Muslim world faces Qatari crisis as Saudi led group severs ties with Doha

Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, at military graduation ceremony on May 31.

Srinagar: In a major development that will hamper the prospects of Muslim world, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have severed their ties with Qatar on Monday.

The Arab nations accused Qatar of supporting “terrorism”.

It is being seen as an unprecedented breach between the most powerful members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

A peninsular nation, Qatar shares its border with only Saudi Arabia which has already ordered its closure. The centre of Islamic world has also asked its “brothers and neighbours to do the same”.

The move, seen as well coordinated, dramatically escalates a dispute over Qatar’s support to the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s oldest Islamist movement.

The four pre-dominantly Muslim nations have also leveled accusations against lone Qatar that it clandestinely supports the region’s arch rival, Iran.

The three Gulf states have already announced the closure of transport ties with Qatar and gave Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave their countries.

Qatar has been stopped from using air space while Abu Dhabi based Eittihad airlines have cancelled flights to Doha from Tuesday morning.

Saudi Arabia has also expelled Qatar from armed coalition fighting in Yemen.

The move is seen as a fall out of e-mail hacking of UAE’s ambassador to the United States.

A split between Doha and its closest allies can have repercussions around the Middle East where Gulf states have used their financial and political power to influence events in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Qatar is also due to host the World Cup in 2022.

In a statement on state news agency SPA, oil giant Saudi Arabia accused Qatar of backing militant groups and spreading their violent ideology, in an apparent reference to Qatar’s influential state-owned satellite channel Al Jazeera.

“(Qatar) embraces multiple terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at disturbing stability in the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS (Islamic State) and Al-Qaeda, and promotes the message and schemes of these groups through their media constantly,” SPA said.

There was no immediate Qatari reaction to the announcements, and Qatari officials could not be reached for comment, but it has denied supporting terrorism or Iran in the past.

Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous nation, said on its state news agency that Qatar’s policy “threatens Arab national security and sows the seeds of strife and division within Arab societies according to a deliberate plan aimed at the unity and interests of the Arab nation.”

Bahrain’s Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a statement saying it would withdraw its diplomatic mission from the Qatari capital of Doha within 48 hours.

The statement further said that all Qatari diplomats should leave Bahrain within the same period.

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.

Observers believe that the move by four Arab nations will severely impact life of Qatari residents.

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