The countries of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates have all cut diplomatic ties with Qatar–accusing it of destabilizing the region.
The four countries claim that Qatar is supporting terrorist groups which include the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Society of the Muslim Brothers, otherwise known as Muslim Brotherhood, is a transnational Sunni Islamist organization that was founded in Egypt. It is also known to be a religious and political group founded on the belief that Islam is not simply a religion, but a way of life. It advocates a move away from secularism, and a return to the rule of the Qur’an as a basis for healthy families, communities, and states.
While the movement officially rejects the use of violent means in order to secure its goals, there are offshoots of the group that have been linked to attacks in the past. The late Osama bin Laden and other top brass of al-Qaida’s leadership are all members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Saudi state news agency, SPA, has said that Riyadh has closed its borders. In effect, severing land, sea, and air contact with Qatar. SPA cited officials as saying that it was to “protect its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism.”
The country of Egypt has also closed its airspace and ports for all Qatari transportation, as claimed by their foreign ministry.
As for the United Arab Emirates, they have given Qatari diplomats 48 hours to leave the country. Abu Dhabi is accusing Doha of “supporting, funding, and embracing terrorism, extremism, and sectarian organizations”. This statement was garnered from state news agency, WAM. The UAE state airline Etihad Airways said that it would suspend all flights from Doha from 02:45 local time on Tuesday.
Bahrain’s state news agency has said that the country was cutting ties with Qatar as Doha was “shaking the security and stability of Bahrain and meddling in its affairs.”
The Saudi-led Arab coalition fighting Yemen’s Houthi rebels also expelled Qatar from its alliance because of Doha’s “practices that strengthen terrorism” and its support to groups “including al-Qaeda and Daesh [also known as the so-called Islamic State], as well as dealing with the rebel militias”, according to SPA.
Qatar has provided its warplanes to carry out air strikes against the Houthi rebels.
Qatar has so far made no public comments on the latest developments.
The row comes almost two weeks after controversial comments attributed to the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, appeared online. This was the fruit of a recent hack made on Qatar’s state-run news agency.
Qatar’s government categorically denied that the comments, in which the country’s leader expressed support for Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and Israel – while suggesting that US President Donald Trump may not last in power, were ever made.
The government in Doha has dismissed them as fake, attributing the report to a “shameful cybercrime”.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave a statement on Monday while being on state visit in Australia, urging the Gulf states to stay united.
“We certainly would encourage the parties to sit down together and address these differences,” he said in Sydney. “If there’s any role that we can play in terms of helping them address those, we think it is important that the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) remain united.”
Tillerson said despite the impasse, he did not expect it to have “any significant impact, if any impact at all, on the unified fight against terrorism in the region or globally”.
“All of those parties you mentioned have been quite unified in the fight against terrorism and the fight against Daesh, ISIS, and have expressed that most recently in the summit in Riyadh,” he added, using alternative names for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.