Qatar Airways profits hit $540 million before Gulf crisis

Rashed has only visited Bahrain four times in his life.

Gulf countries announce hotline for mixed Qatari families: The "Al-Jazeera" reports: "Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which have cut ties with Qatar, announced via state media Sunday the creation of hotlines to help families with Qatari members". "The fact that Saudi Arabia closes the border and imposes economic embargo doesn't bother us, since we can source all kinds of food and items". As well as cutting air, sea and land links with Qatar, the countries ordered its citizens to leave within 14 days.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and others accused Qatar of supporting extremist groups, an assertion since backed by US President Donald Trump.

Concerns have been raised about the impact of these measures on people who live in all the countries affected.

Many like Rashed are now facing tough choices.

On Sunday, Qatar said that the 11,000 citizens of those countries that have cut ties will be allowed to stay in the country.

Qatar's National Human Rights Committee dismissed the Saudi initiative to assist the families who face the prospect of being split up through deportation and expulsion as a "face-saving" exercise.

Nearly 6,500 Qatari men and women are married to partners from those three countries.

But a Qatari diplomat said the crisis reflected a lack of U.S. leadership. A lot of people were forced to leave their spouses and children to return to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Qatar has called the accusations baseless and described the measures as a "siege" harmful to ordinary people there.

The rift has disrupted travel, separated families, severed commercial links, and sown confusion among banks and businesses while deepening divisions between their respective allies fighting in wars and political struggles from Libya to Yemen.

The humanitarian aspect of the row has caught the attention of those outside the Gulf.

"The Arab dispute came after the Qatari emir's reported remarks on Iran's helpful role in the region sparked a diplomatic storm with Saudi Arabia and its allies even though Doha later said its state media, which published the statements, had been hacked".

The "Washington Post" quoted the Amnesty International as viewing: "These drastic measures are already having a brutal effect, splitting children from parents and husbands from wives", said James Lynch, deputy director of the group's global issues program.

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain also set up similar services on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Qatar has paid $2.5 million to the law firm of a former attorney-general under USA president George W. Bush to audit its efforts at stopping terrorism funding, a matter at the heart of the Gulf diplomatic crisis that erupted last week.

  • Leroy Wright