UAE says to jail Qatar sympathizers for up to 15 years

The four countries have suspended all flights to and from Qatar, pulled their ambassadors from Doha and ordered Qatari diplomats to leave.

The moves isolating Qatar, which denies aiding terrorists, are disrupting trade in commodities from crude oil to metals and food, and deepening fears of a possible jolt to the global gas market, where the tiny Gulf state is a major player. Kuwait's ruler, who is mediating in the crisis, asked him to postpone a speech to the nation earlier this week to give dialogue efforts a chance. It emboldened Saudi King Salman to "discipline" his unruly neighbour.

Pro-Qatar protests are also planned in Istanbul for Wednesday night.

Sheikh Mohammed said Qatar would not shut down its Al-Jazeera news network, adding: "If anyone thinks they are going to impose anything on my internal affairs or my internal issues, this is not going to happen".

Koseoglu also said there were reports that legislation to deploy Turkish troops to Qatar, first agreed in May, could be fast-tracked through Turkey's parliament on Wednesday night.

US President Donald Trump praised the action against Qatar, but stressed the need for Gulf unity. "Leaders pointed to Qatar - look!"

Turkey is a key ally of Qatar and is setting up a military base in the country, which also hosts the largest American air base in the Middle East.

Trump initially took sides with the Saudi-led group before apparently being nudged into a more even-handed approach when USA defence officials renewed praise of Doha, mindful of the major US military base hosted by Qatar that serves, in part, as a launchpad for strikes on Islamic State insurgents.

"U.S. President Trump's recent giant military contracts which Persian Gulf monarchies raise the risk of a new spiral in arms sales", Gabriel warned in an interview with the Handelsblatt daily to appear on Wednesday.

Responding to questions from lawmakers on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said he expected Gulf Arab states to overcome the crisis given the "strong relations and blood ties" between them.

The article is thought to have served as the catalyst for several Muslim-majority countries, including Saudi Arabia and most Persian Gulf states, to cut their economic and political ties with Qatar this week.

"But you have to be able to tell your friend or your brother when they are doing the right thing and when they are doing the wrong thing", Jubeir said in a joint press conference with Gabriel.

"Egyptians working in Qatar, especially in the media sector, are subject to harassment by the authorities", said a middle-aged Egyptian journalist.

Qatar has said it intends to take legal action against those responsible.

Qatar has an independent streak that has often angered its neighbors, attracting criticism for hosting the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, and supporting Islamist rebels in Syria.

Of the 19 hijackers of planes used in the attacks, 15 came from Saudi Arabia, also the birthplace of al-Qaeda founder and attack mastermind Osama bin Laden.

  • Zachary Reyes