Qataris stock up on food as Arab embargo threatens imports

Food, fuel in addition to flights: How Qatar may suffer

Residents of Qatar stocked up on food on Monday, worried which a diplomatic spat with its powerful neighbors could turn into an economic blockade in addition to lead to shortages.

Six countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates in addition to Bahrain severed relations with Qatar after accusing the tiny gas-rich state of supporting terrorism in addition to destabilizing the region. Qatar says the claims are “unjustified” in addition to “baseless.”

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Qatar is usually one of the wealthiest countries inside entire world however the desert state relies heavily on imported food. World Bank data showed the item imported about $1 billion worth of foodstuffs in 2015, with about a third of which coming via Saudi Arabia in addition to the UAE.

Saudi Arabia has severed all land, sea in addition to air links with Qatar, in addition to the UAE has closed its airports in addition to harbors to Qatari flights in addition to shipping.

“Food security is usually a big issue here in Qatar,” said Adel Abdel Ghafar, visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center. “So the closing of air in addition to land crossing has implications for the food supply chain.”

He said his local supermarket was busier than usual on Monday, in addition to some shelves were left empty, including the milk in addition to poultry sections.

Some people posted pictures of crowded stores on social media.

“Stores are busy enough in #Doha, #Qatar during Ramadan. however #Saudi border closures in addition to looming food shortages are an even crazier scene,” tweeted Doha resident, Allison Furlong.

Related: Qatari stocks plunge 7% after Arab states cut ties

If supplies via its two biggest sources dry up, Qatar will have to look elsewhere.

“This kind of [the diplomatic crisis] has prompted a bit of run on the supermarkets, the government hasn’t yet responded however I think the item will respond quickly in addition to get milk, poultry in addition to various other supplies via various other countries,” said Abdel Ghafar.

Iran offers food

Fars, a semi official Iranian news agency, said Iran is usually prepared to ship food to Qatar through its three ports inside south of the country within 12 hours.

Qatar’s willingness to work with Iran is usually one of the sources of tension with its Arab neighbors. Iran in addition to Qatar share the largest gas field inside entire world — South Pars.

Its 1,800 trillion cubic feet of reserves have turned Qatar into the entire world’s leading exporters of liquified natural gas, in addition to driven an economic boom.

qatar map

Despite its massive gas wealth, an Arab embargo of Qatar might hurt. Qatari diplomats have been given 48 hours in addition to Qatari citizens 14 days to leave Saudi Arabia, the UAE in addition to Bahrain.

Flights suspended until further notice

National carriers in those countries will stop flying to Qatar via Tuesday until further notice, creating a major headache for business inside region.

Qatar estimates trade with the UAE alone was worth $7 billion in 2015, with more than 4,000 Qatar companies operating inside UAE.

The Qatari embassy inside UAE advised its citizens to travel via Kuwait or Oman if they are unable to fly direct. the item also offered to pay for their tickets if they don’t hold the means to purchase them.

Some expats inside Gulf were also scrambling to find various other ways of getting to, in addition to via, Doha. Many families live in Dubai in addition to commute to Doha — normally just a 45 minute flight away.

Related: Mideast airlines halt Qatar flights as Gulf crisis escalates

Gulf economic forum split

The diplomatic spat has created a huge rift inside Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional alliance made up of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait in addition to Qatar.

Established in 1981, the GCC acts as a forum for coordinating political in addition to economic policy. For example, GCC citizens are supposed to be able to travel in addition to work freely in any member state.

Members have also worked together on tackling the slump in oil revenues, agreeing plans to introduce sales taxes across the region.

Tensions escalated last week after the official Qatar News Agency ran a report quoting the Emir of Qatar generating favorable comments about Iran in addition to criticizing President Trump’s hardline policy towards Tehran. Qatar said the news agency had been hacked, in addition to which the report quoting the emir was “fake news.”

sy88pgw (Dubai) First published June 5, 2017: 12:14 PM ET

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Qataris stock up on food as Arab embargo threatens imports

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