Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) cut ties with Qatar on Monday after accusing the country of supporting terrorism and Islamist radical groups. In separate statements released by their state media, the countries confirmed that they had cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed travel restrictions including for trade by all air and sea routes. Here is a look at how the Gulf media reported the development. The other four countries had, at the time, responded by blocking all Qatari-based media, including Al-Jazeera.
Arab News: The Saudi-based news outlet maintained a non-partisan stand and reported the developments in consonance to the reporting done by international news agencies. It carried the statement by the Saudi Press Agency that said Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had broken diplomatic ties with Qatar.
In the SPA statement, Saudi Arabia said: “Qatari troops would be pulled from the ongoing war in Yemen. Qatar is part of the Arab Coalition backing the UN-recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in its war with Iran-backed Houthis and their allies.” SPA said Saudi Arabia has taken this “crucial action as a result of serious violations by the authorities in Doha, privately and publicly, over the past years to encourage dissent and sectarianism in the Kingdom.”
WAM or Emirates News Agency: “The UAE is taking these decisive measures as a result of the Qatari authorities’ failure to abide by the Riyadh Agreement on returning GCC diplomats to Doha and its Complementary Arrangement in 2014, and Qatar’s continued support, funding and hosting of terror groups, primarily Islamic Brotherhood, and its sustained endeavours to promote the ideologies of Daesh and Al Qaeda across its direct and indirect media in addition to Qatar’s violation of the statement issued at the US-Islamic Summit in Riyadh on May 21st, 2017 on countering terrorism in the region and considering Iran a state sponsor of terrorism. The UAE measures are taken as well based on Qatari authorities’ hosting of terrorist elements and meddling in the affairs of other countries as well as their support of terror groups – policies which are likely to push the region into a stage of unpredictable consequences.”
“While regretting the policies taken by the State of Qatar that sow seeds of sedition and discord among the region’s countries, the UAE affirms its full respect and appreciation for the brotherly Qatari people on account of the profound historical, religious and fraternal ties and kin relations binding UAE and Qatari peoples.”
Al Jazeera: The Doha based news outlet was banned by the four countries as soon as the boycott was announced. Not surprisingly, it was the only prominent news outlet in the Gulf that reported Qatar’s side of the story.
Al Jazeera posted two stories in particular where Qatar argued that there was no justification on severing of diplomatic ties with it. Also, it carried the entire reaction statement on its website.
“The measures are unjustified and are based on claims and allegations that have no basis in fact,” the statement said, adding that the decisions would “not affect the normal lives of citizens and residents,” it said.
“The aim is clear, and it is to impose guardianship on the state. This by itself is a violation of its (Qatar’s) sovereignty as a state,” it added.
Gulf News: The UAE based outlet put the credibility of Qatar in question while also accusing it of dishonouring the 2014 accords agreed in Riyadh. It said that Qatar had failed to live up to expectations and uphold the GCC commitments.
Bahrain News Agency: The news agency carried regular updates of boycotts from the five nations. The coverage included diplomatic boycott to trade ties cut off. End of Qatar’s participation in Arab Coalition Command was also highlighted by BNA.
The BNA report quoted UAE as saying: “While regretting the policies taken by the State of Qatar that sow seeds of sedition and discord among the region’s countries, the UAE affirms its full respect and appreciation for the brotherly Qatari people on account of the profound historical, religious and fraternal ties and kin relations binding UAE and Qatari peoples.”
In another story, BNA reported that “the Command of the Arab Coalition in Support of the Legitimacy in Yemen has ended Qatar’s participation in the coalition,” adding, “The coalition announced that it has decided to end the participation of the State of Qatar in the coalition due to its practices that enhance terrorism and support terrorist organizations in Yemen including Al-Qaeda and Daesh and dealing with coup militias in Yemen which is contrary to the coalition’s objectives of which the most important objective is fighting terrorism.”