Rabat - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and now Yemen and Libya have all severed ties with Qatar.
Rabat – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and now Yemen and Libya have all severed ties with Qatar.
Early Monday morning several middle eastern countries announced that they had cut diplomatic relations with Qatar over alleged support of terrorism. The government of Saudi Arabia issued a statement that accused Qatar’s government of collaborating with “Iranian-backed terrorist groups.”
The other countries that have since followed Saudi Arabia and Bahrain’s lead have also accused Qatar of supporting the Iranian-backed Houthi movement. The coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, that is leading the fight against the Houthi rebels removed Qatar from its alliance because of its support for “al-Qaeda and Daesh, as well as dealing with the rebel militias” according to the Saudi Press Agency.
According to the Emirates news agency, WAM, Abu Dhabi has accused Qatar of “supporting, funding and embracing terrorism, extremism and sectarian organizations.”
Qatar’s relationship with Iran despite pressure from the other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and its support of Islamists across the MENA region are likely at the heart of the divide.
The move to isolate Doha sent tremors through the region and will likely cause further diplomatic and economic fallout. Saudi Arabia announced that all land air and sea links would be closed and airlines, including Emirates and Etihad, have suspended flights. Airspace has also been closed to Qatar airways by the Gulf allies.
Nationals of Qatar living in the UAE were given two weeks to leave. Diplomats were give 48 hours to vacate the country.
“Smear” Campaign in the US
Qatar has called the severing of ties “unjustified” and announced that it continues to fight terrorism. It also reaffirmed its commitment to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), according the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Qatar said it has been the target of a “smear campaign” in recent weeks to tarnish its reputation by associating it with terrorism.
Over the past two months, scores of articles were published in major US news outlets, in which their authors accused Qatar of “supporting terrorism and posing a security threat to its neighbors.” The common denominator of these articles was their call on the US government to reconsider its relations with Qatar and move its military air base from Al Udeid to another Gulf country.
The publication of these articles coincided with the organization of a major conference on the alleged links between Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The conference, which was hosted on May 23 by the Washington-based Foundation for Defense and Democracy (FDD) saw the participation of former high ranking officials, such as former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates.
The speakers singled out Qatar and accused it of not doing enough to fight terrorism.
While all the media reports published recently lashed out at Qatar, a new comprehensive report published on May 31, 2017 by the Washington-based Institute for Gulf Affairs made no mention of any Qatari involvement in supporting terrorism or withholding terrorism-related intelligence from the US administration.