Qatar has just 48 hours
It seemed all but over for Qatar, as a deadline created to force through 13 demands issued by neighbouring Arab states ended on Sunday. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have imposed crippling sanctions on Qatar following accusations of funding terrorism and creating instability in the region. There seems to have been an agreement behind closed doors, as a further 48 hours has been introduced to allow Qatar a little more time do decide.
The Qatari government hasn’t shown any signs of relenting despite the difficulty of the situation, branding the demands as an "affront to international law". The Gulf state, which denies funding extremism, has given a formal response, but the details of which are yet to be disclosed to the general media. The shutting down of the Al Jazeera news network has been a real talking point, with it often described as a thorn the side of much of the Arab World. It’s exposés debating working conditions and rights for woman have made many a red face across much of the affluent Middle East.
Qatar’s close connections to Turkey and Iran have also proved a major sticking point, with calls for the closure of a Turkish military base in Qatar, and the curbing of diplomatic relations with Iran standing near the top of the list. With Qatar cut-off from Saudi Arabia (it’s only land boarder), and much of the airspace around Qatar closed to Qatari air traffic, the state has little choice but to rely on Turkey and Iran for assistance. Up to 90per cent of Qatar’s food is imported, and must now be delivered by sea.
With Qatar looking to the international community for support, it seems unlikely a further 48 hours will make much of a difference for either side. A statement released by the Qatari Government described the situation as "reminiscent of the extreme and punitive conduct of 'bully' states that have historically resulted in war”. They went on to say "The world must unite immediately to halt the singling out of Qatar for unjustified collective punishment, humiliation and to preserve peace, security and prosperity in the region."
What are the other demands?
> Sever all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been banned in several Arab states
> Refuse to naturalise citizens from the four countries and expel those currently on its territory, in what the countries describe as an effort to keep Qatar from meddling in their internal affairs
> Hand over all individuals who are wanted by the four countries for terrorism
> Stop funding any extremist entities that are designated as terrorist groups by the US
> Provide detailed information about opposition figures whom Qatar has funded, ostensibly in Saudi Arabia and the other nations
> Align itself politically, economically and otherwise with the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC)
> Stop funding other news outlets in addition to Al Jazeera, including Arabi21 and Middle East Eye
> Pay an unspecified sum in compensation
Note: Demands obtained via the Associated Press news agency