Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates all announced they would withdraw their diplomatic staff from Qatar, which is the home of a major U.S. military base used for the air efforts against ISIS.
Saudi Arabia likewise said Qatari soldiers would be pulled from the ongoing civil war in Yemen.
All the nations also stated they prepared to cut air and sea traffic. Saudi Arabia stated it also would close its land border with Qatar, efficiently cutting off the country from the rest of the Arabian Peninsula.
Qatar had appeared unperturbed by the growing stress. On May 27, Qatar’s ruling emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, called Iranian President Hasan Rouhani to congratulate him on his re-election. The call was a clear, public defense of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to require Qatar to fall in line versus the Shiite-ruled country, which the Sunni kingdom views as its No. 1 enemy and a risk to regional stability.
Qatar shares a massive offshore gas field with the Islamic Republic.
Saudi Arabia said it made the choice to cut diplomatic ties due to Qatar’s “embrace of various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilizing the region” consisting of the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida, the Islamic State group and groups supported by Iran in the kingdom’s restive eastern province of Qatif.
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry accused Qatar of taking an “antagonist approach” towards Egypt and stated “all attempts to stop it from supporting terrorist groups failed.”
The tiny island nation of 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.
Qatar stated later Monday there was “no legitimate justification” for the Arab nations to cut ties.
The crisis comes after U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia for a summit with Arab leaders. Since that the meeting, discontent in the area has grown.
At that Saudi conference, Trump met with Qatar’s ruling emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
“We are friends, we’ve been friends now for a long time, haven’t we?” Trump asked at the meeting. “Our relationship is extremely good.”
Adapted from Fox News