Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt Cut Ties with Qatar
The five Arab countries Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates have broken ties with Qatar. The countries say that Qatar supports terrorism and extremism. Correspondent Olaf Koens explains.
That Saudi Arabia neighbor Qatar accuses of contacts with terrorists is, of course, a classic example of the pot that blames the boiler that he sees black. Both countries support all kinds of terrorist organizations, but not always the same.
Meanwhile, this conflict is about Iran and Saudi Arabia. Iran and Saudi Arabia want more power throughout the Middle East. Following the visit of US President Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia, the country has won self-confidence.
Both Trump and Saudi leaders are seeing a great threat in Iran, a threat to world peace. Qatar is different. Qatar has good relations with Iran, as both countries share a giant gas field. In the power game between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Qatar seems to be victimized.
Qatar had a unique role in the Gulf and the wider Arab world. There were many different movements in the country. The Americans have an important military base, but also a terrorist movement as the Taliban has an office.
Qatar supports a terrorist organization like Hamas, but Israeli diplomats are also being identified in the country. The largest enemies in the world had free play in Qatar, which as a country is also regularly mediated in the conflict in the Middle East. This role is now under pressure.
Qatar Airways is a major airline and will be forced to stop flights to Saudi Arabia, and possibly also to the countries that support Saudi Arabia: Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates. Again, the ties with Qatar are broken, which means that Emirates and Etihad are no longer flying to Doha.
Calculate delays and chaos with connecting flights.
In the short term, Qatar will be in trouble importing food. The country has only one border, with Saudi Arabia. That will be closed. And because Qatar itself produces almost nothing, food needs to be flown. Money is not the problem. Qatar is – per capita – the richest country in the world.