On Thursday, June 8, Bahrain announced that anyone showing sympathy for Qatar on social media or any other means of communication could face severe fines and imprisonment. This new policy is one of many decisions taken by the country since June 5 due to a political rift between the Gulf states and Qatar.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, and Egypt all announced bans on air, sea, and land travel to and from Qatar in a series of coordinated statements on June 5. Additionally, Emirates, Etihad, Air Arabia, and FlyDubai airlines announced the indefinite suspension of flights to Qatar starting Tuesday, June 6. The three Gulf states and Egypt gave Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave their territories from June 5. Several prominent Gulf state 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 Egyptian-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 was accused of using Al Jazeera to promote the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011, a move that 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 Bahrain are advised to be discreet regarding personal or proprietary information and to avoid talking about sensitive subjects such as politics and religion while in the country.
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