Rift in the Gulf

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt on Monday cut ties with Qatar, accusing the country of supporting extremism.

A poster of the Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

"Investors must keep an eye on fundamentals", said William Jackson, a London-based emerging-markets analyst at Capital Economics Ltd. "Qatar's still got enormous foreign currency savings, its debt level is relatively low and the authorities have plenty of scope to support the currency".

United States intelligence officials believe Russian hackers planted a false news story that led Saudi Arabia and several allies to sever relations with Qatar, prompting a diplomatic crisis, CNN reported on Tuesday (June 7). After "examining the cause" of the crisis, the Jordanian government also chose to revoke licenses for the Doha-based broadcaster Al Jazeera.

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.

Qatar is also a major regional diplomatic player and global investor and is set to host the World Cup, football's biggest tournament, in 2022.

"The land borders and airspace of those nations was closed to Qatari planes".

In this Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014 file photo, Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani attends a Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Doha, Qatar.

Both the leaders discussed ways to prevent terror financing and eliminate extremism by any country in region, the White House said yesterday.

Another voice of support for Qatar came from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who criticized the sanctions and vowed to maintain and develop ties with Doha.

The Financial Times said it was told by commanders of militant groups and government officials in the region that Doha handed over the money in a transaction that secured the release of 26 members of a Qatari falconry party in southern Iraq, some of whom were members of Qatar's royal family.

The official says Qatar has made progress in stopping financing for terrorist groups but has more work to do.

French President Emmanuel Macron called for Gulf unity, saying he was ready to back "all initiatives to encourage calm". Qatar plans to construct nine new medium and large-sized football stadiums in the country to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

A total of 27 flights from Dubai to Doha had been scheduled for Tuesday and the Dubai Airports website showed all flights to Doha had been cancelled.

Qatar, one of the richest countries in the world, has used that wealth in recent years to play an outsize role in regional politics.

In reality, neither side in this battle among dictatorships deserves full US support.

Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis tried to quell concerns about the future of Al-Udeid, stressing there had been "no impact" on U.S. military operations in Qatar "and we don't anticipate there will be". According to one regional expert, the sudden challenge by other Arab nations is an attempt to "bring Qatar to heel". But Gulf Arab neighbors and Egypt have always been irked by its maverick stances and support for the Muslim Brotherhood, which they regard as a political enemy.

It also accused Al-Jazeera of promoting "terrorist groups" and supporting rebels in Yemen. "Qatari visitors and even permanent residents were given just two weeks to leave Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE, while their own citizens were banned from traveling to Qatar". Despite its place in the GCC, Qatar has attempted to craft for itself an independent foreign policy.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is another Islamist group that became politically active.

  • Zachary Reyes