Qatar says Saudi-led move to bar citizens breach of rights

The dispute comes less than a month after Trump visited Saudi Arabia and called for Muslim nations to unite against "extremism".

US President Donald Trump too joined in the dispute on Tuesday, saying leaders he met on a Middle East trip had warned him that Doha was funding "radical ideology" after he had demanded they take action to stop financing militant groups.

Earlier, he said the Saudis' move to isolate Qatar could mark the "beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism".

Bans on Qatar-linked oil and LNG vessels refuelling at the UAE's port of Fujairah have added to chaos, pushing shippers to find new refuelling points at extra cost, industry sources said. Trump told Salman that a united Gulf Cooperation Council is "critical to defeating terrorism and promoting regional stability", according to a White House readout of the conversation.

The president's sharp critique of Qatar pulled the USA directly into a conflict that American diplomats had wanted the bickering parties to resolve among themselves.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, in a phone call that crisis situations should be solved by political and diplomatic means, "in dialog", the Kremlin said.

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Tuesday that the economic measures should persuade Qatar to change its policies and behave "like a normal country".

But Qatar has also always been accused by its Gulf neighbours and Egypt of supporting extremist groups.

Qatar is heavily dependent on food imports and residents have been queuing at supermarkets to stockpile. Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran are major Gulf powers with a long antagonistic history that are vying for regional geostrategic power and influence.

Triggering the Arab world's biggest crisis in years, they accused the tiny Gulf state of harboring extremist groups and suggested Qatar supported the agenda of Riyadh's arch-rival, Iran.

UAE carriers Emirates, Etihad, flydubai and Air Arabia, as well as Saudi Airlines had all announced the suspension of flights to and from Qatar as of Tuesday morning. He didn't take sides. FlightRadar24, a popular airplane tracking website, said Qatar Airways flights already had started to be affected, with flights to Europe being rerouted through Iran and Turkey.

CNN reports a USA official saying based on past intelligence, "not much happens in [Russia] without the blessing of the government".

And it is trying to galvanize the Arab world to assume greater responsibility in fighting IS, something governments won't be able to do if they're consumed with internal spats.

Al Qassemi, who previously wrote a column describing steps Qatar would need to take, said that the crisis will only escalate if Doha doesn't back down. Lindsey Graham, summing up America's strategic conundrum.

Some 10,000 military personnel are stationed at the Al-Udeid airbase.

The Pentagon cited no immediate effects from the instability on its operations.

"The US and its coalition, we're grateful to the Qataris for their longstanding support of our presence there in that nation".

The Gulf countries have ordered their citizens out of Qatar and gave Qataris overseas 14 days to return home.

  • Leroy Wright