Qatar Diplomatic Crisis - How It May Impact You
On Monday 5 June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and moved to close off access to the Gulf country, with an embargo on air, sea or land traffic to and from Qatar.
Following the announcement:
- The Maldives, Mauritius, Libya, Yemen, Mauritania and Union of the Comoros have followed suit and also cut ties with Qatar. Jordan downgraded its ties with Qatar while The Philippines announced that it has stopped sending migrant workers to Qatar. Although Egypt has severed ties with Qatar, it has not yet asked its citizens to leave Qatar, or for Qatari citizens to leave Egypt.
- Saudi Arabia has said Qatari troops would be pulled from the coalition in the ongoing war in Yemen. In addition it has shut down Al Jazeera’s office and recalled all Saudi journalists in Doha. It has also withdrawn Qatar Airlines' licence and closed its offices, and has warned its citizens from travelling to Qatar.
- Qatari diplomats were given 48 hours to leave the UAE and Bahrain and have been expelled from other territories.
- Qatari citizens were given 14 days' notice to leave the UAE and Saudi Arabia (the deadline being 19 June 2017), while citizens from Qatar have also been banned from passing through UAE and Saudi airports. UAE, Saudi and Bahraini airspace has been closed to air traffic from Qatar.
- Airline flights have been halted by the three Gulf countries imposing the blockade, including flights to and from Qatar with Saudia, Emirates, Etihad, FlyDubai, Air Arabia and Gulf Air. Qatar Airways has in turn stopped flying to destinations in those countries. The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have revoked the licences of Qatar Airways and ordered its offices to close. No flights bound for Qatar can travel through UAE and Saudi Arabia airspace. However, Saudi Arabia has announced that it will allow unscheduled flights from Qatar to Saudi Arabia for Muslims to perform Hajj and Umrah.
- Emiratis, Saudis and Bahrainis are now banned from visiting or even transitting through Qatar by any means.
- Ships travelling to or returning from Qatar are prohibited by the UAE from refuelling at Fujairah port – a facility on the edge of the Gulf used by the majority of tankers.
- Markets have reacted: Oil jumped after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain severed their ties; Global benchmark Brent advanced 1.1 per cent to $50.48 a barrel. US oil also climbed 1 per cent to $48.17. Qatar's stocks dropped as much as 8% after the announcement.
- The UAE Federal Public Prosecution stated "strict and tough action will be taken against anyone who shows sympathy or any form of favoritism towards Qatar, or against anyone who objects to the position of the UAE, whether through social media, or any other forms of communication". These actions will be considered to threaten the interests, national unity and stability of the UAE punishable by jail and fines. Saudi Arabia has also imposed a similar action with the sanctions at five years imprisonment and a SAR 3,000,000 fine.