A Split in the Arab World that Threatens a Bigger Divide in the Region
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates(UAE), Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic relations with gas-rich Qatar yesterday, accusing the Arabian Peninsula nation of state sponsorship of terrorism. The Maldives, Yemen and Libya's eastern-based government, have also followed in the action against Qatar.
Yesterday's action came as a surprise even though allegations have swirled for some years that Qatar, is a sponsor of Islamist groups, including the Islamic State(IS), claims the nation have deemed unjustified.
Saudi Arabia, whose citizens made up 15 of the 19 September 11 attackers in the United States(US), has also been accused of state sponsorship of terrorism, which it has denied, yet no such action has ever been taken against the oil-rich Kingdom. Incidentally, two of yesterday's nations bringing the action against Qatar, the UAE and Egypt, also had citizens among the September 11 attackers in America.
Qatar is an absolute monarchy ruled by House of Thani, located on a peninsula in Western Asia abutting the northeast Arabian Peninsula in the Persian (Arabian) Gulf. Qatar's population exploded with work migrants in the past 14 years raising the total from 770,000 back in 2003 to 2.6 million people in 2017, of which 88.4 percent are non-Qatari, but include many Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Nepalese. Shockingly, only about 700,000 of Qatar's population are women. It shares a land border with Saudi Arabia from which it imports about 40 percent of its food.
Qatari diplomats were given 48-hours to leave the nations severing relations with it, while Qataris citizens have been given two-weeks to leave the effected countries. The action nations have also banned their citizens from Qatar. Also air spaces over the action nations have been closed to Qatar airlines that use Doha, the Qatari capital, as as a hub.
The action against Qatar, led by Saudi Arabia, along with accusations of state terrorism sponsorship, also involves alleged Qatar ties to Saudi Arabia's arch enemy, Iran.
However, if the diplomatic punishment should be prolonged against Qatar, which has the highest income per capita in the world at $129,000 from its vast gas-wealth and oil reserves, it could certainly push Qatar closer to Iran, thus creating a bigger divide in the Arab world. Kuwait, which has stayed neutral in the present feud, has been tapped to act as mediator between the nations in an attempt to end the dispute.