A timeline of three months of illegal siege which helped Qatar rediscover itself…
September 5 marked exactly three months since the start of the illegal siege of Qatar. While people in the country were initially panic stricken, it soon gave way to determination and the will to fight on.
Today, three months after the start of the siege, Qatar still holds its head high. Here is a chronological recap of how things unfolded over the last three months.
In an early morning announcement, Bahrain cuts its ties with Qatar. Soon after, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt too sever ties in that order. The GCC crisis officially begins. Qatar says there is no justification for the cutting of ties, but all such arguments fall on deaf ears. Soon, all four nations declare flights to and from Qatar will be stopped within a day. Trucks are not allowed to cross the Saudi Arabia-Qatar border.
Qatar Airways suspends all flights to four blockading countries. As US President Donald Trump tweets out taking credit for the GCC Blockade, the Philippines bar its workers from travelling to the country.
Turkish exporters say they are ready to step in and supply necessary food items for Qatar. Qatar brings home stranded passengers from Saudi Arabia via chartered flight. The Turkish Parliament passes special law to send troops to Qatar.
After blockading countries threaten its citizens with dire consequences for expressing sympathy with Qatar, Qataris are urged by the government to take the moral high road on social media.
Qatar declares it will not expel people from the countries illegally blocking them. But at the same time, they decide to hire international lawyers to take blockading countries to court. Qatar opens a direct maritime route to Oman’s Sohar Port, easing passage of food from around the world.
Qatar says any talks to shut down Al Jazeera is firmly off the table. US Ambassador to Qatar Dana Shell Smith announces that she will leave her position by the end of the month.
Qatar Airways announce that none of its international routes have been affected by the blockade.
Qatar signs a mega $12bn deal with the USA for buying F-15 jets. A few hours later, two US Naval ships arrive in the country for joint exercises. Meanwhile, the Philippines lift the travel ban to Qatar it had placed on its citizens. Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee releases shocking report that more than 13,000 Qatari citizens have been affected by the illegal blockade.
With the deadline for Qatari citizens to leave neighbouring GCC countries arriving, hundreds return home.
Qatar's Attorney General Ali Bin Fetais Al Marri says the hack of Qatar News Agency was carried out by a country involved in the siege of Qatar.
HH The Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani congratulates 31-year-old Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud for being appointed as Saudi Arabia’s crown prince. On the same day, thousands of camels belonging to Qatari citizens are deported from Saudi Arabia and turned loose in the desert, leading to hundreds of them perishing.
For the first time, the four blockading nations issue a set of 13 demands.
Less than 24 hours after receiving a list of 13 demands, Qatar rejects it saying it is neither reasonable nor actionable. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson puts his weight behind Qatar’s cause, saying the demands on Qatar were very difficult to meet.
UAE’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum urges Qatar to return to the GCC fold by penning a poem.
Qatar’s defence minister Khaled Al Attiyah says the illegal blockade on Qatar is a declaration of war.
Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani says a Press conference in Rome that the list of 13 demands ‘was meant to be rejected.’
Kuwait seeks an extension of 48 hours for Qatar to respond to Saudi-bloc demands and it is granted.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson arrives in Qatar to try and diffuse the tensions in the region.
Qatar decides to form a committee to seek compensation for damages from the blockade.
American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in Doha for talks to try and diffuse the situation. Qatar sign a landmark deal with the US to combat terrorism.
For the first time since the blockade began, UAE’s minister for the federal national council Noura Al Kaabi sought ‘fundamental change and restructuring’ of Al Jazeera rather than to shut it. She also says the Saudi-led group was ready to negotiate with Qatar.
The Washington Post publishes an explosive story which accuses the UAE of orchestrating the hack of Qatar News Agency, which directly led to the current ongoing crisis. On the same day, Egypt ended visa-free entry for Qatari citizens.
Saudi-bloc of countries climb down from their 13 demands to ‘six broad principles’ Qatar need to follow in order for the blockade to be lifted.
Qatar provides more hard evidence that the UAE was indeed behind the hacking of Qatar News Agency.
HH The Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani issues a decree amending some provisions of a law on ‘combating terrorism.’ HH The Emir addresses the nation on TV for the first time since the crisis broke.
After several Qatari pilgrims face trouble in performing Hajj, Qatar accuses Saudi Arabia of politicising the Hajj.
Qatar goes on the offensive and lodge a formal complaint with the World Trade Organisation over the blockade. The National Human Rights Committee also sends a letter to the UN about the Hajj obstacles.
Following a UN-led meeting, Qatar Airways is likely to have access to three contingency routes over international waters in early August.
Qatar seals a mammoth $5.9bn deal for navy vessels from Italy, which is expected to significantly empower the Emiri Navy.
Qatar decides to grant permanent residency status to expatriates, subject to them fulfilling some criteria.
- * Qatar’s Ambassador to the US accuses siege nations of deliberately misleading the USA on roots of terrorism in order to shift the focus away from themselves.
- * Qatar decides to start negotiations with Turkey and Iran about opening up of new land trade routes that are also more economical.
- * The World Trade Organisation confirms that it has received Qatar’s complaint against three blockading Gulf countries.
- Bahrain eases airspace curbs on Qatar following a directive by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
- * More countries join Bahrain in opening up of air routes for Qatar following a directive from the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
- * American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sends two seasoned US envoys to ‘keep pressure on the ground’ and push peace talks to solve the Gulf crisis.
- * The two US envoys appointed to solve the Gulf say they will move away from Saudi-bloc’s 13 demands and focus on Tillerson formula instead.
- * Qatar announces that citizens belonging to 80 countries can now enter Qatar without applying for a visa in advance.
- Qatar announces that the illegal Gulf blockade has not stopped them from providing treatment to more than 10,000 people from the blockading nations.
- In an effort to beat the blockade, Qatar establishes new ‘fast and secure’ sea corridor for trade between Doha and Karachi.
- Qatar’s Foreign Minister says it will take quite some time for rebuilding trust between Gulf countries after the current crisis.
* Saudi Arabia’s King Salman orders Qatar’s border be re-opened for use by Hajj pilgrims from the country.
* Qatar Volleyball Association threatens legal action against GCC Volleyball Organising Committee following the cancellation of regional events.
- Qatar deny reports that it mediated in Saudi Arabia’s decision to lift Hajj ban on pilgrims from the country.
- Qatar file an official complaint with the ICAO over an animation video of a missile being fired on a Qatar Airways plane.
- In a big win for Qatar, an attempt by the siege nations’ to downgrade the NHRC has been thrown out.
* An influential Saudi Arabian official tweets his followers to expose Qatar sympathisers online and put them on a blacklist.
- Senegal, which recalled its ambassador from Qatar two days after the crisis broke, decide to send him back to Doha.
- Qatar trash a fake report which appeared in Dubai TV which said there were rallies, clashes and curfews in Doha.
- * Qatar send its ambassador back to Iran after almost 20 months.
- * Qatar retaliates Chad’s move to expel ambassadors by closing Chad’s embassy in Doha and giving diplomats 72 hours to leave.
* Turkey detain five people who are suspected of being involved in the hack of Qatar News Agency.
- * United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres tours the Gulf region to help resolve the ongoing crisis.
- Somalia reiterate its support for Qatar after refusing to bow to increasing pressure from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
- American President Donald Trump calls Saudi Arabia's King Salman and ask him to resolve the GCC crisis soon.
- * Kuwait’s Emir HH Sheikh Sabah travels to Washington DC to meet US President Donald Trump and talk about the ongoing GCC crisis.
- * Qatar's foreign minister says siege nations are putting the GCC at risk by attacking a fellow member.
* Qatar’s foreign minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has said that the Gulf crisis is entirely fabricated.