Oh man, what is going on in the Middle East?? Late Sunday night, Etihad and Emirates have unexpectedly announced they would be suspending all flight from Abu Dhabi and Dubai to Doha effective June 6, 2017. Additionally, the countries of Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE (United Arab Emirates) have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, closed their airspace to Qatari airlines (Qatar Airways and Qatar Airways Cargo) and restricted travel to/from Qatar.
With airspace restricted, Qatari airlines are limited to airspace above Iran and Iraq to cross into Europe, Asia and the Americas now. This is just crazy but it sounds like this is just the beginning of a tense, developing situation. I’m writing this post at 12:00 AM (DST) on Monday morning so expect updated information to emerge in the coming hours and days.
This is what we know at the moment. According the CNN, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have cut ties with Qatar over what they call “Qatar’s support of terrorism.” A statement put out by the Saudi government announced they have closed all ports of entry between the two countries to “protect (their) national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism.” Both Etihad and Emirates have cut all flights to Doha effective June 6, 2007. More airlines are expected to follow.
Kuwait and Oman have not cut ties with Qatar yet but I wouldn’t doubt it if they did just to support their fellow Gulf Cooperation Council partners.
So what the heck is going on? Is this really about terrorism and protecting their national security? Or is there something more going on in the background? Could this be about Qatar’s alleged allegiance to Iran? CNN points to a statement by a Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Al Hamad Al Thani who reportedly hailed Iran as an “Islamic power” on a state-owned website. But Qatari officials have refuted that statement, saying their official news agency who released that statement was “hacked.” But the other countries are not buying it and tensions have been rising since.
You can follow the Associated Press here for the latest news and updates regarding this developing situation.