Saudi Arabia and its close allies in the region moved against Qatar, cutting off sea and air travel and moving to isolate their fellow sunni Gulf country.
Enter: the next big crisis in the Middle East.
Like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Qatar is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional group of erstwhile allies that coordinate security policies against Iran and other common threats. But tensions have been brewing for many years between Qatar and other countries on the Arabian Peninsula and these tensions have apparently come to a head in the wake of Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia.
Qatar is home to both Al Jazeera and the region’s largest US military airbase — which is currently the strategic nerve center of the US air campaign against ISIS. This fact did not apparently stop President Trump for issuing statements in support of Saudi allegations that Qatar is a nemesis that supports terrorist groups.
On the line with me to unpack this situation and explain the roots of these regional rivalries is Marc Lynch, a professor at George Washington University.
Marc is the author of The New Arab Wars, Uprisings and Anarchy in the Middle East. He is and someone I have long relied on to help me make sense of tangled middle eastern politics. You can–and should follow him on Twitter at @AbuAardvark.
If you have 20 minutes and want to learn about why this spat between Qatar and its neighbors is so profoundly consequential to global politics, then have a listen.