Qatar defiant as crisis grows

A map of Qatar is seen in this picture illustration June 5, 2017.

While the foreign minister said Qatar had not yet been presented with a list of demands by countries which cut off ties with Doha on Monday, he insisted it be solved by peaceful means.

In an interview published by Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa said conditions posed by the four countries for a resolution of the crisis were "crystal clear".

Trump said he had helped to plan the move against Qatar, although a senior administration official told Reuters this week that Washington had had no indication from the Saudis or Emiratis during the visit that they would sever ties with Qatar. "It has to stop supporting terrorist organisations, Sunni or Shiah, and its policy has to be for the benefit of its people".

More pressing than a soccer tournament in five years is the task of keeping Qatar's oil and gas industry humming, and energy companies are stockpiling materials and equipment, two distributors in Doha said, asking not to be identified due to political tensions in the country.

The Kremlin hopes the Qatar affair will not intervene with the struggle against global terrorism.

Qatar said it leads the region in attacking what it called the roots of terrorism, giving young people hope through jobs, educating hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and funding community programmes to challenge extremist agendas.

Despite Tillerson's plea for "no further escalation", Trump's sharp comments were likely to further embolden Saudi Arabia and the others in their bid to isolate Qatar.

Qatar's friends who retain a plausible chance at national leadership, in Libya and Yemen, may have the most to lose from the row.

"This is not about regime change - this is about change of policy, change of approach", Gargash said in Dubai.

Qatar received no notice from the other Arab countries before ties were cut, he said, calling it "a surprise and a shock to us, this act of aggression". In hindsight, the isolation of Qatar by several Arab states, for all its suddenness, is less surprising than one might think. In a tweetstorm, Trump said Mideast leaders he'd met with last month had all "pointed to Qatar" as the source of terrorist financing, waxing optimistically that the isolation of the kingdom might be "the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism".

Tillerson also said the blockade by Qatar's neighbors was "hindering USA military action in the region, and the campaign against ISIS", using an acronym for the Islamic State group.

In stressing the need to take action against Qatar, Trump appeared to undercut Tillerson, who had called on Qatar's neighbors to immediately ease their blockade.

Qatar and Iran already share a gas field in the Persian Gulf.

On Wednesday, the readout of Trump's call to Qatar said he "reiterated" that a united GCC and its partnership with the United States "are critical to defeating terrorism and promoting regional stability". Now that our allies are publicly breaking with the Gulf state, Washington should put pressure on the government in Doha to pick a side.

"No one has given them the right to blockade my country, not to allow cars, or my flights to fly over their countries or my ships to park in their port", the foreign minister said.

"We're seeing a new sort of conflict. where wars are being fought through PR companies", Davidson said. The immediate effect of the crisis was on the country's air travel, which came to a halt after the Gulf neighbors decided not fly their airlines to Qatar.

  • Leroy Wright