Six Arab countries—Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Libya, and Yemen—severed their relations with Qatar on Monday over its alleged support of terrorism.
The state-run Saudi Press Agency said the move was being taken to protect “national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism,” and accused Qatar of supporting ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as Shia rebels in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The other Arab nations announced similar measures, as did Maldives, the tiny country in the Indian Ocean. Under the move, Saudi Arabia closes its borders with Qatar and ended land, sea, and air contact with its neighbor. The Arab nations also suspended Qatar from the military coalition that’s fighting in Yemen’s civil war against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.
Qatar, in its response, said there was “no legitimate justification” for the move, accusing the Arab states of violating its sovereignty. Qatar is energy-rich, but heavily reliant on food and other essential supplies that are brought in by trucks across its border with Saudi Arabia. News media reported panic buying of goods in the country following the announcement. Qatar’s stock market fell 7.2 percent.