Qatar Under Siege
On the decisive day of June 5, 2017, a blockade of the air, land and sea was imposed on Qatar by neighboring Arab countries. Relations were severed, ambassadors withdrawn, and bans on trade and travel were imposed. Despite widespread panic amongst the general public, the Qatari government has maintained an atmosphere of safety and stability in the country.
Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to the initial announcements by rejecting the accusations made against it as they had “no legitimate justification”, as well as viewing the blockade itself as a “violation of its sovereignty”.
Despite the detachment of relations by 13 countries, there are 89 diplomatic missions operating in Qatar.
Cooperation is perhaps the most prominent with Turkey, who has continuously provided diplomatic and food support. Trade relations between the two countries have witnessed rapid development in recent years. Qatar has signed agreements to export LNG, while several Turkish construction companies have agreements with the Qatari government.
In addition to Turkey, the Emir of Kuwait has been an active mediator in the crisis, travelling between capitals in an attempt to bridge the countries together. Political analysts believe that any escalation of the conflict could be detrimental to the future of the GCC.
On 27 July 2017, Qatari foreign minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told reporters that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain were showing “stubbornness” to Qatar and had not taken any steps to solve the crisis. Al Thani added that the Security Council, the General Assembly and “all the United Nations mechanisms” could play roles in resolving the situation.