Saudi Arabia cuts ties to Qatar, cites 'terrorism'

"This is either a wakeup call for Qatar and it's going to bring Qatar back into the fold or it's a fundamental shift in how the Arabs engage with each other which should be very very alarming for the United States". Many of those nations' airlines and aviation authorities suspended flights in and out of Doha.

The story said Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, had called Iran "a regional and Islamic power that can not be ignored". While Qatar is an ally of the U.S., the powers cutting ties with Qatar are Washington's primary Arab allies, which means the diplomatic crisis could deteriorate Qatar-U.S. relations and even potentially cut Washington off its access to its Qatari military base.

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.

Qatar has already assured Japan, one of its largest customers, that the diplomatic feud will not affect shipments of Qatari LNG.

Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on Monday accused Qatar of destabilising the region.

Saudi Arabia, which leads a coalition of nations fighting in support of Yemen's government, also said Qatar's forces would be withdrawn from that fight.

The move came just two weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia and vowed to improve ties with both Riyadh and Cairo to combat terrorism and contain Iran.

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said it would be costly and diplomatically hard if the USA made a decision to cut ties with Doha.

There are about 1,000 Irish people living in the oil-rich state which is due to host the 2022 Fifa World Cup. It did not elaborate.

Saudi Arabia said it took the decision due to Qatar's "embrace of various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilising the region" including the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida, Isis and groups supported by Iran in the kingdom's restive eastern province.

Qatar's Foreign Affairs Ministry said the measures are "unjustified and are based on baseless and unfounded allegations".

State-supported media in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries continued to report the story, despite protests from Qatar that it was false.

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.

"The Ministry of Information closed the office of the Al-Jazeera channel and withdrew the licence it was granted", the official Saudi Press Agency reported. As the looking to form a united front to challenge Iran, the Qatari diplomatic crisis could actually push Qatar closer to Iran.

The UAE has given Qatar's diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi 48 hours to leave the country after what it said where "Doha's several policies which destabilizes the security and stability of the region and manipulates commitments".

The route between Doha, Qatar and Dubai is popular among business travelers and both are major transit hubs for travelers between Asia and Europe.

Trade sources, who declined to be named, said the UAE and Saudi Arabia had stopped exports of white sugar to Qatar.

Air traffic was disrupted, with the United Arab Emirates suspending service to Qatar by its three carriers, Etihad Airways, Emirates, and FlyDubai, beginning Tuesday morning.

  • Leroy Wright