Important milestones in Qatar's history amid Gulf rift
- Author: Carolyn Briggs Jun 08, 2017,
Jun 08, 2017, 15:06
The Qatar diplomatic crisis has prompted a heated debate among worldwide observers, with the most confusing part of the unfolding controversy being that its Gulf neighbors, particularly Saudi Arabia, accusing Doha of sponsoring terrorism. Much to the ire of its neighbors, Qatar's state-funded news network Al Jazeera also seemed to take up the cause of these groups, often championing democracy and dissent in a region ruled by secular autocrats or unaccountable royals.
On the call, he reiterated "the importance of maintaining a united Gulf Cooperation Council to promote regional stability, but never at the expense of eliminating funding for radical extremism or defeating terrorism", the White House said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic relations with Qatar in a coordinated move on Monday. They also cut off food shipments to Qatar, prompting a dash to supermarkets for residents - although for now it seems that Doha has the economic resources to weather the storm in the short-term. The countries also said they would eject Qatar's diplomats.
Still, the minister struck a defiant tone, rejecting those "trying to impose their will on Qatar or intervene in its internal affairs".
The UAE said on Tuesday that it would consider reestablishing ties, but only after it was provided with a "guaranteed roadmap to rebuild confidence after our covenants were broken".
Turkey's president is voicing support for Qatar in its dispute with Saudi Arabia and other nations, saying no one will benefit from the policy of isolating the oil-rich nation.
President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to predict that the isolation of tiny Qatar by its neighboring Gulf countries just might be "the beginning of the end" of terrorism. If that happens, we may find ourselves looking for another military base, or in the middle of a hot war between Qatar and the other Sunni nations.
On June 5th, 2017, it adds, "Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain announced further restrictions on travel and residence affecting Qatari nationals". The countries closed land, air and sea passage to all vessels and vehicles coming from or going to Qatar.
Trump spoke by telephone with Saudi Arabia's ruler King Salman later on Tuesday in an exchange of notably different tone from the U.S. president's earlier remarks on Twitter.
A Pentagon spokesman said the crisis has had "no impact on our operations in Qatar or with regards to airspace permission around it". Qatar expressed regret over this decision calling it groundless.
Qatar is also a major regional diplomatic player and global investor and is set to host the 2022 World Cup. Qatar vehemently denies such support. The Qataris were also accused of backing Yemen's Houthi rebels, a startling claim given that Qatar, until the day before, was part of the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis, who are loosely backed by Iran.
Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies may have felt emboldened by Trump's visit to Riyadh, which saw the new president clearly align United States interests with Riyadh and lash out at Iran.