Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar, instituting a land, sea and air blockade, an undeclared act of war.
A baker’s dozen of outrageous demands were made to be rejected, not accepted by Qatar.
They include curbing ties with Iran, shutting down Al-Jazeera and other news outlets Qatar controls, ending military cooperation with Turkey, paying reparations to Riyadh and its rogue allies, among others – and comply in 10 days or they become invalid.
Time expires today, extended by 48 hours, but it didn’t matter. As expected, Qatar rejected the ultimatum, replying by handwritten letter to the four countries.
They plan to meet in Cairo this week to decide their next moves. It’s unclear if they’ll impose illegal sanctions or something harsher.
They’re evaluating Qatar’s response before deciding how to proceed. Its contents aren’t publicly known.
By phone on Sunday, Trump spoke separately with leaders of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, discussing his “concerns about the ongoing dispute.”
According to the White House, he urged “unity in the region,” and cooperation in combating terrorism America and the rogue quartet support – without further elaboration.
Qatar’s Foreign Minister Al Attiyah earlier said demands on his government were “meant to be rejected.”
Last Saturday, he offered “a proper condition for dialogue,” with no further explanation. In Riyadh, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel urged resolving things diplomatically.
What’s next is unknown so far. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said the four countries will shortly decide future steps in dealing with Qatar as well as “exchange points of view and evaluation of the existing international and regional contacts in this connection.”
Qatar indicated it won’t back down. In a video message, Al-Jazeera said “(w)e too have demands…We demand press freedom.”
Qatari Defense Minister al-Attiyah said his nation isn’t “easy to be swallowed by anyone…We stand ready to defend our country.”
With neither side backing down, resolving the dispute won’t come easily.