A rift among Gulf States is spreading – with major global implications. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates have cut ties with Doha. Yemen, Libya and the Maldives have too.
They accused the gas-rich nation of supporting terrorism.
CGTN’s Adel el-Mahrouky reports.
In 2013 rivalry began between Egypt and Qatar, following the ousting of Egyptian President and Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi.
Cairo has designated the group a terrorist organization while Qatar has opened its doors providing the Muslim brotherhood members and leaders with a haven?
Qatar’s support to the brotherhood extended beyond Egypt to Libya. It supports the Islamists in the West and Cairo backs the Eastern government.
Last month dozens of Arab and Muslim leaders gathered in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh, to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump to cooperate in their fight against terrorism.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi urged them to restrain the countries which support terrorist organizations.
“Where are the safe havens that are offered for terrorist organizations? How are they offered media presence through outlets that have accepted to become a propaganda platform for terrorist organizations? Unfortunately, there are countries involved in supporting and funding terrorist organizations and in offering them safe havens. There are also countries that refuse to share information that they have and database of the foreign terrorist fighters, even with the Interpol. A terrorist is not only the one who carries arms, but also the one who trains, funds, arms and offers a political and ideological cover,” el-Sisi said.
Libya is the battlefield where this rivalry is shaped. Egypt and UAE have the backing of Saudi Arabia in this conflict.
Recently Egypt launched airstrikes against militants training camps in Libya. In response Qatar hosted Leaders of the Derna Mujahideen council on Al-Jazeera.
To counter, Qatar’s media campaign that favors their regional opponents, the Saudis Emirates and Egyptians blocked Qatar funded news websites and television networks.
“Egypt believes that Qatar is playing a major role in the continuation of fighting in the region. It supports terrorist organizations with finances as well as military support in Libya and other places. Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s latest statement about Qatar’s activities in the country was the proof to that,” International Politics Researcher Khaled Abdel Khaliq said.
General Khalifa Haftar, the Leader of the Libyan National Army was the first to explicitly accuse Qatar of funding terrorists.
On May 29, Haftar stated that Qatar funds militants in Libya and send them there to get training.
It’s not the first time Cairo has diplomatic rifts with Doha. This time however it has the backing of Gulf powers. That puts enormous pressure on Qatar. Hopes are that it will finally let go of its support to the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups in the region, giving the upper hand to the Saudis and Egyptians. But some experts think the young Emir of Qatar may be too stubborn to yield to such pressure.