and funding linked to Iranian groups to carry out sabotage and spreading chaos in Bahrain” for its decision.

The UAE’s state news agency WAM reported the Emirates cut ties and gave diplomats 48 hours to leave the country, citing their “support, funding and embrace of terrorist, extremist and sectarian organisations”.

Egypt announced the closure of its airspace and seaports for all Qatari transportation to protect its national security.

Egypt cut ties with Qatar, accusing the Gulf Arab state of supporting “terrorist” organisations including the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s state news agency reported.

Qatar had no immediate comment.(The Guardian)

  Comments - 17

  • loki Monday, 05 June 2017 02:24 PM

    pot, kettle, black

    Scooby Doo Tuesday, 06 June 2017 10:09 AM

    I wonder whether you have brain or not!

    sujata Tuesday, 06 June 2017 09:48 AM

    why not adopt the same yard stick with Pakisatn

    Mala Monday, 05 June 2017 10:38 PM

    Sachith,you are spot on mate!.Historically the Arabs are desert Normads with no brains.

    nick Monday, 05 June 2017 09:27 PM

    no matter whatever the reason they should deal & sort out the difference via dialogue there is not single nation or nations that succeeded with this sort of approach via DM Android App

    Donny Monday, 05 June 2017 08:16 PM

    Sad to see a calamity of this nature in Qatar..hope it doesn't effect the jobs of our fellow bothers and sisters working in the state...

    Buchweiser Monday, 05 June 2017 06:48 PM

    Trying to start a new proxy war against an innocent Arab state that only sponsors to defend the Sunni blood bath innovated by the West.

    Truth Monday, 05 June 2017 03:57 PM

    Trump visits Saudi and then this happen.. hahaha

    Rasheed Monday, 05 June 2017 02:37 PM

    Don't forget, even 9/11 bomb blast was backed by Saudi.Reports still held back by US.

    Dee Monday, 05 June 2017 10:59 AM

    Ha ha ha! Saudi?

    usaguy Monday, 05 June 2017 01:59 PM

    no we have brains but we sit on them. so we use the brain for the wrong purpose. thats the difference. via DM Android App

    FUNDING Monday, 05 June 2017 01:58 PM

    If Qatar funded the same terrorist groups these other nations (including UK) does - then no such situation would have arisen.

    Sanjeewa Monday, 05 June 2017 01:52 PM

    @ sachith, how ignorance you are !!. Major source of income to the country is from expat workers in middle eastern countries. Secondly cutting diplomatic ties will not help. Since you will not have anything to run your tuktuk. I hope at least you have one..

    bad guy Monday, 05 June 2017 12:03 PM

    and we have brains.. thats why our country is like this...

    dinesh Monday, 05 June 2017 11:54 AM

    do you even know the facts before jumping to conclusions?

    C.K.Lankaputhra Monday, 05 June 2017 11:02 AM

    Very good move, we thank and appreciate the Arab solidarity against all kinds of terrorism.

    sachith Monday, 05 June 2017 11:02 AM

    All of them are same. Rest of the world should cut their diplomatic ties with these countries. They just have money and no brains.

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