On June 5, 2017, four Arab countries – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates – announced they were severing diplomatic ties with Qatar. This includes suspending all air, land and sea travel to and from the country. Libya, Yemen and the Maldives have also announced they are cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar. All countries, except for Egypt, have ordered their citizens to leave Qatar. These countries allege that Qatar backs radical Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Isis, and is conspiring with Iran. The United States is encouraging the countries to work out their differences, however, since the announcement of the diplomatic rift, President Trump has tweeted that it is “so good” to see his visit to Saudi Arabia is “already paying off” and applauded the Middle East for “no longer funding Radical Ideology.”
Qatar is a very wealthy country, but relies heavily on its neighbors for trade and travel. This fall out will have far reaching outcomes to trade, business and other sectors in Qatar, including flights, banks, retail, and the many trade deals countries have pending not only with Qatar, but all Arab countries. Flights are already effected and the International Air Transport Association has called on the countries that acted against Qatar to restore air travel with the country. Shipping companies can no longer transport goods in or out of Qatar. Commercial banks are holding off on business with Qatari banks due to the diplomatic rift. Qatar’s main share index was lower on Monday, indicating a worried investment climate. Construction projects are stalled in Qatar, who is set to host the 2022 World Cup and has ongoing major construction projects. Qatar and Saudi Arabia share a land border and Qatar relies on trade relations with Saudi Arabia to import food. Qatar’s news networks have reported that trucks carrying food into the country are stranded on the border.