A split in between the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council will have serious repercussions around the Middle East.
In an unprecedented development, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt have accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and have severed their ties with the country.
The move by the most powerful members of the Gulf Cooperation Council comes in the wake of Jeremy Corbyn, Britain’s opposition leader, calling for difficult conversations with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States.
The coordinated move significantly escalates the 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.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have announced the closure of transport ties with Qatar. They have also given Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave their countries.
Incidentally, Qatar was also expelled from the Saudi-led coalition fighting militants in Yemen.
The move will has significant implications for the Middle East where Gulf states have used their financial and political clout to influence events worldwide.
Qatar is due to host the World Cup in 2022.
“(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,” said SPA, Saudi Arabia state news agency.
The statement went on to accuse Qatar of supporting Iran-backed militants in its restive and largely Shi’ite Muslim-populated Eastern region of Qatif and in Bahrain.
Qatar has denied supporting Iran as well as terrorism in the past.
There has not been any immediate response from the Qatar’s government and Qatari officials could not be reached for comment.
In its state news agency, Egypt, the Gulf’s most populous nation, stated Qatar’s policy “threatens Arab national security and sows the seeds of strife and division within Arab societies according to a deliberate plan aimed at the unity and interests of the Arab nation.”