Qatar-Gulf crisis deepens

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Illustration by Marika Van de Kamp

Qatar leadership has refused to accept demands provided by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, which if accepted would have ended sanctions on the country.

A 13-point non-negotiable list was given to Qatar by Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries on June 22, highlighting demands which must be met in order to cease sanctions and resolve the ongoing Qatar-Gulf crisis.

In an interview with Sky News, Qatari Defense Minister, Khalid Al Attiyah, he said that Qatar will defend itself if it comes to it.  

The list of demands included scaling down diplomatic ties with Iran, shutting down a military base in Turkey, severing all ties with any terrorist organizations and handing over any group affiliates, and paying for any damages incurred by Qatar from previous years.

Additionally, the demands call for Qatar to align itself politically, economically and socially with the ideals of the Gulf countries, as well as shutting down Al Jazeera, Qatar’s state-funded international news agency.

On June 5 several countries began isolating Qatar, cutting ties with the country following accusations stating the Qatari monarchy is in support of Islamist terrorism in the region. Land, sea and air travel have been suspended to Qatar, as well as all diplomatic relations. Among the countries sanctioning Qatar are Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt.

The demands given to Qatar were subject to acceptance within 10 days of offer. The demands were deemed unjust and positioned as going against international law according to Turkey, among other nations.

According to the New York Times, there has been no concrete or substantial evidence to suggest Qatar is currently in cooperation with terrorist groups in the region. Qatar rejects all allegations of terrorist affiliation or assistance.

As of recently, new developments have escalated the Qatar-Gulf crisis. By sanctioning Qatar, Saudi Arabia has cut 40 percent of its food source. Al Jazeera reports that sanctions have not affected Qatar’s gas expansion and large energy corporations are still interested in partnering with Qatar. Qatar is not yet in an economic crisis since it currently possesses enough wealth to counter the sanctions.

In midst of the Qatar-Gulf crisis, Kuwait is standing in as a mediator in an effort to diffuse tensions and repair the rift within the region. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is planning to visit Kuwait on July 10.

According to CNBC, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a phone call to al-Attiyah that easing tensions in Qatar is an important step to resolving the crisis.

The Qatar-Gulf crisis could extend for more weeks and even months, according to the U.S. state department spokeswoman Heather Nauert. In a press briefing, Nauert said the U.S. believes the crisis could intensify in the days to come.

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