International

Key developments in Qatar-Gulf crisis

Here are the main developments that led to the unprecedented crisis between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours:

Smear campaign

On May 20, 2017, Qatar says it is the victim of a smear campaign and rejects accusations of it supporting “terrorism” ahead of a landmark visit by US President Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia.

Trump and Saudi King Salman sign a “strategic vision” agreement to intensify ties in defence, economics and other areas.

In a speech in Riyadh on May 21, Trump urges the international community to isolate Iran and calls on Arab and Muslim states to freeze channels of funding for groups including the Sunni Muslim Islamic State militants and Lebanon’s movement Hezbollah.

The emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, meets Trump on the sidelines of a summit in Riyadh.

Suspected hacking

On May 24, Qatar says its national news agency has been hacked by unknown parties who have posted “false” statements attributed to the emir, in which he speaks favourably of Iran, Palestinian movement Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah.

Qatar denies all the comments and says it is investigating the alleged hacking, but Gulf media continue to run the statements.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani says Doha is the victim of a “hostile media campaign”, particularly in the United States.

Read More: Israel welcomes Arab states decision to cut ties with Qatar

On May 28, United Arab Emirates state minister for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash says Gulf countries are going through a new “deep crisis”, urging Qatar without naming it to “change its attitude and re-establish confidence and transparency”.

On June 2, a Qatari official says FBI agents are helping Doha in investigating the source of the alleged hacking.

Qatar boycotted

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, the UAE, Yemen and the Maldives cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of backing terrorism.

It is accused of backing radical Islamist groups and of not taking a sufficient distance from Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional rival.

The break-off in relations goes hand in hand with economic measures, such as closure of land and maritime borders, suspension of air links and restrictions on movements by Qataris.

Doha residents flock to stock up at supermarkets.

A Saudi-led Arab coalition fighting pro-Iranian Yemeni rebels announces it is ending Qatar’s membership.

Mediation

Turkey calls for dialogue and says it is ready to help defuse the row.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman says the latest developments involving Qatar could herald a broad anti-terror alliance including Israel.

On June 6, Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah travels to Saudi Arabia for talks aimed at resolving the crisis.

Disruptions

Air traffic is disrupted in the Gulf after several large Arab airlines stop flying to and from Qatar.

More than 30 Qatar Airways flights are cancelled to and from Doha.

Trump accuses Qatar

Trump says isolating Qatar could mark the “beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism” and backs Saudi Arabia and its allies. He suggests Qatar is funding extremism.

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