Key stories from across the region
between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE showed no signs of abating in June despite efforts to mediate the dispute.
The three Gulf countries, along with a growing list of other Arab nations including Egypt, closed all air, sea and land links with Qatar on June 5 over the country’s alleged links to terrorist groups.
The measures saw the closure of the Saudi border with Qatar and the changing of shipping routes as ports banned vessels travelling to or from Qatar from docking.
However, initial panic buying by Qatari shoppers was short lived as alternative suppliers from Turkey and Iran stepped in with dairy products and fruits and vegetables to compensate for the overnight halting of food imports from other countries. Meanwhile, Qatar-owned news channel
Al Jazeera was taken off the air in the three Gulf countries, access to Qatari news sites was shut off and publications and individuals were warned that expressing sympathy for Qatar would be punished with fines and jail time.
Among the businesses hardest hit by the restrictions initially was state-owned carrier Qatar Airways, which along with all Qatari owned and registered craft, was prevented from using the airspace of its neighbours.
Centre for Aviation estimates released shortly after the measures suggested the carrier was on average operating 25 flights per day to the UAE, 20 to Saudi Arabia and six to Bahrain prior to the suspension.
In the initial days after the ban, the carrier was forced to compensate passengers affected by the flight cancellations and arrange for alternative transportation as aviation authorities in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain cancelled its licenses and closed offices.
Qatar’s efforts to mediate the dispute via UN aviation agency the International Civil Aviation Organisation did not immediately produce results, despite two days of technical talks leaving the carrier to pursue other channels including a YouTube ad campaign.
As the dispute continued, various countries attempted to intervene to negotiate a settlement or take a side.
Turkey’s parliament fast-tracked legislation to allow Turkish troops to be deployed to a base in Qatar on June 7.
Elsewhere, there were mixed messages from the US, where President Donald Trump initially appeared to voice support for the isolationist measures by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain in messages on Twitter.
“They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!” Trump wrote after the diplomatic rift began.
Qatar itself did not appear dissuaded by his words – even if it did seemingly reject his offer to help negotiate an end to the crisis – and signed a previously agreed $ 12bn deal to buy 36 US F-15 fighter jets.
Separately, US secretary of state Rex Tillerson appeared to take a more neutral tone, cancelling a trip to Mexico as part of efforts to end the feud.
Amid these efforts, ambassadors, ministers and representatives from the region postured through interviews with Western news channels and opinion pieces in newspapers.
The UAE’s ambassador to Washington, Yousef Al Otaiba, wrote in the
Wall Street Journal that Western countries should not allow Qatar to invest in landmarks like New York’s Empire State Building and London’s Shard while using the profits to fund terror groups such as Al Qaeda.
Despite the rhetoric, Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al- Ahmad Al- Jaber AlSabah expressed his hope that the crisis could be resolved through dialogue.
In a televised speech marking Ramadan on June 18, the ruler said he hoped the remaining days of the Muslim holy month would create “the atmosphere for resolving unfortunate differences and ending the rift through dialogue and communication” in the Gulf.
But as June came to an end there was little sign his wishes would come to pass, with some commentators suggesting it could be months or even years before a resolution was reached.