Diplomatic Isolation Torments Qatar
Diplomatic crisis has hit Qatar as seven Gulf countries cut relations on Monday with the gas-rich peninsula, accusing it of supporting terrorism.
Reports say the biggest Arab powers like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Libya and the Maldives have all indefinitely severed diplomatic ties with Qatar. The grounds for cutting ties include funding and supporting extremist groups, in particular the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State and al-Qaeda.
The evidence against Qatar included donations from wealthy Qataris to terrorist groups.
However, Qatar denied all the accusations, saying they are “unjustified” and “baseless.”
Qatar is a tiny gas-rich country with a population of 2.4 million people, mostly expats from India, Nepal, Philippines, and Bangladesh.
The After Effect
The announcement of the Gulf allies to cut relations with Qatar took effect immediately, creating havoc for Qatari citizens. It is expected that Qatari nationals are now officially on notice to leave neighboring countries within two weeks after the unprecedented diplomatic freeze.
Following the announcement, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE closed all transport links by air, land and sea. However, the diplomatic freeze directly affected air transportation especially Gulf nations including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). These nations closed their airspace to Qatari planes. Airlines affected by the airspace restrictions include Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates.
The diplomatic freeze caused panic for Qataris as well. Though Qatar is rich in oil, it depends on imports for food supplies. Now, Qataris are hoarding food in anticipation of food shortages.
Talk To Follow?
As the diplomatic crisis continues to torment Qatar, dialogue is set to follow in the coming days. Kuwait has offered to mediate talks, and Qatar said it was open to dialogue.
In an interview with Qatar’s Al Jazeera network, the Qatari foreign minister said Kuwait’s emir would travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for talks.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told Al Jazeera that Qatar was seeking “a dialogue of openness and honesty.”