Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and Bahrain have cut their ties with Qatar today, accusing the wealthy Gulf Arab state of supporting terrorism.
The coordinated move dramatically escalates a simmering dispute over Qatar’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s oldest Islamist movement, and adds accusations that Doha even backs the agenda of regional arch-rival Iran.
The three Gulf states announced the closure of transport ties with Qatar and gave Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave their countries.
Saudi Arabia accused Qatar of backing militant groups and spreading their violent ideology, in an apparent reference to its influential state-owned satellite channel ‘Al Jazeera’.
“Qatar embraces multiple terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at disturbing stability in the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS (Islamic State) and al Qaeda, and promotes the message and schemes of these groups through their media constantly,” a source said.
The statement went on to accuse Qatar of supporting what it described as Iranian-backed militants in its restive and largely Shi’ite Muslim-populated Eastern region of Qatif and in Bahrain. There was no immediate Qatari reaction to the announcements, however it has denied supporting terrorism or Iran in the past.
Egypt said, “Qatar’s policy threatens Arab national security and sows the seeds of strife and division within the Arab societies according to a deliberate plan aimed at the unity and interests of the Arab nation.”