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Arab Nations cut ties with Qatar

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" What will be affected?

Saudi Arabia said Qatari troops would be pulled from its ongoing war in Yemen.

All the nations also said they planned to cut air and sea traffic to the peninsular country.

Qatar is also home to the sprawling al-Udeid air base, which is home to the US military's Central Command and some 10,000 American troops."

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Qatari planes banned from Egyptian and Saudi air space

 Qatar's national carrier may be hit hard by the diplomatic spat

Qatari planes are to be banned from Egyptian and Saudi air space, as a growing diplomatic row in the Gulf threatens large-scale air disruption.

Several countries have cut ties with the tiny Gulf state over accusations of supporting extremism in the region.

Air, land and sea links have been halted to the country from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain.

Qatar denies backing militants, including so-called Islamic State (IS), and said the move was "unjustified".

The unprecedented move is seen as a major split between powerful Gulf countries, who are also close US allies. It comes amid heightened tensions between Gulf countries and their near-neighbour, Iran.

Who has done what?

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE co-ordinated together to set the diplomatic withdrawal into motion, closing all transport ties to Qatar, a tiny gas-rich peninsula.

They have given all Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave their territory. The three countries have also banned their citizens from travelling to Qatar.

The UAE and Egypt have given Qatari diplomats 48 hours to leave both countries.

Saudi Arabia took it one step further by closing down a local office of Qatar's influential Al Jazeera TV channel.

However, the country says it will still allow Qataris to take part in the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

Egypt, Yemen, Libya's eastern-based government and the Maldives later followed suit in severing diplomatic ties.

What about air disruption?

Saudi Arabia's civil aviation authorities have banned Qatari planes from landing or stopping at its airports, as well as crossing Saudi airspace.

Egypt has also closed off its airspace to flights originating from Qatar, and said all flights between the two countries would be halted from 04:00 GMT on Tuesday and "continue until further notice".

Airlines from many of the affected countries, including Bahrain's Gulf Air, Etihad Airways and Emirates, say they plan to cancel flights to and from the Qatari capital Doha starting from Tuesday morning.

Budget carriers, such as Fly Dubai and Air Arabia, have also cancelled routes to Doha.Image copyright 

The national airline, Qatar Airways, meanwhile has suspended its flights to Saudi Arabia.

The BBC's Simon Atkinson says the suspension of flights may cause a major problem for the airline, forcing it to alter flight paths and inevitably add time to some flights.

There are reports of residents stockpiling food and water, as Qatar is heavily dependent on Saudi Arabia for its food imports.

About 40% of Qatar's food is believed to come by lorry from its Gulf neighbour.

An official with Iran's Union of Exporters of Agricultural Products was quoted by Fars news agency as saying Tehran could export food to Qatar by sea within 12 hours.

Why has this happened?

While the severing of ties was sudden, it has not come out of the blue, as tensions have been building for years, and particularly in recent weeks.

Two weeks ago, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE blocked Qatari news sites, including Al Jazeera. Comments purportedly by Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani criticising Saudi Arabia had appeared on Qatari state media.Image copyright EPA

The government in Doha dismissed the comments as fake, attributing the report to a "shameful cybercrime".

Back in 2014, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar for several months in protest over alleged interference in their affairs.

More broadly, two key factors drove Monday's decision: Qatar's ties to Islamist groups, and the role of Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional rival.

While Qatar has joined the US coalition against IS, the Qatari government has repeatedly denied accusations from Iraq's Shia leaders that it provided financial support to IS.

Map showing Qatar and other Gulf states

Wealthy individuals in the country are believed to have made donations and the government has given money and weapons to hard line Islamist groups in Syria. Qatar is also accused of having links to a group formerly known as the Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate.

The SPA statement accused Qatar of backing these groups, as well as the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood - banned in Gulf countries as a terrorist organisation - and that it "promotes the message and schemes of these groups through their media constantly".

Saudi Arabia itself is a key backer of Islamist rebels, including hard line jihadist groups, in Syria, and has even been accused of funding IS.

Is Saudi to blame for IS?

Where key countries stand on IS


Qatar - Key facts



  • 2m of whom are men

  • 11,437 sq km in size (4,416 sq miles)

  • 77 years life expectancy (men)

  • 80 years for women

Source: UN, World Bank, MDPS, WHO

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4 hours ago, Malcolm said:

Qatar is heavily dependent on Saudi Arabia for its food imports.

Maybe as a road route but Saudi Arabia has to import most of its food too.


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Qatar row: Saudi revokes Qatar Airways' licence

  • 2 hours ago

Saudi Arabia's aviation authority has formally withdrawn Qatar's licence to land and fly in the country.

Saudi's General Authority of Civil Aviation also ordered its offices to to be closed within 48 hours.

In a statement, the authority also said licences granted to Qatar Airways' employees would be withdrawn.

Saudi Arabia had already suspended flights to and from Qatar on Monday, amid a diplomatic row between the kingdom and Qatar.

Qatar Airways is wholly owned by the Qatari government. The airline group employs more than 40,000 people worldwide.

The chief executive of Qatar Airways, Akbar al-Baker, is also a non-executive director of Heathrow Airport Holdings, which operates London's biggest airport.

Flight hub

Saudi Arabia and several other countries have cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism in the Gulf region.

Other neighbours, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have closed their airspace to Qatari planes.

Six countries - Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Yemen, Libya's eastern-based government and the Maldives - cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have given Qatari nationals two weeks to leave and banned their own citizens from travelling to Qatar.

Doha, Qatar's capital, is a major hub for international flight connections.

Other airlines affected by the airspace restrictions include Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates.

When avoiding Saudi Arabia, their massive - and only - neighbour, Qatar's planes are having to take more indirect routes, leading to longer flight times.

Map showing route of Qatar Airways flights on Tuesday, 6 JuneImage copyright FlightRadar24.com Image caption Flight tracking technology by the FlightRadar24 website shows the limited route being taken by Qatar Airways flights on Tuesday morning
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