The big news in international relations today is that six countries are severing or suspending diplomatic ties with the state of Qatar. Those countries are Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Yemen, and the Maldives—all of which, besides the Maldives, are in the Middle East. Alleged ties to terrorism have been cited as justification.
The tiny, wealthy emirate of Qatar has long been known for its sometimes confounding efforts in diplomacy, as well as for its relationship with the U.S., for whom it hosts a major military base. Today’s news is certain to have major implications for the U.S. and nations around the world. But more immediately, what does it mean for western travelers?
As noted by The New York Times, at least five of the six nations in question have “cut off land, air and sea travel to and from Qatar and ordered their citizens to leave the country.” Flights and transportation to/from the U.S. and Europe have so far not been affected, but if you plan to travel between Qatar and destinations within the Middle East, you should check with your airline/travel provider for updates immediately. And even if your travel plans don’t include discontinued routes, you should still keep your eye on the situation. As the U.K.’s foreign travel advisory service notes, “There will be severe disruption of movement and partial or full closure of all air, naval and border crossings from these countries into and from Qatar from the early hours of 6 June 2017, leading to flight cancellations and a disruption in air and sea travel; you should contact your airline or tour operator for further information.”
Here’s more on this developing situation:
- 5 Arab States Break Ties With Qatar, Complicating U.S. Coalition-Building (NYT)
- Middle East split: The allies isolating Qatar (CNN)
- Breaking: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Other GCC Countries Cut Ties With Qatar (Airways)
- U.K. foreign travel advice page for Qatar
- U.S. State Department page for Qatar (not updated as of 12:30pm ET)
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