A timeline of six months of illegal siege which helped Qatar rediscover itself…
December 5 marked exactly six 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, six 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.
* HH The Emir formally opens the pathbreaking Hamad Port for business.
* France appoints an envoy to mediate between Qatar and blockading nations
* The video of a Qatari who was allegedly beaten and humiliated in Saudi Arabia went viral on social media.
* US President Donald Trump calls for ‘united GCC’ and offers to mediate the crisis ‘at White House’ if needed.
- In first official contact, Qatar’s Emir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani gets in touch with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
* Qatar announces it will grant ‘visa on arrival’ for Moroccans and Algerians.
* Noted newspaper New York Times reports that an ISIS statement on Qatar, carried by Saudi media, is a complete fake.
* An Art exhibit titled ‘100 days of blockade’ unveiled at the Doha Fire Station.
* HH The Emir Sheikh Tamim leaves Qatar for the first time since the crisis officially began on June 5. He met with Turkish president Erdogan.
- Work in Qatar nears completion on what is likely to eventually become the world’s biggest water reservoir.
- Qatar warns its citizens against visiting Egypt for fear of their own safety owing to security measures by Egyptian forces.
* Qatar launches a website named ‘Lift the Blockade’ to combat the increasing menace of fake news.
- During his address at the UN General Assembly, HH The Emir thanks the people of Qatar for standing solidly behind him.
- HH The Emir meets US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
- Thousands of people line the Doha Corniche to extend solidarity to HH The Emir and welcome him back home.
* Qatar announces an ambitious plan that will change the face of tourism in the country.
- Qatar’s imports rebound in August, suggesting that the impact from the illegal siege is fading.
* A British parliamentary team which visited Doha called for the urgent lifting of the illegal siege.
* HH The Emir gives an exclusive interview to British journalist Charlie Ross and he answers several pertinent questions related to the illegal siege.
- The cost of shipping goods via the Hamad Port drops by 31% since start of the blockade, according to a report.
- After more than three months, Qatar's population gets back to 2.6m people.
- The UAE’s attempt to defame Qatar with a Paris conference ends up being a miserable failure.
- The GCC blockade poses no risk to Qatar’s 2022 FIFA World Cup, says Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy chief Al Thawadi.
* The US military confirms that it had halted joint exercises with the blockading nations over the Qatar crisis.
- A top UAE official confirms what many had suspected before — that the GCC crisis was manufactured to take the 2022 FIFA World Cup away from Qatar.
* The Primary Health Care Corporation confirms that it has served more than 15,000 citizens from siege nations after start of illegal blockade.
* Qatar requests the World Trade Organisation to adjudicate on its trade dispute with the UAE.
* HH The Emir Sheikh Tamim begins his tour of South East Asia.
* Qatar’s Foreign Minister says the Gulf crisis is hurting the fight against Islamic State.
* HH The Emir Sheikh Tamim denounces the unjust siege on Qatar and says the country is open to talks.
* US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson blasts the Saudi-led bloc for the non-resolution of GCC crisis.
* An article in The Economist says that the boycott of Qatar is hurting its enforcers badly as well.
* Qatar hails the Kuwaiti Emir’s call for calm and reconciliation in the region.
* Qatar imposes sanctions on 11 individuals and two terrorism-related entities.
* In a major move, Qatar introduces minimum wages for workers for the first time in history.
* The ’Siege countries' hid their intentions during the Riyadh summit, says Qatar’s former Prime Minister.
- HH The Emir Sheikh Tamim speaks out about the ongoing Gulf crisis, the reasons behind it and Trump’s plans to help resolve it.
* The US Ambassador to United Nations makes a U-turn and says that Qatar does not fund Hamas.
* Bahrain threatens to pull out of Gulf summit and calls for Qatar’s expulsion from the GCC bloc.
- HH The Emir stands tall as he refuses to bend to pressure from blockading nations.
* Bahraini king says his country will boycott any and all summits which is attended by Qatar.
* The International Monetary Fund warns Gulf nations of weakened medium-term growth due to the crisis.
- The United States approve arms deal worth $1.1bn to Qatar despite the ongoing crisis.
- Al Jazeera celebrates 21st anniversary amid renewed calls for its closure from neighbouring countries.
* BMI Research releases a report saying that the effects of the illegal siege on Qatar is slowly fading.
- Saudi Arabia destroys a missile launched by Houthi rebels against Riyadh’s King Khaled airport.
- Despite the ongoing siege, Qatar was still adjudged as one of the safest countries in the world.
* Bahrain escalates tensions by re-opening an old border dispute that was resolved long ago.
* A helicopter crash near Yemen kills high-ranking Saudi prince and seven other travellers.
* A UAE song called “Tell Qatar” gets hilarious Twitter response from Qatar residents.
* Qatar accuses the four blockading nations of fragmenting the Gulf Cooperation Council.
* In a historic first, Qatar appoints four women to the Advisory Council.
* A secret plan by the UAE has been revealed to wage an economic war against Qatar!
* HH The Emir Sheikh Tamim says Qatar has been a ‘thousand times better off’ without the siege countries.
* A visit by the King of Morocco to Qatar has been hailed as a stupendous success.
* HH The Emir Sheikh Tamim holds productive talks with Turkish President Erdogan in Doha.
* Qatar and Sudan announce they will jointly build the Red Sea coast’s largest sea port.
- Qatar is well-prepared for countering any military move from neighbours and is confident of US support, says foreign minister.
- Qatar’s defence minister has spoken straight about the ongoing GCC crisis.
* Qatar continues to innovate and announce that expats will soon be able to do residency procedures at home country before flying to Qatar.
* The siege nations are sabotaging the stability of the entire region, says Qatari foreign minister.
* Qatar decides to move forward with implementation of pathbreaking Permanent Residency law.
- World Trade Organisation agrees to hear Qatar’s complaint against the UAE.
* Egypt reportedly imposes entry visas on Qatari citizens.
* The country plans to remain the world’s leading LNG supplier, says Qatar’s Energy minister.
* Qatar Central Bank chief says the illegal siege on Qatar has had no impact on the country.
- Dubai security chief sparks outrage by calling to bomb Doha-based Al Jazeera News.
- Against agreed norms, Saudi Arabia denies entry to three Qatari GCC officials.
- Qatar initiates talks with Turkey and Iran to enhance trade ties.
* On why the financial war on Qatari Riyal has failed, and why it could backfire on region.
* Qatar aims to get self-sufficient in milk supply by the end of July, 2018.
* A team from Amnesty International arrives in Doha to assess the impact of illegal blockade on Qatar.
* The Qatar Investment Authority chief says that the blockade has had only a minimal impact on Qatar.
* Signs of a breakthrough emerge as Qatar and Saudi Arabia decide to attend GCC summit.
* Qatar-based Muslim group decides to sue blockading countries over its placement in ‘terrorism list’
* The six Gulf ministers meet for the first time to hold talks before GCC summit.