Deadlock as Qatar embargo marks three-year anniversary

Published June 2, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Agence France-Presse

A bitter feud between Qatar and a Saudi-led alliance drags into a fourth year on Friday with no end in sight.

US President Donald Trump meeting with the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani at the White House on July 9, 2019 (AFP/File / Nicholas Kamm / MANILA BULLETIN)
US President Donald Trump meeting with the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani at the White House on July 9, 2019 (AFP/File / Nicholas Kamm / MANILA BULLETIN)

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia led its Gulf allies the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, along with Egypt, to cut all ties with Qatar, accusing it of backing radical Islamist movements and Iran — a charge denied by Doha.

There were indications of an imminent thaw around the turn of the year, but all overtures have so far come to nothing.

Here is a recap:

– Ultimatum to Doha –

POOL/AFP/File / MANDEL NGAN
Saudi Arabia, under the de facto rule of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, led its Gulf allies the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, along with Egypt, to cut all ties with Qatar
On May 24, 2017, a statement attributed to Qatar’s ruler appears on the state news agency’s website, apparently endorsing Islamist movements and criticising US President Donald Trump.

Qatar says the site has been hacked and that the statement is fake, but it is picked up and published in regional media.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia and its allies abruptly cut all air links, land crossings, direct shipping and diplomatic ties with their neighbour.

Other countries impose their own, lesser sanctions.

A day later, Trump wades in and tweets that during his recent visit to the region a number of Middle East leaders “pointed to Qatar” for allegedly supporting “Radical Ideology”.

Later that month, the Saudi-led coalition issues 13 sweeping demands including the closure of Doha-based Al-Jazeera news network and the shuttering of a Turkish military base in return for lifting their boycott.

They also demand Doha curb its relations with Riyadh’s arch-rival, Iran.

Qatar rejects the demands, calling them “unrealistic” and “not actionable”.

The schism complicates regional travel, divides families and raises costs faced by Qatari businesses.

The anti-Doha alliance doubles down, issuing in late July 2017 a list of 18 allegedly extremist individuals and entities, while demanding Qatar takes action against them. It later expands the list to 90 names.

 
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