Turkey calls for dialogue over Qatar rift with Arab states

Gulf Arab states and Egypt have long resented Qatar's support for Islamists, especially the Muslim Brotherhood which they regard as a unsafe political enemy.

The coordinated move, with Yemen and Libya's eastern-based government joining in later, created a dramatic rift among the Arab nations, many of which are in OPEC.

The news comes two weeks after Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt blocked several Qatari media outlets - including Al Jazeera - over comments allegedly made by Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Al Hamad Al Thani.

- Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the Maldives and Bahrain have also cut diplomatic relations with Qatar, as have the Yemeni and temporary Libyan government, and Saudi has announced it will close its land border with Qatar (there's still no clarity on how quickly that closure will happen).

Qatar hosts the largest U.S. airbase in the region, which is crucial to operations against Islamic State group jihadists.

The modest reaction - the FTSE 100 stock index was down 0.2 percent, compared with a 0.2 percent dip in the pan-European STOXX 600 index - follows the pattern after attacks in other European cities in recent months.

Iran saw America pulling the strings.

Hasn't Saudi Arabia been accused of something similar?

"All nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism" in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and throughout the region, Trump said in Riyadh.

As for the USA response, both Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis say they don't think the decision will affect the fight against terrorism.

Etihad, Emirates and FlyDubai on Monday announced they are halting all flights in and out of Doha, the Qatari capital, starting Tuesday morning. But it could try to force foreign companies to make a choice between doing business with Qatar and obtaining access to its own, much larger market, which it is opening up as part of economic reforms. At that time, travel links were maintained. These are the most powerful nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council. It has more than 100 aircraft now at the Qatar base, including combat planes like the B-1 bomber as well as planes for airlift, refueling and intelligence, the website says.

"It seems that the Saudis and Emiratis feel emboldened by the alignment of their regional interests - toward Iran and Islamism - with the Trump administration", Ulrichsen said. It is yet to be seen if Qatar decides to disrupt the production cutback deal.

Any vessel presenting a Qatari flag, originating from or heading to Qatar will not be allowed to use the UAE port.

Egypt's relations with Qatar have been fraught with tension since the ouster in 2013 by the military of an Islamist president allied with Doha.

The "decisive" measure was due to "gross violations committed by authorities in Qatar over the past years", the Saudi statement said.

  • Zachary Reyes