USA’s Gulf allies suddenly cut diplomatic ties with Qatar

Note that Qatar is a USA ally, and so are all the other Gulf nations that are cutting ties with Qatar.

Note that the USA has a military base in Qatar.

If the USA drives Qatar into the arms of Iran, that doesn’t help the USA.

Five Arab nations cut diplomatic ties to Qatar Monday, further deepening a rift among Gulf Arab nations over that country’s support for Islamist groups.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen all announced they would withdraw their diplomatic staff from Qatar, a gas-rich nation that will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Saudi Arabia also said Qatari troops would be pulled from the ongoing war in Yemen.
All the nations also said they planned to cut air and sea traffic to the peninsular country.
Hours later, Qatar slammed the decisions, saying they were “unjustified” and aimed to put Doha under political “guardianship”.
“The measures are unjustified and are based on false and baseless claims,” the Qatari foreign ministry said.

“The aim is clear, and it is to impose guardianship on the state. This by itself is a violation of its (Qatar’s) sovereignty as a state,” it added.
Both China and the United States said they hoped the countries could work out their differences.
“China hopes relevant nations can properly resolve their differences through dialogue and consultation, maintain unity and work together to promote regional peace and stability,”
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said on Monday.

It wasn’t immediately clear how the diplomatic spat would affect Qatar Airways, one of the region’s major long-haul carriers.
The airline and Qatari government officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Etihad, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier, said it would suspend flights to Qatar “until further notice.” Emirates, the Dubai-based carrier, announced it too would suspend Qatar flights starting Tuesday.
Qatar is also home to the sprawling al-Udeid Air Base, which is home to the US military’s Central Command and some 10,000 American troops.

It wasn’t clear if the decision would affect American military operations. Central Command officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In Sydney, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he didn’t believe the diplomatic crisis would affect the war against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
“I think what we’re witnessing is a growing list of disbelief in the countries for some time, and they’ve bubbled up to take action in order to have those differences addressed,” Tillerson said.
“We certainly would encourage the parties to sit down together and address these differences.”
Bahrain blamed Qatar’s “media incitement, support for armed terrorist activities and funding linked to Iranian groups to carry out sabotage and spreading chaos in Bahrain” for its decision. Other countries issued similar statements.
A Saudi official cited by SPA said Riyadh decided to “sever diplomatic and consular ties with Qatar, and to close all land, sea and aviation ports.”
The “decisive” measure was due to the “gross violations committed by authorities in Qatar over the past years,” the Saudi statement said.

A Saudi-led coalition which for more than two years has been fighting Iran-backed rebels in Yemen separately announced Qatar was no longer welcome in the alliance.
In a statement, the coalition accused Qatar of “support to (terrorist) organisations in Yemen”.
Qatar had assigned warplanes to the coalition conducting air strikes against Yemen’s Huthi rebels.
Yemen’s internationally recognised government also cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of working with its enemies in the Iran-aligned Huthi movement, state news agency Saba reported.
The decision to cut ties comes after Qatar alleged in late May that hackers took over the site of its state-run news agency and published what it called fake comments from its ruling emir about Iran and Israel. Its Gulf Arab neighbours responded with anger, blocking Qatari-based media, including the Doha-based satellite news network Al-Jazeera.
Qatar long has faced criticism from its Arab neighbours over its support of Islamists. The chief worry among them is the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist political group outlawed by both Saudi Arabia and the UAE as it challenges the nations’ hereditary rule.

Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia fell out with Qatar over its backing of then-Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi, a Brotherhood member.
In March 2014, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar over the rift. Eight months later, they returned their ambassadors as Qatar forced some Brotherhood members to leave the country and quieted others. However, the 2014 crisis did not see a land and sea blockade as threatened now.
In the time since, Qatar repeatedly and strongly denied it funds extremist groups. However, it remains a key financial patron of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and has been the home of exiled Hamas official Khaled Mashaal since 2012.
US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani in the Saudi capital Riyadh. Photo: AFP
Western officials also have accused Qatar of allowing or even encouraging funding of Sunni extremists like al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, once known as the Nusra Front.
The crisis also comes after US President Donald Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia for a summit with Arab leaders. Since the meeting, unrest in the region has grown.
At that Saudi conference, Trump met with Qatar’s ruling emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
“We are friends, we’ve been friends now for a long time, haven’t we?” Trump asked at the meeting. “Our relationship is extremely good.”
Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, Reuters

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