The row that set US Gulf allies at odds

DOHA • A bitter feud between Qatar and a Saudi-led alliance may finally be nearing its end, as Gulf Arab leaders meet. Here is a look at the dispute that has divided the region.

On May 24, 2017, a statement attributed to Qatar’s ruler appears on the state news agency’s website, apparently endorsing Islamist movements and criticising United States President Donald Trump. Qatar says the site was hacked and the statement is fake.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia and allies Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) abruptly cut off air, land and sea links, and diplomatic ties with their neighbour.

Later that month, the Saudi-led coalition issues 13 demands in return for lifting the boycott. It also demands that Doha curb its relations with Iran. Qatar rejects them.

In August 2017, satellite channel beoutQ begins broadcasting top-flight football to Saudi audiences. Qatar-based broadcaster beIN accuses it of pirating its production.

Throughout 2018, Qatar and the UAE trade accusations over access to airspace.

In December 2019, Qatar’s emir declines an invitation by Saudi Arabia to attend a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Riyadh.

On June 16 last year, a World Trade Organisation panel rules that Riyadh failed to protect the intellectual property rights of Qatari broadcaster beIN by refusing to take action against pirate outfit beoutQ.

On July 14, the UN’s top court finds in favour of Qatar in its complaint against the air blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia and its allies.

On Dec 4, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud says a “final agreement looks in reach”. Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani says “there are some movements that we hope will put an end (to) this crisis”.

On Dec 30, the GCC says King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud invited the Qatari emir to its summit in Riyadh.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE