Emirates, Etihad Suspend Flights To Qatar

May 28: UAE State Minister for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash says Gulf countries are going through a new "deep crisis", urging Qatar without naming it to "change its attitude and re-establish confidence and transparency".

Saudi Arabia said Qatari troops would be pulled from its ongoing war in Yemen.

Earlier, the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and the Maldives severed diplomatic relations with Qatar.

Qatar is the site of the sprawling al-Udeid Air Base, home to the forward headquarters of the USA military's Central Command. Maj.

"This is a massive escalation in pressure on Qatar", said Kristian Ulrichsen, a Gulf analyst with the Baker Institute at Rice University in Houston.

It accused Qatar of supporting what it described as Iranian-backed militants in its restive and largely Shia Muslim-populated Eastern region of Qatif and in Bahrain.

Qatar Airways, one of the region's major long-haul carriers, has suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain until further notice.

Last week, the emir called Iranian President Hasan Rouhani to congratulate him on his re-election - a clear and public rebuttal of Saudi Arabia's efforts to force Qatar to fall in line.

Qatar is also due to host the World Cup in 2022.

The countries asked the Qatar's diplomats to leave their countries within 48 hours, and barred Qatari nationals from entering their states for 14 days and vice versa.

Simon Chadwick, professor of sports enterprise at Britain's Salford University, said the diplomatic crisis "raises an important issue of risk assessment and contingency planning" for the World Cup.

The Kremlin commented on the decision by a number of Arab nations to sever diplomatic relations with Qatar and said on Monday it is in Moscow's interest to have a "stable and peaceful" situation in the Gulf.

Qatar's emir, believed to be just 37 years old, could retaliate by withdrawing from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council and redraw alliances to snub Saudi Arabia's 31-year-old Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, who are believed to be the two main figures orchestrating the standoff.

There was no immediate word from Kuwait and Oman on Monday on their ties with Qatar.

Qatar has been criticised for supporting Islamist rebels in Syria, and in 2013, the Afghan Taliban opened a Doha office.

  • Zachary Reyes