Trouble brewing in the Middle East as countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar

Trouble is brewing in the Middle East after six Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of destabilising the region.

The governments of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt said in statements they will suspend air and sea travel to and from Qatar.

The official Saudi Press Agency has reported that the Saudi Arabia will shut land crossings with its neighbour, potentially depriving the emirate of imports.

In a move that has more than a whiff of irony, the Saudi government said Qatar is supporting “terrorist groups aiming to destabilise the region”, a decision that Qatar called “unjustified” and with “no basis in fact”.

SPA cited officials as saying the decision was taken to “protect its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism”.

Qatar is due to host the FIFA football World Cup in 2020.

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