Inside Story

What is behind the diplomatic breakdown in the Gulf?

Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Maldives, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Yemen all abruptly cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar.

The latest spat involves more than just recalling ambassadors. Land and sea borders have been closed.

On top of that, major airlines are cancelling flights to and from Doha and Qatar residents have two weeks to leave the Gulf states in question.

Qatari leaders say they are astonished at what they call the unjustified decision by seven countries to cut diplomatic relations.

A cabinet statement said the aim is to strip Qatar of its sovereign decisions.

The foreign ministry said: “The aim is clear and it is to impose guardianship on the state. This by itself is a violation of Qatar’s sovereignty as a state.”

How far will this crisis go? And what will mean for the Gulf Cooperation Council?

Presenter: Kamahl Santamaria


Abdulaziz Al-Horr – academic and researcher; contributor to the book: ‘Policy-Making in a Transformative State: The Case of Qatar’

Mahjoob Zweiri – associate professor in contemporary history of the Middle East, Qatar University

David Hearst – editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye