Saudi ally Bahrain demands Qatar distance itself from Iran

The dispute between Qatar and its neighbours was triggered by a purported hack of Qatar's state-run news agency that attributed what Doha said was a "false statement" to the country's emir Tamim bin Hamad al Thani.

A preliminary investigation into the incident confirmed that Qatar's state news agency was indeed hacked, the Qatari foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

The call with Qatar's emir showed Trump trying to personally involve himself in resolving the conflict.

Confidence Qatar's state finances is tumbling in the wake of a diplomatic row that has seen neighbouring states such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain cut ties.

Some 8,000 U.S. military personnel are stationed at al Udeid in Qatar, the largest USA air base in the Middle East and a staging ground for US-led strikes on the Islamic State militant group that has seized parts of Syria and Iraq.

To outside observers, it was unclear whether the Qatar News Agency had indeed been hacked or whether an editor had published remarks which the emir later regretted saying.

Speaking in a rare interview, Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told The Associated Press that Qatar has "chosen to ride the tiger of extremism and terrorism" and now needed to pay the price.

For Riyadh, trouble was also evident elsewhere.

The forces had been stationed in southern Saudi Arabia, the report said, reinforcing Saudi defences against Houthi attacks. "The Saudis had had it with Qatar".

The UAE had always been angered by Qatar's support for Islamists in the Gulf and in Libya, and Saudi Arabia and Egypt view the Muslim Brotherhood as a threat.

It warned it could further lower Qatar's rating "if additional or more severe restrictions from either Saudi Arabia and the group of states, or from additional trade partners, are announced".

But Erdogan on Tuesday threw caution to the wind in criticising the sanctions imposed on Doha, saying Turkey meant to develop ties with Qatar whose emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani was one of the first leaders to support Erdogan after last July's failed coup.

"Most recently, the Qatari government has become not just a supporter but also an advocate for Iran, a regime that exports and funds terrorism throughout the region, destabilizing countries including Libya, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and Syria", said Al-JAber. "The US and its coalition, we're grateful to the Qataris for their longstanding support of our presence there in that nation. It was something that was ready to explode".

On Monday, Qatar on its official Twitter account stated that Saudi Arabian Airlines. Iran's Shi'ite-led government and Saudi Arabia's Sunni rulers compete for influence in the region and Jean-Marc Rickli, a Geneva-based risk analyst, called that a "diplomatic mistake (which) Saudi Arabia and the UAE jumped on".

Turkey - which has sided with Qatar against Saudi Arabia in supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hamas militants who rule the Gaza Strip - criticized the squeeze on the emirate and offered to try to mend the rift through dialogue.

At dawn on Monday, those governments and Bahrain made a series of rapid fire announcements, revealing the move's careful orchestration and pre-planning.

Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Egypt and Bahrain banned sea and air travel to and from Qatar. "Our relationship with the United States speaks for itself".

Qatar is on a peninsula, sharing one land border with Saudi Arabia - which is now closed - and otherwise surrounded by the Gulf. A day earlier, Trump discussed the crisis with King Salman of Saudi Arabia, which is leading the anti-Qatar campaign. At the onset of the crisis he noted, "We certainly would encourage the parties to sit down together and address these differences....if there's any role that we can play in terms of helping them address those, we think it is important that the GCC remain unified".

  • Leroy Wright