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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2345

Gulf States cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of support for Islamist militants and Iran

Riyadh, 06 June, (Asiantribune.com):

The Arab world's biggest powers, leading Gulf States, cut ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of support for Islamist militants and Iran.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic relations with Qatar in a coordinated move accusing the Gulf state of supporting terrorism. Yemen, Libya's eastern-based government and the Maldives joined later. Transport links shut down, triggering supply shortages.

Bahrain has accused Qatar of meddling in its internal affairs. Egypt and the United Arab Emirates quickly followed suit, saying that Qatar is destabilizing the region.

It dramatically escalates a dispute over Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood. There are also accusations that Doha backs the agenda of regional rival Iran.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic relations with Qatar in a coordinated move. Yemen, Libya's eastern-based government and the Maldives joined later. Transport links shut down, triggering supply shortages.

Qatar, a small peninsular nation of 2.5 million people that has a large U.S. military base, denounced the action as predicated on lies about it supporting militants. It has often been accused of being a funding source for Islamists, as has Saudi Arabia.

Iran, long at odds with Saudi Arabia and a behind-the-scenes target of the move, blamed Trump's visit last month to Riyadh and called for the sides to overcome their differences.

Closing all transport links with Qatar, the three Gulf states gave Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave, and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt banned Qatari planes from landing and forbade them from crossing their air space.

A split between Doha and its closest allies could have repercussions around the Middle East, where Gulf states have used their financial and political power to influence events in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

The economic fallout was already hitting home as Abu Dhabi's state-owned Etihad Airways, Dubai's Emirates Airline and budget carriers Flydubai and Air Arabia said they would suspend all flights to and from Doha indefinitely from Tuesday morning.

Qatar Airways said on its official website it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia. Many Gulf airports, including in Qatar, are major hubs for international connecting flights.

The measures are more severe than during a previous eight-month rift in 2014, when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE withdrew their ambassadors from Doha, again alleging Qatari support for militant groups. At that time, travel links were maintained and Qataris were not expelled.

Neighboring Kuwait has been mediating in the dispute, and its emir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, urged Qatar's ruler to calm tensions and refrain from escalating the rift, Kuwait state news agency Kuna said.

Al-Sabah called on Qatar's Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani to give efforts at mediation a chance to contain differences, a few hours after Khalid al-Faisal, an adviser to the Saudi king, visited Kuwait.

- Asian Tribune -

Gulf States cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of support for Islamist militants and Iran
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