Qatar is being isolated as six nations have decided to cut their diplomatic ties due to suspicions of supporting terrorism. The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt made an announcement on June 5 that they are terminating all connections with the Gulf state.
Yemen and Libya followed suit later and severed ties with Qatar as well. The Saudi Press Agency stated that the said nations made the move because they believe that Qatar has been supporting “Iranian-backed terrorist groups” that are based in Eastern part of Qatif and Bahrain.
The officials revealed that the decision was made to “protect its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism.”
Apparently, the tensions went from bad to worse as the suspicions of Doha backing up terrorism become more evident, at least as what the involved nations can see. Three of the countries that abandoned Qatar have asked Qatari nationals to leave their land in two weeks.
Aside from Saudi’s allegations of funding the activities of al-Qaida, the Islamic State, and other terrorist groups, Bahrain also cited 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 break off ties.
Bahrain added that Doha is destabilizing their country’s security and it meddles in its internal state affairs, so parting ways is the best option. Likewise, United Arab Emirates and Egypt also stated that Qatar is disrupting their territory’s stability.
As posted on the Independent, despite all of the criticisms, Qatar responded by saying that the decision of their neighboring countries to severe their ties has no basis and unjustified.
“The State of Qatar has been subjected to a campaign of lies that have reached the point of complete fabrication,” a statement said. “It reveals a hidden plan to undermine the State of Qatar.”
Nevertheless, the claims are not something new with Doha. It has long faced the controversy of having links with the terrorists especially because the Afghan Taliban launched one of its office in Doha in 2013.
Effects of the Fallout
In early Monday trading, global prices of oil went up by 1.24 percent, and this translates to $50.57 per barrel. The stock exchange in Qatar also dropped by 7.65 percent.
The crisis in the Gulf also pushed the countries to send Qatari diplomats back to their homelands. They are no longer welcome to hold office in nations that deserted Qatar.
Also, all the involved countries expressed their plans to cut sea and air traffic altogether. Saudi Arabia will step things up further by also shutting down its land border with Qatar. This closure of the border will effectively disconnect the nation from the rest of the Arabian Peninsula.
It was reported that UAE’s Etihad Airways already ordered suspension of all its flights to and from Qatar. More countries are expected to do the same soon. On the other hand, Qatar Airways always fly through Saudi airspace, and it is not clear how it will continue its operations now.
Doha is also the location of Al-Udeid airbase. It is where the US conducts all confederation air operations for the region, but it is not sure how this will be affected.
Another thing, the football 2022 World Cup has been scheduled to take place in Qatar in 2022, but with the current situation, there could be changes. BBC sports news correspondent Richard Conway shared FIFA’s statement after four Arab nations parted ways with Qatar:
Fifa statement after four Arab nations break ties with Qatar: pic.twitter.com/FrkYN2sLlH— Richard Conway (@richard_conway) June 5, 2017
Meanwhile, people in Qatar have been posting updates, on their social networking sites, about the current situation in their country. Following the separation from major Arab nations, it was learned that the citizens have gone into panic buying.
In fact, many have posted photos of empty shelves in grocery stores as people try to stock up food and necessities. Bottled water in Doha supermarkets have also run out, and people are that things might get worse as their country copes with the national crisis.
[Featured Image by Saudi Press Agency/AP Photo]