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Why Did These Seven Countries Cut Diplomatic Ties With Qatar?

They have shut all land, air, and sea access to the country.

Cover image via Fadi Al-Assaad /Reuters

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, and Maldives have cut all diplomatic ties with Qatar, shutting all air, land, and sea access to the country starting today, 5 June

An aerial view of Doha, the capital of Qatar.

Image via Fadi Al-Assaad / Reuters

The seven nations have accused the Arab country of destabilising the region with its suspected support for terrorists groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda.

Qatar has denied all accusations of it having ties with these militant groups and called the move "unjustified" and with "no basis in fact", reported BBC today, 5 June.

Al Jazeera reported that the announcement was made earlier today via the state-run Saudi Press Agency, which called the move "protection of national security" instead.

The announcement also included a statement where it accused Qatar of "harbouring a multitude of terrorist and sectarian groups that aim to create instability in the region".

What does this mean for Qatar and its citizens in these seven countries?

Doha, Qatar.

Image via Asergeev
1. The three Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries - Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and UAE - have given Qatari nationals 14 days to leave their respective countries, while diplomats only have 48 hours to leave the countries, reported The National, the Abu Dhabi government-owned English daily.

2. UAE state news agency, WAM said that Qatari nationals will no longer have access to enter or transit through the UAE and Emiratis are not allowed to travel to or through Qatar anymore.

3. It was also reported that Etihad, Emirates and FlyDubai will suspend all its flights to and from Qatar, starting 6 June.

4. Saudi Arabia said that it's also going to pull out its troops from the war in Yemen.

How did it get to this point?

The issue between these countries and Qatar has been brewing since 2014, but things escalated two weeks ago when the Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain blocked access to 21 websites, including the Qatar-based Al Jazeera for "supporting terrorism" and "publishing lies".

According to Reuters, security forces told them that the news outlets were blocked for either having ties with Sunni Islamist organisation Muslim Brotherhood or for being funded by Qatar.

"A senior security source said 21 websites have been blocked inside Egypt for having content that supports terrorism and extremism as well [as] publishing lies," read a report on Dubai-based news site, Step Feed.

BBC said that reports have surfaced on how wealthy individuals in the emirate and the government have apparently funded Islamist groups in Syria with money and weapons. Sunni-majority country, Saudi Arabia, had also in the past accused Qatar of supporting Shia militants in Bahrain and its ties to Iranian-backed militants in Saudi's eastern province and Bahrain.

What is Qatar's response to this diplomatic row?

"The measures are unjustified and are based on claims and allegations that have no basis in fact," read a statement by Qatar's foreign ministry, adding that the move will "not affect the normal lives of citizens and residents".

"The aim is clear, and it is to impose guardianship on the state. This by itself is a violation of its (Qatar's) sovereignty as a state," it said.

Qatar's stock market plunged and oil prices have gone up since the announcement earlier today.

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