Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates as well as Egypt and a number of other Arab nations cut ties with Qatar on Monday, over accusations it supports terrorism, in an unprecedented regional spat that has brewed since comments were falsely attributed to Doha’s emir two weeks ago.
A media campaign, which appears to have been co-ordinated by authorities at the highest levels, has been building against Qatar since its state media was hacked and bogus statements published.
Despite Qatar’s rejection of the allegations, neighbouring Gulf states have imposed a round of measures to put pressure on Doha:
Immediately cutting diplomatic ties with Doha, with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates ordering Qatari diplomats to leave within 48 hours.
This is a first since 2014, when Gulf countries recalled their ambassadors from Doha, ostensibly over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
Closing air space and maritime territories in the three countries to Qatari flights and shipments, and suspending air and sea links with Doha within 24 hours.
UAE carriers Emirates, Etihad, flydubai and Air Arabia, as well as Saudi Airlines, have said they will halt flights to and from Doha starting from Tuesday morning.
The three Gulf states have banned their citizens from travelling to Qatar.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have also ordered Qatari citizens – visitors and residents – to leave within 14 days.
This measure goes against a Gulf Cooperation Council agreement on equal rights of movement and residency for all citizens of its member states.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar are all members of the GCC.
Saudi Arabia has closed its border with Qatar, effectively blocking food and other supplies exported by land to Qatar.
Qatari pilgrims will still be allowed travel to Saudi Arabia to visit Islam’s holiest sites, but they will be the only Qataris allowed in.
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