Time­line of Gulf cri­sis

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL - DUBAI:

Here is a re­cap of events since Saudi Ara­bia and sev­eral al­lies broke ties with Qatar, ac­cus­ing it of back­ing ex­trem­ists.

Ties cut

On June 5, Saudi Ara­bia, Bahrain, Egypt, the UAE, Ye­men and the Mal­dives break diplo­matic re­la­tions with Qatar. They ac­cuse it of sup­port­ing “ter­ror­ists” and of be­ing too close to Iran, Saudi Ara­bia’s re­gional ri­val. It is the big­gest diplo­matic cri­sis to hit the re­gion in years. Riyadh and its al­lies close land and mar­itime bor­ders, sus­pend air links and ex­pel Qatari ci­ti­zens. Saudi Ara­bia also closes the Riyadh bureau of Qatari broad­caster AlJazeera. Qatar claims its neigh­bors are pur­su­ing a “pol­icy of dom­i­na­tion and con­trol” and in­sists it will not back down. On June 6, Mau­ri­ta­nia joins the boy­cott and Jor­dan trims its diplo­matic pres­ence in Doha.

‘Cham­pion of ex­trem­ism’

On June 7, the United Arab Emi­rates says the mea­sures against Qatar are “not about regime change” but rather about “change of pol­icy”. The UAE’s state min­is­ter for for­eign af­fairs calls Qatar “the main cham­pion of ex­trem­ism and ter­ror­ism in the re­gion”. On June 9, Saudi Ara­bia and its al­lies pub­lish a list of peo­ple and or­ga­ni­za­tions they ac­cuse of in­volve­ment in “ter­ror­ism” with sup­port from Qatar. Doha calls the ac­cu­sa­tions un­founded.

‘Siege’ and ‘block­ade’

On June 12, Qatar’s for­eign min­is­ter de­nounces sanc­tions against his coun­try as “un­fair” and “il­le­gal”. Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan calls the pun­ish­ment “in­hu­mane and unIs­lamic.” On June 16, a Qatari of­fi­cial ac­cuses Riyadh and its al­lies of lay­ing “siege” to his coun­try. Three days later, the UAE for­eign min­is­ter says a block­ade of Qatar could last “years”. Doha de­mands the “block­ade” lifted be­fore talks on re­solv­ing the stand­off.

Tiller­son weighs in

On June 20, the US State De­part­ment says it is “mys­ti­fied” that Saudi Ara­bia has yet to pro­duce a clear list of de­mands. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump presses Qatar to “im­me­di­ately” stop fi­nanc­ing ter­ror­ism. He dis­cusses the sit­u­a­tion with Saudi Ara­bia’s new crown prince, Mo­hammed bin Sal­man. But Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son speaks to both sides of the dis­pute. Tiller­son says Saudi Ara­bia is set to present Qatar with a list of de­mands, which he hopes “will be rea­son­able and ac­tion­able.” That comes days af­ter the Pen­tagon, which main­tains a huge air­base in Qatar, agrees to sell Doha $12 bil­lion worth of F-15 fighter jets.

Ul­ti­ma­tum

On June 22, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Ara­bia, and the UAE send a list of 13 de­mands to Qatar, giv­ing Doha 10 days to com­ply. Among the de­mands are shut­ting down Al-Jazeera, curb­ing re­la­tions with Iran and clos­ing a Turk­ish mil­i­tary base in the emi­rate. Qatar says on July 1 that the de­mands were “made to be re­jected.” Trump re­it­er­ates the next day that fi­nanc­ing for ter­ror­ism must stop. On July 3, the ul­ti­ma­tum is pro­longed for 48 hours. The same day, Qatar hands its re­sponse to the Amir of Kuwait, but does not re­veal its con­tents.—AFP

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