Arab powers sever Qatar ties, citing support for militants
Jun 06 2017 by Johnny Bowman
The tensions between Qatar and other Arab countries are not new, but it is part of the battle for Middle Eastern domination between Shiite Iran and the Sunni Arabs of Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The move followed severing of all land, air and sea links with Qatar and vice versa.
The dispute among some of the world's richest countries broke out days after Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia and it wasn't clear if the USA was alerted to the move in advance. It also exerts regional influence by sponsoring the Al Jazeera television network, which has angered the Saudi bloc with its criticism of autocratic governments-except Qatar's-and sympathy for the Muslim Brotherhood, especially in Egypt.
The minister said early Tuesday that Kuwait's ruler had asked Qatar's ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to hold off on giving a speech about the crisis. Qatar hosts the largest USA airbase in the region, which is crucial in the fight against Islamic State group jihadists, and is set to host the 2022 football World Cup.
After OPEC has chose to a further nine-month production cut, Michael Burns, oil and gas partner at Ashurst, commented, "The key question is, once again, how U.S. shale producers respond to any price increase".
Hundreds of Pakistanis were left stranded at Doha airport after Saudi Arabia banned all flights from Qatar Airways into its airspace following the diplomatic disruption in the Middle East.
Qatar and the other Arab states fell out over Doha's alleged support for Islamist militants and Shi'ite Iran - charges Qatar has called baseless.
The economic fallout was already hitting home as Abu Dhabi's state-owned Ethihad Airways, Dubai'sEmirates Airline and budget carriers Flydubai and Air Arabia said they would suspend all flights to and from Doha indefinitely from this morning.
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There was a lot of adrenaline flowing, but some of these guys might not be feeling so spry when they wake up in the morning. Because by acting on a grudge, he undoubtedly placed teammates at much greater risk of being hit in retaliation.
Egypt and the three Gulf countries behind the move to freeze out Qatar accused it of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region. "Flights to Europe will most likely be rerouted through Iran and Turkey".
Peacemaking efforts by the Emir of Kuwait are futile, a commentator from a think tank close to the UAE government said.
Kuwait and Oman did not join fellow members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which also includes Qatar, in cutting ties with Doha.
The foreign minister said daily life and projects in Qatar will not be affected, stressing that Qatar designed its programmes and took such steps in order to independently achieve its vision regardless of any political pressures.
The measures are more severe than during a previous eight-month rift in 2014, when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE withdrew their ambassadors from Doha, again alleging Qatari support for militant groups.
With an estimated $335 billion of assets in its sovereign wealth fund and its gas exports earning billions of dollars every month, Qatar, however, has enough financial power to protect its banks.