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Qatar GCC Crisis, Qrisis, Qexit, ties cut by Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, UAE

Sunday 24 March 2019 (UAE)   
 
   
 

Qatar GCC crisis and diplomatic rift with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, UAE

The Qexit (?) Qrisis (?) story ...

News update starting 05 Jun 2017 (Monday) about diplomatic, economic, and trade embargo against Qatar (has anyone called this Qexit yet?). Direct trade ties cut by default as a result of transport links being severed. Financial ties not yet cut but ... many UAE exchange centers stopped exchanging Qatari Riyals (QAR) on 07 Jun 2017. Primary reference sources: BBC, Reuters, WAM, UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) statements, airline websites, UAE news (The National, Gulf News, Khaleej Times).

What does it mean for you (summary as of 05-07 Jun 2017)? Note that citizen or national means a passport holder of the named country; a resident means either a citizen living there, or a non-GCC foreign expat with a residence visa for that country. GCC citizens have the right to live in any GCC member country (similar to EU citizens in Europe), except now for Qataris, they are banned from living in Bahrain, KSA, UAE but not (yet?) from Kuwait or Oman.

  • [Update Mar 2019, Qatar Airways and Qatar news sites seem to be available again in UAE, except for Al Jazeera (still blocked) (checked on du network) ... or was just something funny going on, they were blocked again after we updated this page.] Qatar websites blocked in the UAE (sometimes just show an error page, not the blocked URL notification): Al Jazeera, Gulf Times, Qatar Tribune, The Peninsula, Qatar Airways (see further below for information about how to contact them), most other Qatar news websites. Qatar MOI website not blocked (so far).
  • Internet users in the UAE warned not to say anything online supporting Qatar or criticising the UAE's policies towards Qatar, or risk penalties of up to at least AED 500,000 fine (not AED 500) and up to 15 years in jail (07 Jun 2017 reports). This includes (pictures, posts or comments) Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, Whatsapp, etc. Assume you are not anonymous whatever you do or think, especially if connected to internet in the UAE. UAE based newspapers have published articles sympathetic to Qatar, but don't use those articles as guidance for what might be permitted for you to publish online.
  • Qatari diplomats in Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and diplomats from those countries in Qatar: ordered to leave within 48 hours from 05 Jun 2017. No explicit information on departure schedule regarding diplomats in or from Libya, Maldives, Yemen, although all three countries have stated diplomatic ties have been severed (only a partial amputation applies for Libya, see below).
  • Citizens of Qatar (Qataris, does not apply to expat residents of Qatar):
    • Humanitarian considerations update (11 Jun 2017): Qatari citizens who are married or related (e.g. mixed marriage children but not siblings or parents -in-law) to Bahrain, KSA, UAE citizens might be exempt from travel and residence restrictions in those countries. Qataris married to other GCC or non-GCC citizens not referred to in government statements seen so not clear if similar exemptions apply.
      • UAE contact number for Emirati-Qatari families affected is Ministry of Interior (MOI) Aman helpline +971-8002626 (toll-free in UAE number is 800-2626). Reference www.wam.ae/en/details/1395302618433.
      • Bahrain Ministry of Interior hotline telephone +97317399821.
      • Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior helpline +966112409111.
    • Banned from living in, visiting, or transiting through Bahrain, Saudi Arabia (KSA), UAE effective from 05 or 06 Jun 2017. If already resident in one of those countries, you have 14 days to pack your bags and leave. No information on whether you must sell residential or commercial property in those countries.
    • No information about bans on Qataris for Libya, Maldives, Yemen.
  • Citizens of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia (KSA), UAE (does not apply to expat residents of those countries):
    • Directive issued by your respective governments not to travel to or through Qatar. Penalty for non-compliance unknown. No reports of Qatar banning anyone based on nationality (except for Israelis but that was already in place and is unrelated to the current situation).
    • For those currently living in Qatar, some reports say you have 14 days to pack up and leave, but official statements are less clear, generally saying you may not stay in Qatar but not giving a specific exit timeline.
  • Citizens of Egypt, Libya, Maldives, Yemen: Unknown yet if a ban on living in, travel to or through Qatar in effect, or planned.
  • Expat foreign residents and visitors in Qatar with Qatar residence or visit visas or permits who are not citizens of the previously mentioned countries:
    • 07 Jun 2017 update (what we wrote yesterday below is out of date already): Some reports said Qatar residence visa holders as well as Qatari citizens banned from entering or transiting through UAE (might also apply to Bahrain, Egypt, KSA but no reports confirming that seen yet). Philippines OFWs permitted to travel to Qatar again.
    • 06 Jun 2017: As far as we can tell, no directives issued by your governments (except Philippines but only for OFWs leaving PH for Qatar), and no directives issued by Qatar related to you, however there are general travel restrictions which are likely to affect you.
  • Other foreign nationals who are resident in one of the previously mentioned countries, or anywhere else in the world, who are in Qatar or planning to go to Qatar: As far as we can tell, no directives issued by your or any other governments, despite what some reports say - they appeared to have misinterpreted press releases by various authorities about expats resident in Bahrain, KSA, and UAE (unless we're the ones who can't read properly but see more details below for our explanation). However there are general travel restrictions which are likely to affect you. You cannot travel directly from Bahrain, Egypt, KSA, or UAE to Qatar, however you can travel indirectly; via Muscat or Kuwait are the closest options (unless Oman or Kuwait also sever links with Qatar).
  • Passengers on Qatar Airlines (QR): You cannot fly to or from any airports in Bahrain, Egypt, KSA, UAE. If you have a booking which includes a landing at one of those airports you need to contact QR for refund or re-route. No information yet about restrictions on flights to or from airports in Libya, Maldives, Yemen (but QR doesn't fly to Libya or Yemen anyway).
    • QR offices in countries which have cut ties with Qatar are being closed. So far Bahrain and KSA within 48 hrs from 06 Jun 2017 announcement, UAE on 07 Jun 2017 with immediate effect.
  • Passengers on airlines which fly to Doha: If an airline is based in Bahrain, Egypt, KSA, or UAE, then all flights to and from Doha have been suspended. If an airline is based in Libya, Maldives, or Yemen, no information yet. Any other airline you should be fine unless there is a transit or stopover in Bahrain, Egypt, KSA, or UAE since according to official statements, all transport links with Qatar are supposed to have been severed.
  • Airspace restrictions over Bahrain, Egypt, KSA, and UAE seem to apply only to Qatar Airways (QR) and any other aircraft registered in Qatar. For the general public, the most likely effect is probably longer flight times as aircraft are re-routed to avoid restricted airspace. No information about Qatar imposing restrictions in Qatari airspace for any other airlines, but it seems that there won't be any if reports on 06 Jun 2017 are to be believed which said ... "Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV that Qatar will not retaliate against Gulf neighbours".
  • Other travel restrictions: sea and port restrictions will affect residents in Qatar with possible food shortages. The land border with Saudi Arabia is closed. Qatar has no other land borders.

More detailed version ...

  • Qatari website blocked in the UAE: see heading below.
  • Internet users in the UAE warned not to say anything online supporting Qatar or criticising the UAE's policies towards Qatar, or risk penalties of up to at least AED 500,000 fine and up to 15 years in jail (07 Jun 2017 reports, 15 year jail reference not found in English text version of law). It would be prudent to assume this also means anything critical of Bahrain, KSA, and other countries which have cut ties with Qatar. This includes websites, Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, blog posts and comments, comments on newspaper websites, Wikipedia article edits, Whatsapp, etc. The UAE is serious about this, people have found in the past that a rant on FB can result in being locked up in the UAE, even if posted when they are outside the UAE.
    • www.reuters.com/article/uk-gulf-qatar-idUKKBN18Y0D7
    • ejustice.gov.ae/downloads/latest_laws/cybercrimes_5_2012_en.pdf (English text of the relevant law).
    • UAE cybercrime law (Law No. 5 of 2012) a relevant legal text appears to be Article 24 which states "... temporary imprisonment and a fine not less than five hundred thousand dirhams and not in excess of one million dirhams ...".
    • Article 26 refers to cybercrimes related to terrorist and other unauthorized groups with penalties of "... imprisonment for a period of at least five years and a fine not less than one million dirhams and not in excess of two million dirhams ..."
    • Articles 27-32, 39, 44, 46 might also apply to varying degrees. If you think your FB post showing a Qatar flag with a message of support is not a big deal in the UAE, read the law and previous stories of people who thought the same way, you might change your mind.
  • UAE newspapers have published articles sympathetic to Qatar, not clear if this means they are exempt, or something else, but don't assume what they publish is an example of what is or is not permitted. If you say similar things in your blog or on FB, and you get prosecuted for it, pointing a finger at another publication is unlikely to be a successful defence.
  • Diplomatic ties cut by Bahrain, Egypt (not a GCC country), Libya ... sort of (not GCC, Reuters report, and it's complicated, see below), Maldives (not GCC, Al Arabiya report), Saudi Arabia, UAE, Yemen (not GCC, BBC report). And on 06 Jun 2017, The Philippines said it would not allow citizens to travel to Qatar for work (see below), but did not say diplomatic ties would be severed.
    • BBC reported 05 Jun 2017 that "The move to end ties bans citizens from Saudi, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Libya and Yemen from travelling to Qatar, living there or passing through it, according to the Saudi government. People affected have 14 days to leave. Meanwhile Qataris will have the same amount of time to get out of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain." Directives for citizens from Egypt, Libya, and Yemen not confirmed. The Saudi government statement we read does not say exactly what the BBC reported. A Reuters report of the SPA statement said "The decision forbids Saudi, UAE and Bahraini citizens from traveling to Qatar, residing in it or passing through it, SPA said. Residents and visitors of those countries must leave Qatar within 14 days. Qatari citizens have 14 days to leave Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar", which did not include Egypt, Libya, Maldives, Yemen from the directives.
    • Bahrain: First to announce suspension of diplomatic ties with Qatar and closure of transport links.
      • Bahrain embassy in Doha to close or suspend services, and Bahraini diplomatic personnel to leave within 48 hours.
      • Qatari citizens living in or visiting Bahrain must leave within 14 days. Bahraini citizens prohibited from living in or visiting Qatar but departure time frame not given for those already in Qatar.
      • Expats resident in Qatar but visiting Bahrain, and expats from Bahrain in Qatar not included in expulsion? MOFA statement did not give an explicit directive for those groups.
      • Bahrain MOFA statement (05 Jun 2017): "The Kingdom of Bahrain announces the severance of diplomatic relations with the State of Qatar to preserve its national security as well as the withdrawal of the Bahraini diplomatic mission from Doha, to provide all members of the Qatari diplomatic mission 48 hours to leave the country with the completion of the necessary procedures and the closure of airspace, ports and the territorial waters for shipping to and from Qatar within 24 hours of this statement. As the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain prohibits citizens from traveling to or residing in Qatar, it regrets that Qatari nationals will not be allowed to enter or pass through its territory. It also grants Qatari residents and visitors 14 days to leave the Kingdom ..."
    • Comoros: diplomatic relations with Qatar downgraded or suspended.
    • Djibouti: diplomatic relations with Qatar "downgraded" (announced Wed 07 Jun 2017).
    • Egypt:
      • Al Ahram news agency reported that "Egypt announced the closure of its airspace and seaports for all Qatari transportation to protect its national security, the foreign ministry said in a statement", but did not say from when. Other sources said the same thing, referring to "Egyptian state media", presumably referring to MENA, but no report found on MENA website (most or all articles on MENA website inaccessible anyway).
      • Qatari Ambassador to Egypt given 48 hours to leave, and Egyptian chargé d'affaires in Doha instructed to return to Cairo within 48 hours (sources: Reuters, Al Ahram, Egyptian MFA, SPA).
      • BBC reported that the Saudi government said Egyptian citizens were banned from traveling through or to Qatar, and those presently in Qatar have 14 days to leave. No information about directives to Qatari citizens in Egypt, or what the Egyptian government said.
    • Jordan: announced they would "downgrade" diplomatic ties with Qatar, and revoke the operating license for Al Jazeera TV.
    • Libya sort of severed ties. Report said a statement was made by the Libyan government foreign minister in Bayda, which is different from the internationally recognized Libyan government in Tripoli, which has not made a statement (so far). So Libyans in the GCC, GCC citizens in Libya, and flights to and from Tripoli are probably not affected ... yet.
    • Maldives: Foreign Ministry statements says "The Government of Maldives has decided to sever diplomatic relations with Qatar effective from today, 5 June 2017". No further information provided regarding transport links, diplomatic relations, or directives to Qatari or Maldivian citizens. Probably unrelated but ... in Mar 2017, the Qatari MFA issued a statement saying "The foreign ministry warns citizens against travelling to Maldives this moment due to the spread of H1N1 virus".
    • Mauritania (west African country): diplomatic ties with Qatar severed or downgraded (07 Jun 2017 reports).
      • Mauritania has an embassy in Doha, Qatar. Qatar has an embassy in Nouakchott, Islamic Republic of Mauritania. References:
        • mofa.gov.qa/en/qatar/qatar-and-the-world?country=MR#The-World
        • nouakchott.embassy.qa/en/home
    • Mauritius (Indian Ocean island): 07 Jun 2017 reports (arabnews.com) say ties cut with Qatar, but MFA statement 06 Jun 2017 seems to say the opposite: "... favours dialogue between the countries involved in the interest of peace and stability in the region and in the world."
      • Mauritius MFA statement: foreign.govmu.org/English/Documents/Communique%20-%20Gulf%20region.pdf
      • In May 2016, the Mauritian President met the Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs in Doha, a Qatar MOFA statement said "The meeting reviewed bilateral relations between the two friendly countries and means of boosting and promoting them in addition to a set of issues of mutual interest."
      • No direct representation of Qatar in Mauritius, Qatari ambassador at embassy in Mbabane, Swaziland is non-resident ambassador to Mauritius.
      • No direct representation of Mauritius in Qatar. Possibly represented by Mauritius embassies in Egypt or Pakistan. Mauritius embassy in Pakistan website says "Mauritian nationals currently living/based/studying in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the State of Qatar, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Bahrain are kindly requested to register with the High Commission of the Republic of Mauritius in Islamabad ...". No reference to Qatar found on Mauritius embassy in Cairo website.
    • Morocco: no news of diplomatic ties cut with Qatar (yet), but Royal Air Maroc cancelled flights to and via Doha (07 Jun 2017 reports).
    • Pakistan: said they had no plans to cut ties with Qatar (05 Jun 2017 Reuters report): www.reuters.com/article/gulf-qatar-pakistan-idUKL3N1J22BH.
    • Philippines:
      • 07 Jun 2017: Previous announcement revoked according to Reuters report: "Filipinos who have job contracts in Qatar will be allowed to go there, the Philippine labor secretary said on Wednesday, scrapping a previously announced ban on the deployment of workers there." Reference www.reuters.com/article/us-gulf-qatar-philippines-idUSKBN18Y19W. DOLE website does not show latest update, most recent statement is still the one suspending OFWs from going to Qatar. No update found on Philippines News Agency website either (www.pna.gov.ph), but other PH and international media report the ban has been lifted.
      • 06 Jun 2017 press release said The Philippines would stop workers from going to Qatar indefinitely or temporarily. Presumably meaning Filipinos trying to exit PH on flights to Qatar, since it seems unlikely the PH government can stop them from traveling from other countries to Qatar. References:
        • www.dole.gov.ph/news/view/3725 - "DOLE suspends deployment of OFWs to Qatar" (06 Jun 2017).
        • www.pna.gov.ph/articles/993757 (06 Jun 2017).
        • www.pna.gov.ph/articles/993816 - "BSP reviews impact of OFW deployment ban to Qatar" (06 Jun 2017).
      • Nothing said in statement regarding a ban on PH citizens already living in or visiting Qatar, or PH citizens planning to visit Qatar for business or holiday, or suspension of diplomatic relations with Qatar. In fact the statement made a point of saying "... OFWs should not worry as Philippines still maintains good diplomatic relations with Qatar."
    • Qatar:
      • Qatari diplomats in the UAE given 48 hrs to leave. Same directive issued for Qatari diplomats in Bahrain and KSA, but similar announcement not made for Qatari diplomats in Egypt, Libya, Maldives, Yemen?
      • Qatari citizens visiting or living in the UAE given 14 days to leave. Same directive for Bahrain and KSA, but not other countries which severed ties with Qatar?
      • Expat residents of Qatar visiting the UAE probably not required to leave but try and confirm with an official authority. The UAE official statement says "... giving Qatari residents and visitors in the UAE 14 days to leave the country ..." which sounds like Qatari nationals who are living in or visiting the UAE, rather than non-Qatari residents or visitors in Qatar, who are in the UAE. But Bahraini, Saudia Arabian, Egyptian nationals might have difficulties going to or through Qatar from the UAE.
      • Citizens of Bahrain, KSA, UAE, residing in or visiting Qatar instructed to leave within 14 days. Diplomats from those countries living in Qatar to leave within 48 hrs?
    • Saudi Arabia (KSA):
      • Qatari diplomats given 48 hours to leave KSA (reported by many sources but explicit official statement not found)?
      • Qatari citizens banned from entry to or transit through KSA. Those living in or visiting KSA must leave within 14 days. Statement wording (on SPA website) refers to "Qatari citizens" or "Qatari", implying directives do not apply to expat residents of Qatar - they are not "Qataris". But expat UAE, Egyptian, or Bahraini nationals in Qatar will be affected by directives from their respective countries.
      • Haj pilgrims from Qatar (citizens, not expat residents) currently in KSA exempted from expulsion directives according to some reports, but SPA report (English version) says they must leave within 14 days. For example, the Saudi Gazette says "However, this decision does not affect Qatari Haj and Umrah pilgrims", and Khaleej Times says "However, these directives do not affect Qatari pilgrims currently in Saudi Arabia", referring to the 14 day expulsion deadline and quoting the SPA report which says the deadline does apply.
      • Some reports also say that Qatari Haj pilgrims planning to travel to KSA can still do so, but the SPA report says they will be denied entry (which would happen by default anyway since transport links have been severed, unless they route via another country). For example the Gulf News says "Qataris still able to visit KSA for Haj", and Doha News says "Qatari pilgrims can still perform Hajj in Saudi Arabia", quoting the SPA report which contradicts their headlines.
      • SPA report 05 Jun 2017 about Umrah: "The decision, for security reasons, unfortunately prevents Qatari citizens' entry to or transit through the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and those Qatari residents and visitors have to leave Saudi territories within 14 days, confirming the Kingdom's commitment and keenness to provide all facilities and services for Qatari pilgrims and Umrah performers."
    • UAE:
      • 08 Jun 2017 (WAM): Emirates Post Group (EPG) has suspended all postal services to Qatar with effect from 06 Jun 2017 indefinitely.
        • www.wam.org.ae/en/details/1395302618125
      • 07 Jun 2017: Reports said that some but not all exchange centers (and banks?) were no longer accepting or giving out Qatar Riyals (QAR) in exchange for other currencies, and the few who still were, were taking a 10% cut on the official exchange rate. No information (yet) on wire or online transactions between Qatar and other countries.
      • 06 Jun 2017 (WAM): Statement issued that said expats with Qatari residence visas would be restricted from entering the UAE (different from what we thought on 05 Jun 2017): "In addition, expatriates residing in Qatar and in possession of a Qatari Residence Visa shall not be eligible for Visa on Arrival in the UAE." No information seen about a similar restriction imposed by Qatar or UAE for expats holding UAE residence visas visiting or planning to visit Qatar.
      • 05 Jun 2017: UAE citizens (not expat residents or visitors to the UAE) banned from traveling to or through Qatar. Statement from UAE implies that UAE citizens already in Qatar must leave but no timeline given: "UAE nationals are likewise banned from traveling to or staying in Qatar or transiting through its territories".
      • [See WAM statement 06 Jun 2017] 05 Jun 2017: Khaleej Times and Reuters said "Residents and visitors of those countries must leave Qatar within 14 days", referring to Bahrain, Saudi, and UAE; implying non-national expats and tourists from those countries who are in Qatar, must leave Qatar. This might be a misinterpretation of the original statements from Bahrain, KSA, and UAE, which referred to "Qatari residents and visitors in ..." the respective countries. We understand that to mean Qatari citizens who are resident in or visiting the UAE, not expat residents of Qatar (they are not Qataris) who are resident in or visiting the UAE.
    • Yemen:
      • Reuters said "Yemen's internationally recognized government cut ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of working with its enemies in the Iran-aligned Houthi movement, state news agency Saba reported" (05 Jun 2017, not found on Saba news website www.sabanews.net/en/).
      • Qatar's participation in the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Al-Houthi group in Yemen to be ended.
      • No other information reported regarding directives issued to Yemenis in Qatar, Qataris in Yemen, or transport links between Qatar and Yemen.
  • Air, land, and sea connections with Qatar have been (Saudi Arabia?) or will be cut. Statement from UAE says within 24 hrs, i.e. by Tuesday morning. QR offices closed in KSA (from 06 Jun 2017), UAE (from 07 Jun 2017).
    • Airspace restrictions: Qatar Airlines and aircraft registered in Qatar to be banned from flying through airspace controlled by countries which have severed ties, not yet clear if this restriction also applies to other aircraft flying out of Qatar.
    • Bahrain:
      • [Check] 06 Jun 2017: The Bahrain Civil Aviation Authority announced that Qatar Airways operating license would be revoked, similar to the statement by the Saudi Aviation Authority.
      • 05 Jun 2017: Gulf Air announced suspension of flights to and from Doha starting from 06 Jun 2017.
    • Egypt: Egyptair expected to stop flights between Cairo (CAI) and Doha (DOH) (BBC report). Other reports said Egypt would close air and sea port transport links to and from Qatar but did not say when.
    • Jordan (06 Jun 2017): Comment seen that QR flights between AMM and DOH cancelled or suspended. Appears to be incorrect, flightstats.com showing QR (and RJ) flights operating normally between DOH and AMM.
    • Morocco (07 Jun 2017): Reports said Royal Air Maroc cancelled flights via Doha to Egypt, KSA, UAE, Yemen (arabnews.com). Bahrain not mentioned, and presumably direct flights to those countries from Morocco are still operating.
    • Saudi Arabia (KSA):
      • 06 Jun 2017 (SPA): "The General Authority of Civil Aviation has decided to cancel all licenses granted to Qatar Airways, close all its offices in the Kingdom within 48 hours from the date of the announcement and withdraw the licenses granted by the Authority to all Qatar Airways employees." Not clear what the phrasing licenses to employees refers to ... if it means all QR employees must leave the KSA, or something else.
      • 05 Jun 2017 (SPA): Air, land and sea borders, and transport connections closed with immediate effect, QR and Sadia flights cancelled.
    • UAE: See section below about Qatar Airways.
  • UAE based airlines Air Arabia (referred to as Al-Rabia in some reports), Emirates (EK), Etihad (EY), FlyDubai have all announced suspension of all flights between Doha and the UAE, effective from 06 Jun 2017 (Tuesday), last flights Monday night or early Tuesday morning between 0000 and 0400.
    • Also Royal Jet announced on 06 Jun 2017 suspension of flights to and from Doha.
  • Other airlines announcing suspension of flights to and from Qatar: Gulf Air (Bahrain) effective midnight 05 Jun 2017 (Gulf Air (GF) and Bahrain News Agency (BNA) statements), Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia, SV). Flynas (XY) doesn't fly to Doha.
  • Land border crossing between Saudi Arabia and Qatar is closed (BBC report). It is the only land border Qatar has with any country.
  • Al Jazeera news website blocked in the UAE (mobile site still accessible on du connection as of 05 Jun 2017). Also reportedly blocked in Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia.

Qatar Airlines flight ban to and from the UAE

Qatar Airways flights to and from the UAE are no longer available from 06 Jun 2017. The QR website is blocked in the UAE so UAE residents and visitors cannot book QR flights, even if originating from somewhere other than the UAE. QR is also excluded from the Google Flights list of airlines if using the website in the UAE, although you can get around that by adding "QR" in the URL. Curiously, even though EL AL Israel Airlines also does not fly to or from the UAE, it is still possible to access the EL AL website in the UAE (we didn't try to make a booking though).

  • [Update Mar 2019] The QR website seems to be inconsistently available when checked in Mar 2017. Sometimes loads fine, sometimes a warning page from UAE telecom provider, sometimes an error not loading page.

Information

  • mobile.twitter.com/qatarairways (desktop version at www.twitter.com/qatarairways seems to be lagging mobile version with updates).
  • Ignore twitter.com/qatarflights, it appears to be unofficial or not updated or both.
  • www.qatarairways.com website blocked by Du as of 9 or 10 Jun 2017. Might be available on mobile connection. Also blocked by Etisalat (not confirmed)?
  • For customers who want to reschedule or cancel tickets, QR Facebook page callback form has the following contact numbers (as of 10 Jun 2017, but check QR FB page for any updates):
    • Qatar: +974 4022 0072
      KSA: +966 92000 1159
      Bahrain: +973 17212202
      UAE: +971 2621 0007
    • If those numbers are unreacheable, try a QR office in another country.

Announcements and news items

  • 07 Jun 2017: QR offices closed in the UAE. Statement from the UAE GCAA said "The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority has taken the decision to close all offices of Qatar Airways in the United Arab Emirates with immediate effect." (WAM and other media reports). So far QR website not blocked in the UAE, and phone calls to Qatar from UAE are not blocked.
  • 06 Jun 2017 update: "Qatar Airways has arranged for three chartered flights on Oman Air to travel from Jeddah to Muscat today, Tuesday 6th June 2017. A connecting Qatar Airways flight will then transport passengers onwards from Muscat, Oman, to Doha, Qatar."
  • 06 Jun 2017 update: "Qatar Airways has suspended all flights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kingdom of Bahrain and Egypt until further notice."
  • 05 Jun 2017: QR announced suspension of all flights between Doha and Saudi Arabia but only for Monday so far: "Qatar Airways has suspended all flights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia until 23:59 UTC on 05th June (02.59 Doha Time on 6th June)." No information from QR so far if that means flights will resume on Tue after that time, or the suspension will continue indefinitely, but website booking page allows flights between Qatar and KSA to be booked from Fri 09 Jun 2017 (05-08 Jun all show as not available).
  • 05 Jun 2017: "Closure of UAE airspace and seaports for all Qataris in 24 hours and banning all Qatari means of transportation, coming to or leaving the UAE, from crossing, entering or leaving the UAE territories ..." (UAE MFA). This implies QR flights will be banned from UAE and UAE airspace by Tuesday 06 Jun 2017 sometime. QR flights to and from UAE were still operating on Monday afternoon 05 Jun 2017. If or when direct links to Qatar are closed, non-Emirati visitors and residents in the UAE can presumably still get to Doha by flying via Kuwait or Muscat (Oman) ... unless those two countries also sever ties with Qatar.
  • 05 Jun 2017: QR Travel Alerts page has official QR announcements. Contact number (in Qatar) given as +974-40230072 but good luck getting through to them at present.
    • www.qatarairways.com/us/en/travel-alerts.page [Update: redirects to QR home page, which is blocked in the UAE].

Qatar Airways (QR) website booking check (05 Jun 2017):

  • Egypt (Alexandria HBE, Cairo CAI, Luxor LXR): flights not available from 05-08 Jun 2017, available from 09 Jun 2017 and after.
  • KSA: flights unavailable from 05-08 Jun 2017, can be booked from Fri 09 Jun 2017 onwards.
  • Bahrain (BAH), UAE (AUH, DWC, DXB, RKT, SHJ): flights still available on 05 Jun 2017, not available 06-08 Jun 2017, available from 09 Jun 2017.
  • Kuwait City (KWI), Maldives (Male MLE), Oman (Muscat MCT, Salalah SLL): no restrictions on availability.
  • Libya (Tripoli), Yemen (Sana'a): no flights (not QR destinations, or flights suspended previously).

Qatari websites blocked in the UAE

[Update Mar 2019, some websites available again in UAE (on du network) ... and then blocked again shortly after we wrote this comment, so we don't know what happened]

Qatar websites which are blocked in the UAE often just show a network or loading error page, not the blocked URL notification.

  • Al Arab newspaper (Arabic) (www.alarab.qa) blocked. Update Mar 2019: available (checked on du network).
  • Al Araby Al Jadeed (The New Arab) (www.alaraby.co.uk), blocked in the UAE. HQ is in London but was founded by a Qatari company.
  • Al Jazeera (www.aljazeera.com) blocked.
  • Al Raya newspaper (Arabic) (www.raya.com) blocked. Sister publication Gulf Times?
  • Al Sharq newspaper (Arabic) (www.al-sharq.com) blocked or unreacheable. Sister publication The Peninsula?
  • Al Watan newspaper (Arabic) (www.al-watan.com) blocked, epaper (www.watanepaper.com) ok.
  • Doha News (blog not newspaper website)
    • Update 15 Feb 2019: Website dohanews.co available (checked on du) but not updated since Jul 2018.
    • www.dohanews.co, not dohanews.com which is WN spam (ironically, not blocked though), dohane.ws (forwards to dohanews.co and blocked), www.dohanews.qa (fail or blocked or not Doha News).
    • www.doha-news.com not blocked, not Doha News either (is "Qatar News" spam or aggregator?).
    • FB page at www.facebook.com/dohanews/ still ok.
  • Gulf Times (www.gulf-times.com), blocked or unreachable, FB page ok (13 Jun 2017). Update Mar 2019: available (checked on du network).
  • www.qatarairways.com, blocked or unreachable. See Qatar Airways heading below. Update Mar 2019, erratic availability.
  • Qatar Day (www.qatarday.com), Home page ok but articles blocked or unavailable, FB page ok (13 Jun 2017). Update Mar 2019: seems to be available (checked on du network).
  • Qatar Living (www.qatarliving.com), not blocked.
  • Qatar Ministry of Interior (www.moi.gov.qa), not blocked.
  • Qatar News Agency (QNA, government news agency) (www.qna.org.qa), blocked or unavailable, FB page ok (Arabic at facebook.com/qnapage/, English at facebook.com/QNAEN/) (13 Jun 2017).
  • Qatar Tribune (www.qatar-tribune.com), blocked, epaper at www.qatartribuneepaper.qa ok, FB page ok (facebook.com/QatarTribune/) (13 Jun 2017). Update Mar 2019: home page available but incomplete loading, news article pages still blocked (checked on du network).
  • The Peninsula Qatar (newspaper, www.thepeninsulaqatar.com) - website reported as blocked in the UAE by the newspaper, but article was available to read in the UAE on a Du connection, appears to be blocked by Etisalat only ... so far (07 Jun 2017). Report said Gulf Times and Qatar Tribune websites also blocked. Ref:
    www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/10/06/2017/The-Peninsula-Qatar-website-blocked-in-UAE. Update Mar 2019: available (checked on du network).

Situations where Qatar is not disconnected from other Gulf countries

  • Special Olympics 2019 in Abu Dhabi, Mar 2019. Qatar (and Israel) both have teams taking part in the games. Reference: www.abudhabi2019.org/athlete-directory/.
  • AFC Asian Cup football tournament Jan 2019, hosted by the UAE. The Qatari football team made an appearance, won against the UAE in the semifinal match at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, and went on to win the final against Japan.
  • Both Qatar and the UAE are members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Both countries have banned imports of products manufactured in their respective countries (similar bans exist between Qatar and Bahrain/Saudi Arabia). Both countries have filed complaints with the WTO claiming that the ban of the other country is against WTO free trade rules. Qatar in Jul 2017, and the UAE in Jan 2019.
    • Reference: www.mofa.gov.ae/EN/MediaCenter/News/Pages/30-01-2019-UAE-Qatar.aspx
  • Qatar is still a member of the GCC (AGCC) (?). No information yet on an official Qexit from the GCC.
  • Dolphin energy pipeline between Qatar and the UAE, gas supplies appear to still be flowing as normal. No information yet on cutting or blocking the pipeline.

References and further reading

Why has this happened? TL;DR version is that Qatar is accused (Qatar denies the accusations) of supporting terrorist organisations including Al Qaeda, ISIS (Islamic State, Daesh) and Muslim Brotherhood, and interfering with domestic affairs of other countries in the Gulf and Arab regions. More reading in these reports ...

Last update Friday 22-Mar-2019. Page development 4L 5C.
Related pages
Related websites (new window)
  • www.mofa.gov.ae - UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation official website. No dedicated section on the Qatar issue found, but navigate Home > Media Center > News, and search on "Qatar" for official statements and press releases.

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