Five Arab countries accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and cut diplomatic ties, triggering the Middle East’s worst diplomatic crisis in years (Washington Post). Led by Saudi Arabia, four other nations—Bahrain, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and the internationally backed government in Yemen—halted all air, land, and sea traffic to Doha on Monday, in addition to ejecting their diplomats. All but Egypt, which has over 20,000 citizens working in Qatar, ordered their citizens to leave the gulf Arab nation. Tensions have been building for years as Doha expanded its reach through the Al Jazeera channel, conducting business with Tehran, and backing Islamist fighters in Libya and Syria, while harboring the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, which are banned by other Arab nations. Many believe the Arab countries ganging up on Doha were emboldened by Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi-led rupture with Qatar is pushing the nation into Iran’s embrace (Bloomberg). Since the siege, Doha flights have used Iranian airspace, and Tehran even offered to send food since Riyadh has blocked shipments into Doha.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry urged Qatar and its neighboring gulf Arab countries to resolve their disputes through diplomacy and explicit dialogue (PressTV).
Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif spoke to EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini about the Saudi-Doha row (Fars News Agency). Zarif also spoke to his counterparts in Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Turkey, and others about regional issues.
Interestingly, hacked emails show a top UAE diplomat coordinating with a pro-Israel think tank against Tehran (The Intercept).
A former IRGC general said Saudi Arabia was emboldened by Israel and the United States, and plans to impose guardianship on Qatar, just like Bahrain (Mehr News Agency).
Iranian society extended its hand to the world, but the governments in Washington, Riyadh, and Tel Aviv responded with threatening clenched fists (Huffington Post).
Iranian hackers targeted Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Athletics (Twitter).
Meanwhile, the CIA’s “Dark Prince” will run Iran-related operations, signaling a tougher stance toward Tehran (New York Times).