Qatar crisis: the latest developments

Led by Saudi Arabia, several states in the Middle East and Africa have severed ties with Qatar since June 5, accusing the gas-rich Gulf state of supporting terrorism and Iran. Qatar denies the allegations.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Newly appointed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (L) kisses the hand of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, June 21, 2017.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and several other Sunni-majority countries have severed relations with Qatar since June 5, accusing the Gulf state of supporting terrorism based on its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and the Taliban. Another point of departure is Qatar’s ties with Iran, with whom it shares one of the world’s biggest gas fields.

Qatar has denied the accusations and called the collective decision "unjustified." Kuwait, Turkey and the US have all urged a political solution as the bloc isolates Qatar using various ad hoc sanctions, including shutting down their airspace to Qataris and blocking import routes.

The dispute began in May, when Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani was reported to have made statements on the state news agency supporting Iran. Doha said the statements were fabricated and disseminated via a hack (read more here). Al Jazeera on June 8 reported a massive cross-platform cyberattack.

Here are the latest developments in the crisis:

June 21, Wednesday

King Salman promotes his son as crown prince

Saudi Arabia's King Salman made his 31-year-old son, Mohammed bin Salman, his successor and removed his nephew Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, as the world's leading oil exporter implements transformational reforms.

A royal decree appointed Mohammed bin Salman crown prince and deputy prime minister. He retains defence, oil and other portfolios. It said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a counterterrorism chief admired in Washington for putting down an Al Qaeda campaign of bombings in 2003-06, was relieved of all positions. 

The royal decree said the decision was endorsed by 31 out of 34 members of the Allegiance Council, made up of senior members of the ruling Al Saud family.

June 20, Tuesday

US State Department 'mystified' by Gulf states

The US State Department said it was "mystified" as Gulf Arab states had not released to the public or Qatar details of the grievances that prompted their boycott of the country, questioning the motives behind the boycott.

"At this point, we are left with one simple question: Were the actions really about their concerns regarding Qatar's alleged support for terrorism or were they about the long-simmering grievances between and among the GCC countries," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, referring to the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.

The State Department said the more time goes by, "the more doubt is raised about the actions taken by Saudi Arabia and the UAE."

Qatar links news agency hack to boycotting countries

Qatar has evidence that the hacking of Qatar's state news agency was linked to countries that have severed ties with Doha, the country’s Attorney General Ali Bin Fetais al Marri said.

"Qatar has evidence that certain iPhones originating from countries laying siege to Qatar were used in the hack," he said in Doha. He did not name the countries.

For more on Tuesday's developments click here.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies