The Gulf Crisis: Roots and Implications

Marwan KABALAN
11 August 2017
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On May 24, 2017, UAE and Saudi media published statements attributed to the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, indicating a major break with GCC policies. It emerged that hackers had seized the website of the Qatar News Agency (QANA) and planted the misattributed statements, purportedly delivered by Sheikh Tamim during a national service graduation ceremony the previous day. These allegations triggered a two-week long frenzied media campaign against Qatar. The crisis escalated afterwards wherein Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt announced on June 5 that they have decided to severe their diplomatic ties with Qatar. The four countries also imposed a full blockade on Qatar, covering its (single) land border with Saudi Arabia as well as the country’s air and seaports. This extended to transit travel across the region, with all planes travelling to and from Qatar prevented from landing in Saudi, Emirati or Egyptian airports. Qatari diplomats were given 48 hours to leave the blockading countries while other Qatari nationals were allowed two weeks to leave.

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