Source: The Economist

The kingdom is raising tensions with its immediate neighbours as well as with Iran and Yemen.

Tribal feuding among the Al Thanis, Al Khalifas, Al Sabahs and Al Sauds has been the norm for centuries. From their beginnings in Nejd, the barren interior of the Arabian peninsula, they sparred for the best coastal spots from which to launch pirate raids into the Gulf. But even at the height of acrimony, they always observed unwritten rules of refuge and hospitality. When the tribes became states five decades ago, their people still travelled, lived and intermarried across lines in the sand. Their sheikhs might withdraw their ambassadors when tempers flared, but even when King Salman of Saudi Arabia went to war in Yemen in 2015, he let more than a million Yemenis in his kingdom stay.

For Gulf Arabs, the expulsion of Qataris by Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia ordered on June 5th is more shocking than a declaration of war. It has torn up their code of conduct. With two weeks’ notice to leave, Saudi husbands fear they might forfeit their livelihoods if they follow their Qatari wives. The queues at Qatar’s only land border, with Saudi Arabia, already tail back for miles. The dunes have become barriers, preventing the entry of people and goods, including much of Qatar’s food supply. Short-haul tourism has collapsed. The UAE has criminalised any expression of sympathy for Qatar, tweets included. Diplomatic ties have been severed, and air, land and sea links closed by the three neighbours, as well as by Egypt and Yemen.  READ MORE…

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