Gas-rich Qatar might be left alone for now as Gulf states’ Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates as well as Egypt are severing its military ties to the country, Monday, June 5, in less than a month after US President Donald Trump visited the region.
The move to sever its ties with Qatar is due to “protect its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism” and Riyadh decided to “sever diplomatic and consular ties with Qatar; closing land, sea and aviation” links, stated by a Saudi official according to Saudi Press Agency.
It is believed that Qatar hosts the largest US airbase in the region, a crucial role against the Islamic State (ISIS).
The cutting of diplomatic ties is not new; reviving the tensions in 2014. Gulf countries recalled their ambassadors from Doha, over their support for the Muslim Brotherhood. They say that Qatar houses “a number of terrorist and sectarian groups that aim to destabilized the region including the Muslim Brotherhood, Daesh (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda.”
ABS-CBN also reports that Qatar reacted with fury, denying allegations of its support for extremists and accusing its Gulf neighbors of seeking to put the country under “guardianship”. Qatar is set to host the 2022 football World Cup.
With this announcement, the Philippine Embassy in Qatar, which houses 220,000 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), has released a statement.
Ambassador Alan Timbayan advised Filipinos in the Arab state to “exercise prudence as we all closely monitor the situation.” Timbayan continues that travelers should consult their travel agents and make new arrangements, if necessary, after some airlines, Etihad Airways, Emirates Airlines and other, have suspended flights in and out of the kingdom.