Arab nations cut ties with Qatar, saying it backs terror

Qatar hosts the largest U.S. airbase in the region, which is crucial in the fight against Islamic State group jihadists, and is set to host the 2022 football World Cup.

Qatar is home to the al-Udeid Air Base, the US military base that controls the airstrike campaign against ISIS.

Qatar and Iran cooperate because they share the largest underwater natural gas field in the world.

Qatar denies funding extremist groups. It helped free members of its own royal family from captivity by Shiite terrorists in Iraq.

Saudi and the UAE were among the few countries which recognised the Taliban government in Afghanistan in the 1990s, Qatar had facilitated talks with Taliban by allowing them to open an office in Doha.

In 2013, Saudi Arabia provided substantial support to Egypt's post-coup military regime after Mohamed Morsi - Egypt's first freely elected president and a Muslim Brotherhood leader - was ousted by the Egyptian army.

At the time of publishing, it was not clear whether airlines of the Maldives, which also joined the measures against Qatar, planned to suspend flights.

Egypt said its diplomatic break with Qatar and the closure of its airspace to air traffic from Qatar was due to the fact that Doha gave "support to terrorist training to the Muslim Brotherhood" and "supported terrorist operations in the Sinai" conducted by ISIS.

Federation Internationale de Football Association says it remains in "regular contact with Qatar" after six Arab countries, including the UAE, cut diplomatic ties with the World Cup 2022 hosts, accusing it of destabilising the region.

The Arab world's biggest powers cut ties with Qatar on Monday over alleged support for Islamists and Iran, reopening a festering wound two weeks after US President Donald Trump's demand for Muslim states to fight terrorism.

Some Gulf news coverage seemed to support regime change in Qatar, and accused its emir of holding a secret meeting with Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

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Meanwhile in a statement carried by its official news agency, Bahrain accused Qatar of backing terrorism and interfering in Bahrain's internal affairs.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today sought the Centre's intervention to ensure safety of 6.5 lakh Indians, including Keralites, residing in Qatar following recent developments in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia was also cutting land, air and sea contact with Qatar, according to media reports.

Political risk consultancy Eurasia Group says the "risk of a coup is significant".

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the move was rooted in long-standing differences and urged the parties to resolve them.

Besides cutting off diplomatic ties, the Saudi coalition has also chose to cancel Qatar Airways flights to their countries.

An immediate issue which India will face will be the movement of workers in the region, as Qatar Airways will find itself isolated after the Saudi-led alliance's decision to impose a travel ban.

Airlines from numerous affected countries, including Bahrain's Gulf Air, Etihad Airways and Emirates, say they plan to cancel flights to and from the Qatari capital Doha starting from Tuesday morning.

The tiny Gulf state is accused of supporting terror organisations that "aim to destabilise the region" - but Doha has long denied supporting militant groups. Qatari media published a cartoon mocking Saudi King Salman for spreading "fake news".

In an interview with Doha-based satellite news network Al-Jazeera, Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said Kuwait's ruler had asked Qatar's ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to hold off on giving a speech about the crisis late Monday night.


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