Bahrain has reportedly ordered Qatari troops serving with a coalition allegedly fighting with the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group to leave the Persian Gulf country soon, as Qatar accuses its neighbors, particularly Saudi Arabia, of imposing a crippling “siege” on the emirate.
According to an informed source, speaking on condition of anonymity to AFP on Sunday, the troops, who are part of the United States Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), headquartered in Bahrain, were asked by Manama to leave their base.
“The Bahrainis told the US general in command of the base that Qatari soldiers must leave,” said that source, adding, “They are still in the base but likely to leave within the next two days.”
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates severed ties with Qatar on June 5, officially accusing Doha of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region. Qatar, for its part, has slammed the measures as unjustified, saying they are based on false claims and assumptions.
In their apparent bid to secure US support and that of Israel, Riyadh, Manama, Cairo and Abu Dhabi suspended all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, expelled its diplomats and ordered Qatari citizens to leave their countries.
To further pressure Qatar, Saudi Arabia has totally closed its land border with its tiny neighbor, through which much of Qatar’s food supply crossed. Iran and Turkey are now providing Qatar’s required food supplies. The Persian Gulf Arab states further gave Qataris two weeks to leave their countries and ordered home their own citizens living in Qatar.
The punitive measures against Qatar have drawn condemnation from rights groups, including Amnesty International. On June 10 and 13, the UK-based prominent rights group slammed the Saudi measures against Qatar, saying the diplomatic dispute has been toying with thousands of lives.
The coordinated move against Qatar is spearheaded by Saudi Arabia, which often manages to have its vassal states fall into line. Saudi Arabia itself is known as the main sponsor of the violent Wahhabi terrorists it has accused Qatar of supporting. Some analysts believe the Saudi anger is rather because Qatar acts more independently of Riyadh, including its relations with Iran.
On Wednesday, Qatar’s Ministry of Defense said the country had signed a $12-billion deal with the United States to buy F-15 fighter jets from Washington.
The Qatari and US naval forces have also concluded a three-day joint military exercise in the Persian Gulf in the wake of Doha’s ongoing tensions with other Arab countries.