Qatar crisis: what you need to know


Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also called for dialogue and negotiation among members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to ease the unprecedented diplomatic crisis that has erupted after some of the countries severed diplomatic relations with Qatar over individual national security concerns, Anadolu news agency reported.

Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen, on Monday cut ties with Qatar over its support of militant groups aligned with Iran, sparking a major diplomatic crisis in the Middle East as the nations began pulling out diplomatic staffs. Airlines also suspended flights into and out of Doha, the capital of Qatar.

Saudi Arabia and other Arab powers severed diplomatic ties Monday with Qatar and moved to isolate the energy-rich nation that is home to a major USA military base, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups and backing Iran.

Qatar long has denied funding extremists, though Western officials have accused it of allowing or even encouraging funding of Sunni extremists like al-Qaida's branch in Syria, once known as the Nusra Front.

Qatar blamed Egypt for coordinating the severance of ties and said the other countries' goal is "the imposition of guardianship over the State".

Now there are fears the shutting down of all land, sea and air links will trigger supply shortages to Qatar - a nation that is located on the Gulf peninsular and relies heavily on its only land border with Saudi Arabia to access food.

A Times of India report quoted that Qatar Airways is one of the most popular airlines for Indians travelling overseas.

"The measures are unjustified and are based on false and baseless claims", Qatar said in response to Monday's announcement.

David Wech, managing director of Vienna-based consultancy JBC Energy, agreed: "We do not see too much cause for concern at this point regarding potential risk to the OPEC-led supply accord now in effect".

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If the UAE and Bahrain rescind their open skies commitments, Qatar Airways would be effectively locked out of being able to fly out of Doha.

Actually, for years now, officials in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have been angry over Qatar's rogue, activist foreign policy.

" The dispute comes less than a month after USA president Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia and called for a united Muslim front against extremism".

The Gulf states and Egypt banned all flights to and from Qatar and ordered Qatari citizens to leave within 14 days.

In the near term, US officials are saying the dispute between the Gulf states and Qatar will not have a significant impact on the fight against the Islamic State. The countries are generally more comfortable with the the role of coordinator, Goldenberg said.

Saudi Arabia's central bank advised banks in the kingdom not to trade with Qatari banks in Qatari riyals, the sources said.

As David notes, "the biggest US air base in the Middle East is in Qatar, while the Navy's fifth fleet is based in Bahrain".

Qatar, which has a population of 2.5 million people, is largely dependent on imports of foodstuffs to meet its needs.

Qatar Airways was expecting record profits by June 2017, according to CEO Al Baker's comments at Arabian Travel Market exhibition in April.