No substantial progress has been made five days after the Saudi-led bloc of Arab states - including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Egypt - presented Qatari officials with a list of demands in exchange for the normalization of diplomatic relations. Qatar is still under “blockade” by the aforementioned Gulf states as of Wednesday, June 28. The United States has proposed to mediate the diplomatic crisis while Qatar has condemned the demands, considering them as baseless claims. Qatar’s foreign minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has rejected the list. The Saudi-led bloc maintains that the demands are non-negotiable. Iran and Turkey have both strengthened ties with Qatar by sending food and other goods to the country. Moreover, Turkey deployed troops in Qatar and conducted joint military exercises.
A 13-point list of demands announced on June 23 included closing the Al Jazeera media network, removing the Turkish military base in Qatar, curtailing ties with Iran, and severing all alleged ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah, among others. The bloc gave Qatar ten days to comply with the demands and has threatened economic sanctions.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, and Egypt announced that they banned air, sea, and land travel to and from Qatar in a series of coordinated statements in early June. The airlines Emirates, Etihad, Air Arabia, and FlyDubai all announced the indefinite suspension of flights to Qatar starting June 6. The three Gulf states and Egypt gave Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave their territories. Several prominent Gulf and Egyptian businessmen have urged investors to withdraw from Qatar, and the price of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), of which Qatar is a major supplier, has fallen sharply. Qatar was also expelled from the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.
Gulf Arab states, Egypt, and Jordan have long resented Qatar's alleged support for groups such as the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic State (IS), among others. Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused the country of broadcasting militant ideology, a reference to the Al Jazeera media outlet. Qatar allegedly used Al Jazeera to promote the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011, a move which threatened many of the Gulf monarchies and fueled the overthrow of the then Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak.
Qatar has also been heavily criticized for forging a relationship with Iran, considered by many Arab countries as a dangerous enemy.
Individuals in the region are advised to monitor the situation and contact their respective diplomatic missions for further information regarding security and transit to and from Qatar.
Copyright and Disclaimer