U.S. seen trying to calm waters between Qatar and Saudi Arabia

Nick Mcbride
June 6, 2017

Qatari diplomats were given 48 hours to leave their posts in Bahrain, while Qatari citizens were allotted two weeks to depart Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates began withdrawing their diplomatic staff from Qatar and regional airlines announced they would suspend service to its capital, Doha.

According to Thomas Jäger, professor of global politics and foreign policy at Cologne University, current actions of the Arab countries should be understood in the context of US President's recent speech about Islam.

Iran is the main regional rival of Saudi Arabia, which hosted the Arab Islamic summit where both Saudi King Salman and US President Donald Trump attacked Tehran for inciting unrest in the Middle East.

Qatar said it was facing a campaign aimed at weakening it, denying it was interfering in the affairs of other countries. One resident, Mohamed Hasehm, told media: "Cutting relations is a must because Qatar, Turkey and Iran support the terrorism that we face".

Following the hacking on Tuesday, comments falsely attributed to Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, were broadcast in Qatar.

In an abrupt and surprising move, the five Arab states not only suspended diplomatic relations, as they have in the past, but also cut off land, air, and sea travel to and from Qatar. "Most of this speech he made in Riyadh before leaders and heads of governments of Muslim countries was dedicated to financing of terrorism".

"We need to look into the maturity of those deposits but if they're short-term deposits, this could expose the banks rapidly to reduced confidence from GCC institutions", he said.

However the crisis is resolved, if at all, Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in Sydney, after talks with their Australian counterparts, that it would not undermine the fight against the Islamic State. Qatar is host to the largest US air base in the Middle East at Al Udeid, a staging ground for USA -led strikes on the Islamic State militant group that has seized parts of Syria and Iraq.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow hopes that the diplomatic row will not affect "the common determination and resolve" in the joint fight against "international terrorism".

Qatar, home to about 10,000 USA troops and the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, criticized the move as a "violation of its sovereignty".

Oil prices rose after the four countries said they would cut ties with Qatar, which is the biggest supplier of liquefied natural gas and a major seller of condensate - a low-density liquid fuel and refining product derived from natural gas.

Sushma Swaraj, India's foreign minister, said the moves against Qatar would not impact New Delhi's ties with Doha.

Gulf states have long accused Qatar of supporting extremist groups, in particular the Muslim Brotherhood.

FlightRadar24, a popular airplane tracking website, said Qatar Airway flights already had started to be affected. The Qatar Stock Exchange fell more than 7 percent in trading Monday.

Other reports by VgToday

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