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