Four of the most powerful nations in the Middle East cut off diplomatic relationships with Qatar on Monday, a strong move being made after accusations of Qatari rulership supporting terrorist groups and actively inflaming regional conflicts. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain all released separate, but seemingly synchronized, statements informing that they were cutting off air, sea and land links with Qatar. Yemen has also announced it is breaking ties with Qatar, but Yemen has little influence in the area because of a weakened government, so they were not included in the Big Four.
One of Qatar’s most serious issues in the eyes of the other Arabian countries is their support of the radical Muslim Brotherhood, which was one of the causes for the turmoil in Egypt in 2013. Others in the area are annoyed by Qatar’s continuing sponsorship of the Al Jazeera network, which reportedly criticizes the other governments in the area while promoting Qatar’s pro-Islamist philosophy. It is also believed that certain high-ranking Qatari civilians are also guilty of privately funding Islamist militants in Middle Eastern hotspots, such as Syria.
This move comes a couple of weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump joined a meeting of Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia and publicly pushed the countries to put a unified front against extremism. While the Trump administration called the meeting a success, some experts were worried that this would fan the flames on local wars. Interestingly, in the wake of the news of a united isolation, the U.S. Ambassador to Qatar, Dana Shell Smith, tweeted that the U.S. “supports Qatar’s efforts to deny terrorist financiers access to its financial system.” As for foreign ministers from other key players in the area, including Turkey and Russia, they have not denounced the coalition outright, but did say that they hoped stability and peace would have remained among Qatar and the rest of the Arab states.