Qatar vows to defy pressure as Saudi-led bloc hardens stance against Doha despite a flurry of diplomacy.
Most residents of Qatar were still fast asleep when neighbouring Bahrain on Monday announced it was cutting diplomatic ties with Doha, delivering the first of a series of coordinated diplomatic strikes that has left the region in disarray.
It happened at 5:50am local time, on the 10th day of Ramadan. Within 10 minutes, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf’s biggest power, had followed suit. The kingdom announced via state media that it was taking action to “protect its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism”.
By 6:20am, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had completed the troika. “It was bound to happen. It was something that was ready to explode,” Anwar Gargash, UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, later told Reuters news agency.
At least three other countries, including Egypt, joined in later in the day. But Oman and Kuwait, two other countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), of which Qatar is also a member, stayed neutral.
Qatar strongly denied the allegations cited in the announcements justifying the moves against it, decrying a “campaign of lies that have reached the point of complete fabrication”.
Despite mediation efforts led by Kuwait, the standoff continues five days into the dispute.
Here are some of the key points of the ongoing rift between Saudi and its allies, and Qatar.