Defiant Qatar rejects interference as crisis grows

Frederick Owens
June 9, 2017

Anxious residents have responded to the crisis by emptying grocery stores in the Qatari capital, Doha, as Saudi Arabia has blocked trucks carrying food from entering the country across its only land border.

The State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, in a separate briefing, said that the USA recognises that Qatar has made some great efforts to try to stop financing of terror groups, . The move expands on an earlier ban on direct flights between the two countries and UAE travel restrictions outlined on Wednesday on Qatari passport-holders and citizens of other nations who have Qatari residence permits.

With food and other supplies disrupted and worries mounting about deepening economic turbulence, banks and firms in Gulf Arab states are seeking to keep business links to Qatar open and avoid a costly fire sale of assets.

Egypt, meanwhile, called for the UN Security Council to launch an investigation into accusations that Qatar paid a ransom of up to $1 billion "to a terrorist group active in Iraq" to release kidnapped members of its royal family.

Al-Jazeera offices have been shut down by authorities in Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

The list includes the International Union of Muslim Scholars' Egyptian chairman, Yousef al-Qaradawi, and Abdullah bin Khalid, a former interior minister of Qatar.

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In a sign of support for Doha, Turkey's parliament on Wednesday approved an agreement to expand the number of troops deployed to a Turkish base in Qatar.

"Al Jazeera Media Network under cyber attack on all systems, websites & social media platforms", it said on Twitter.

Several Arab countries have broken diplomatic ties with Qatar because of its "embrace of various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilising the region", including the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida, Islamic State and groups supported by Iran.

The phone call contrasted sharply with a series of tweets posted on Tuesday when Trump seemed to back the Saudi decision to isolate Qatar. Gause notes that compared to its neighbors, Qatar "is less stringent about regulating the movement of private monies". They said they would take a hard line on funding, extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar.

Mr Trump said he had told the kings, presidents and prime ministers that funding "Radical Ideology" can't be tolerated, and "Leaders pointed to Qatar - look!"

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