Egyptians in Qatar fear being swept up in Gulf crisis

Its massive natural gas reserves and tiny population have made it one of the richest per capita countries in the world, and its popular Al-Jazeera news network has contributed to its outsized influence in the region.

Saudi Arabia and allies including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties and transport links with Qatar on Monday, accusing the Gulf state of supporting extremism.

Qatar, now embroiled in a diplomatic crisis with other Arab nations, is a small country with a history of turmoil and coups.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have given Qatari nationals two weeks to leave and banned their own citizens from travelling to Qatar.

Qatar hosts the largest U.S. airbase in the region, which is crucial in the fight against Islamic State group jihadists, and is set to host the 2022 football World Cup.

Editor's note: This article has been edited from the source material. Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies may have felt emboldened by Trump's visit, which saw the new president clearly align USA interests with Riyadh and lash out at Iran.

Other neighbours, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have closed their airspace to Qatari planes.

Qatar's ruler postponed an address to his country over its sudden and damaging diplomatic isolation, in order to allow Kuwait some time and room to mediate.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt - as well as the internationally recognized (and Saudi-backed) government in Yemen, the Emirati-backed government in Eastern Libya, and the Maldives - all suspended ties with Qatar over its alleged support of extremist organizations in the region, as well as its cordial relations with Iran.

Turkey, which has good relations with Qatar and other Gulf states, also offered to help and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan late on Monday spoke to the emirs of Qatar and Kuwait and to Saudi King Salman. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has declined to comment if the Arab states' decision to sever diplomatic ties with Qatar may affect the agreements to cut oil production.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he did not expect the dispute to have "any significant impact... on the unified fight against terrorism". Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway said the US military had "no plans to change our posture in Qatar".

2013 - Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani becomes Qatar's emir as Sheikh Hamad steps down. The Saudi ports authority said Qatari-flagged shipping vessels are barred from docking.

The U.S. military's Central Command maintains a presence at the al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

Saudi Arabia is also shutting its border to neighboring Qatar, locking the state out of its only over-land border crossing.

"We need to look into the maturity of those deposits but if they're short-term deposits, this could expose the banks rapidly to reduced confidence from GCC institutions", he said. Qatar shares a massive offshore gas field with Iran.

The Egyptian regime, headed by ex-defence minister Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, is fighting Islamist insurgents across the country and has long accused Qatar of supporting the militant offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood in the region.

Kuwait's emir, who has spent decades as a diplomat and mediator in regional disputes, hosted Sheikh Tamim last week as the crisis began brewing.

"We are friends, we've been friends now for a long time, haven't we?" PIA officials in Doha were directed to contact the Pakistani Embassy.

  • Zachary Reyes