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Monday, 5 June 2017

What we’re tracking on 05 June 2017

In proof that organizational skills are not beyond us when we don’t want them to be, Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain simultaneously broke off diplomatic ties with Qatar this morning, according to official statements from all four countries released just about an hour before dispatch time. All four have recalled their diplomats and said they’re ordering their citizens home.

The four countries said they have suspended all travel to Qatar; the UAE, Saudi and Bahrain have Qatari diplomats 48 hours to leave. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry and the government of Saudi Arabia cited Qatar’s continued support for terrorist organizations including the Ikhwan and meddling in their internal affairs as their reason for breaking off ties. Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry accused the pariah statelet of violating international laws. The UAE’s official WAM news agency carried a statement outlining similar reasons, adding that the UAE was banning the entry of Qatari nationals.

The breakoff of relations comes after more than a week of escalating diplomatic tensions prompted by a story carried by Qatar’s state news agency that quoted Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani criticizing US President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia and attacking renewed pressure on Iran by Saudi and the US. The agency later pulled the story, claiming it was hacked. Egypt, Saudi and UAE responded by blocking Qatari websites as well as other outlets accused of harboring sympathies for the Ikhwan.

It’s called karma, ladies and gentlemen.

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