Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates close their borders and break o0ff diplomatic relations with Doha. Its policies and support for extremist groups are a source of instability for the Middle East. Over the past few weeks, supposed statements about Iran by Qatari Emir had fueled tension.
Doha (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (EAU) broke diplomatic relations off with Qatar this weekend, claiming that its policies are likely to "destabilize" the Middle East region. The Arab front accuses the former ally of "supporting terrorist groups", including the Muslim Brotherhoods in power in Egypt in the recent past.
The Saudi press agency SPA announces that Riyadh has closed its borders by cutting all forms of communication - land, sea and air - with Qatar. Official sources of the kingdom underline that the purpose of the measure is to "protect national security" from the danger of "terrorism and extremism".
Egypt has also closed the airspace and harbors to the Qatari fleet. The United Arab Emirates has granted 48 hours to Qatar diplomats to leave the country. Abu Dhabi has also joined the front against Doha, guilty of "supporting, funding and embracing terrorism, extremism and confessional organizations."
Finally, Bahrain is pointing his finger at Qatar, which it accuses of fueling internal tensions by immersing itself in the affairs of the country [recent theater of clashes and riots].
The Saudi Arab coalition fought by Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen has decreed Qatar's expulsion from the alliance. Doha would promote policies that "strengthen terrorism" and support militia groups "including al Qaeda and Daesh" [Arabic acronym for the Islamic State].
So far Qatar has not officially responded to the moves of its long time (former) regional allies who had already signaled their disapproval following alleged statements about Iran appearing on official Doha media attributed to Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad al-Thani . The leaders of the emirate, a nation rich in gas called to host the 2022 soccer world cup, flagged the statements as false, denouncing them as a "shameful cybercrime".
One of the main points of conflict between Qatar and the other Gulf nations, is Doha's support of the Muslim Brotherhood, a Muslim Sunni Islamic movement outlawed both in Saudi Arabia and in the United Arab Emirates. Qatar was the main supporter of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, close to the Brotherhood, in the year (June 2012 to July 2013) in which he served as Egyptian President (the first elected following elections).
The alliance between Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood had already provoked tensions with the Gulf nations, which in 2014 withdrew their diplomatic representatives for the first time. Doha has always rejected allegations of funding terrorist groups, though it remains the main lender to Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip. Several Western Chancellors also linked Qatar's name to extremist groups active in Syria, such as the former Nusra Front linked to the Al Qaeda network.