Four Arab countries have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on early Monday morning, June 5, further growing a rift amongst Gulf Arab sovereign states over that country’s support for Islamist groups.
Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all announced that would withdraw their diplomatic workforce from Qatar, a gas-rich country that will schedule to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The Saudi Arabia also said Qatari armed forces would be pulled out from the ongoing war in Yemen.
All the aforementioned Arab countries also said they planned to unanimously cut both air and sea traffic to the peninsular nation. It wasn’t immediately clear how that would affect the state-owned flag carrier Qatar Airways, one of the region’s major long-haul carriers. The Qatar Airways and Qatari government officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Qatar is also home to the sprawling al-Udeid Air Base, which is home to the United States military’s Central Command and some 10,000 American troops. It wasn’t clear if the decision would affect the American military operations. The U.S. Central Command officials did not also respond to a request for comment.
The Bahrain blamed Qatar’s “media provocation, support for armed terrorist activities and funding linked to Iranian groups to carry out sabotage and spreading havoc in Bahrain” for its decision. Other three Arab nations issued similar press statements.
Their respective decision comes after Qatar alleged in late May that hackers took over the website of its state-run news agency and published what it called fake comments from its ruling emir about Iran and Israel. Its Gulf Arab neighboring countries responded with rage, blocking the Qatari-based media, including the Doha-based satellite news network Al-Jazeera.
Those four Gulf nations led by Saudi Arabia fell out with Qatar over its backing of then-Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, a Brotherhood member. Back in March 2014, the Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain pulled out their ambassadors from Qatar over the rift. However, eight months later, they returned their ambassadors as Qatar forced some Brotherhood members to leave the nation and hushed others. However, the 2014 Gulf crisis did not see a land and sea blockade as Qatar threatened now.