CrisisWatch

Tracking Conflict Worldwide

CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, an early warning tool designed to help prevent deadly violence. It keeps decision-makers up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises every month, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace. In addition, CrisisWatch monitors over 50 situations (“standby monitoring”) to offer timely information if developments indicate a drift toward violence or instability. Entries dating back to 2003 provide easily searchable conflict histories.

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April 2023

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Bahrain and United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced plans to restore diplomatic ties with Qatar, concluding process to end almost six-year intra-Gulf rift.

Bahrain and UAE announced plans to re-establish formal relations with Qatar. Bahrain and Qatar 13 April revealed intention to restore diplomatic ties after pair held second round of dialogue at Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretariat in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh. Shortly after, UAE and Qatari officials 18 April told reporters both countries were working to reopen embassies and restore ties; Bahrain and UAE, along with Saudi Arabia and Egypt, severed ties with Qatar and imposed blockade in June 2017, marking beginning of tense intra-Gulf confrontation lasting until 2021. While announcements mark full resumption of ties between Qatar and all former blockading states, signalling entire GCC’s intent to turn page after 2017-2021 rift, tensions and friction points continue to plague intra-GCC relations, including economic competition between Saudi Arabia and UAE as well as disputes between UAE and Qatar over latter’s alleged ties to Islamists in region.

January 2021

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Country signed reconciliation deal to end three-and-a-half-year intra-Gulf dispute. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emiratesand Bahrain agreed to reopen their land, air and sea borders with Qatar after all four states and Egypt 5 Jan signed al-Ula Declaration at Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh; agreement ends three-and-a-half-year blockade of Doha by three neighbouring states and Egypt who cut ties with Qatar in July 2017.

July 2020

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

UN top court backed Qatar in dispute with United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt over air blockade. Following three-year anniversary of intra-Gulf dispute in June, International Court of Justice 14 July upheld International Civil Aviation Organisation’s decision to hear Qatar’s case regarding closure of airspace to Qatari civil aviation; Qatar Airways next day announced it will seek compensation for financial losses due to “illegal airspace blockade” and 22 July launched international arbitration against blockading Gulf states, seeking $5bn compensation for financial losses due to airspace blockade. Following meeting with FM Mohammed al-Thani, U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook 26 July said blockade has “continued for too long” and was harming shared regional interests in stability and security. U.S. along with Qatar and five other Gulf states 15 July imposed sanctions on six targets accused of providing financial support to Islamic State (ISIS) leadership in Iraq and Syria. Qatari defence minister and Turkish counterpart 20 July met in Turkey’s capital Ankara to discuss bilateral security cooperation.

June 2020

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Qatar continued amid new legal development coinciding with three-year anniversary of Gulf crisis. Regional dispute that led Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Egypt to break off diplomatic relations with Qatar entered its fourth year on 5 June. World Trade Organization (WTO) 16 June issued verdict in dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia; WTO said Saudi Arabia had breached obligations to protect intellectual property of Qatari-owned broadcaster by actively supporting Saudi pirate broadcaster.

May 2020

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Suspected Saudi disinformation campaign further dimmed prospects for resolution of ongoing Saudi-Qatari spat. Saudi Gazette newspaper 3 May alleged that member of Qatari ruling family, Sheikh Mubarak bin Khalifa Al-Thani, had called on Emir Al-Thani to step down, prompting next day wide circulation of Twitter hashtag “coup in Qatar” alongside video appearing to show gunshots in Qatari city Wakrah; Doha-based professor said video was fake, tracing pattern of amplification to Saudi-based Twitter users.

March 2020

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

After sudden rise in COVID-19 cases with 238 new cases detected in one day 11 March, govt 15 March said it would suspend incoming flights for two weeks starting 18 March and approved $23.3bn economic stimulus. Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani 15 March ordered delivery of six tonnes of medical aid to Iran.

February 2020

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Govt 15 Feb confirmed that efforts to resolve intra-Gulf dispute between Qatar and Saudi-led bloc stalled early Jan, after preliminary discussions that began in Oct failed to reach diplomatic breakthrough. U.S. and Afghan Taliban 29 Feb signed peace deal in capital Doha (see Afghanistan).

January 2020

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Amid rising regional tensions Emir Al-Thani visited Iran and govt enhanced energy ties with Kuwait. Following U.S.’s 3 Jan killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, Emir Al-Thani 12 Jan met Iranian President Rouhani in Tehran; after meeting, Emir said “only solution to these crises is de-escalation from everyone and dialogue”. State-run Qatar Petroleum 5 Jan signed 15-year deal to provide 3mn tonnes of liquefied natural gas to Kuwait each year from 2022.

December 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Emir Al-Thani did not attend Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Saudi capital, Riyadh 10 Dec but sent PM, highest ranking Qatari to attend GCC summit since beginning of dispute in June 2017; meeting achieved no breakthrough on tensions between Saudi-led bloc and Qatar. FM 15 Dec said recent talks with Saudi Arabia had broken stalemate and introduced line of communication; FM announced govt would analyse demands of blockading countries but would refuse to alter relations with ally Turkey to end dispute.

November 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain sent players to Gulf Cup football tournament in Qatar to run 24 Nov-8 Dec, which they had previously planned to boycott. In further sign of possible thawing relations, Emir Al-Thani 15 Nov offered condolences to UAE after death of Sheikh Sultan, second son of country’s founder Sheikh Zayed. During visit to Qatar, Turkish President Erdoğan 25 Nov announced completion of Turkish military base there.

September 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Govt exchanged harshly worded statements with Saudi Arabia that quashed hope of mediation in intra-Gulf crisis. Saudi Arabia 7 Sept stated it expected Doha to fall into line with its regional policy and that there would be no solution to crisis “unless Qatar responds to the demands of the four countries [imposing blockade on it] and stops supporting terrorism, embracing extremists and stopping its interventions in [their] internal affairs”. Qatar called Saudi statement “sudden and unfounded” and accused Riyadh of maintaining “coercive” approach of “denial and evasion” in dealing with dispute.

August 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Qatar 4 Aug held 15th joint coast guard meeting with Iran in Iranian capital, Tehran. Iranian FM Zarif met Emir al-Thani and FM al-Thani in Doha 12 Aug and advocated for regional dialogue forum and non-aggression pact between Iran and Qatar. FM al-Thani 17 Aug attended signing of Sudanese transitional govt agreement in Sudanese capital, Khartoum. FM al-Thani 19 Aug met Somalia PM Khayre in Somalia capital, Mogadishu and announced Qatari firm signed investment deal to construct port in Hobyo. Govt 20 Aug hosted talks in Doha between U.S. and Taliban.

July 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Emir al-Thani 9 July met U.S. President Trump in Washington and offered to help ease U.S.-Iran tensions. Govt 7-9 July hosted in Doha talks between Taliban and U.S., and between Taliban and Afghan govt (see Afghanistan).

June 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

FM al-Thani 21 June called for dialogue to end conflict between Iran and Gulf states. Govt 27 June hosted new round of U.S.-Taliban talks in Doha.

May 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Qatar 25 May confirmed that it will take part in U.S.-led Palestine investment meeting to be held 25-26 June in Manama, Bahrain, as part of upcoming U.S.-developed Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

April 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Govt 16 April called for enforcement of arms embargo against Libyan Field Marshal Haftar leading offensive against capital Tripoli backed by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, and called for his troops to withdraw from areas they have occupied (see Libya). Intra-Afghan dialogue between Afghan representatives and Taliban planned to take place in Doha 20-21 April postponed indefinitely 18 April amid disagreement over participation and representation (see Afghanistan).

March 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

During Russian FM Lavrov’s tour of Gulf states, Lavrov 4 March discussed with FM Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani possible sale of Russian S-400 missile defence system to Doha, despite U.S. and Saudi opposition. Govt early March hosted further round of U.S.-Taliban talks in Doha (see Afghanistan).

February 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Qatari forces 20 Feb joined other Gulf countries in Saudi Arabia for Peninsula Shield military exercise. Govt 25-28 Feb hosted U.S.-Taliban talks in Doha following previous meeting in Doha in Jan (see Afghanistan).

January 2019

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Afghan Taliban and U.S. officials held talks in capital Doha 21-26 Jan; Taliban said they expected new round of talks in Doha in Feb (see Afghanistan).

December 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

In further steps toward asserting independence from Saudi-led regional bloc, Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani did not attend 9 Dec Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Riyadh. Hosting Turkish and Iranian FMs at Doha forum 15-16 Dec, FM Thani said regional alliance “must be reshaped”. Qatar 3 Dec withdrew from Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

November 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

FM al-Thani 22 Nov said govt would maintain ties with Iran despite U.S. sanctions; stated readiness to mediate between U.S. and Iran. Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad 4 Nov reshuffled his cabinet to elevate younger technocrats.

September 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Military chief of staff 10-12 Sept attended 15th Gulf Cooperation Council Supreme Military Committee meeting in Kuwait; first meeting since Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar in June 2017 (see Kuwait).

August 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Emir Tamim bin Hamed al-Thani, Qatar’s head of state, 15 Aug pledged to invest $15bn in Turkey, helping to slow Turkish lira’s precipitous fall (see Turkey).

July 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Govt and U.S. 24 July launched expansion of al-Udeid military base, 35km from Doha, which hosts largest U.S. military presence in Gulf.

June 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Govt 13 June pledged $500mn investment package for Jordan, including 10,000 jobs for Jordanians in Qatar.

March 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

National Counterterrorism Committee 22 March published names of 28 people and entities on terrorism blacklist, including Qatari nationals on other Arab countries’ blacklists. Govt denied Bahraini and Emirati claims that Qatari fighter jets 27 March intercepted civilian planes in Bahraini airspace.

January 2018

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Feeding tensions between govt and Saudi Arabia-led bloc comprising United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt, govt complained to UN 11 and 13 Jan that UAE aircraft had violated Qatari airspace 21 Dec and 3 Jan. UAE 15 Jan said Qatari fighter jets had that day “intercepted” two Emirati civilian planes en route to Bahrain. Qatari sheikh said in video released 14 Jan that Emirati Crown Prince was holding him in UAE capital, Abu Dhabi against his will; sheikh left UAE for Kuwait 17 Jan.

December 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Kuwait City 5 Dec, which lasted one day instead of two as planned, failed to ease dispute between Saudi-led bloc and Qatar; blockading countries Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain sent only ministerial-level delegations.

November 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Saudi Arabia-led bloc maintained diplomatic and trade blockade on Qatar for alleged support of “terrorism”; blockading countries 22 Nov added two Islamic organisations and eleven individuals to terror blacklist, claiming they are backed by Qatar.

October 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Ahead of Gulf visit late-Oct, U.S. Sec State Tillerson 19 Oct called on Saudi Arabia-led bloc to engage with Qatar to end diplomatic and trade blockade of Qatar imposed early June for alleged support of Islamist groups including Muslim Brotherhood; Qatar 24 Oct reiterated its commitment to Kuwait-led mediation.

September 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Following call 8 Sept between leaders of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to discuss ongoing diplomatic rift, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman 9 Sept suspended dialogue with Qatar, accusing it of “distorting the facts”. U.S. President Trump 7 Sept offered to mediate.

August 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Amid ongoing Gulf diplomatic crisis, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman 17 Aug reopened air routes to Qatar and land border, closed since 5 June, to allow Qatari pilgrims to travel to Mecca for annual Hajj pilgrimage, and said he would send private jets to transport pilgrims at his own expense. Saudi state carrier 20 Aug claimed Qatar ignored its requests to land in Doha to collect pilgrims; Qatar denied allegation. Govt 24 Aug restored ambassador to Iran. Govt told Chadian diplomats to leave country after Chad accused Qatar of trying to destabilise country and told its diplomats to leave (see Chad).

July 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Saudi-led coalition blockading Qatar since early June 2 July extended by two days deadline for govt to meet thirteen demands issued 23 June; FM 4 July rejected demands as “unrealistic”. Govt 17 July accused United Arab Emirate (UAE) of breaking international law following reports UAE allegedly behind late-May hacking of Qatar state news agency, which helped prompt crisis. Saudi-led coalition 18 July urged Qatar to adhere to six principles including combating extremism and terrorism, first released 5 July, rather than meet thirteen demands. U.S. Sec State Tillerson 21 July said Gulf states should lift blockade after praising Qatar for signing anti-terror memorandum with U.S. 11 July. Blockading nations 25 July added eighteen entities with alleged ties to Qatar to terrorism blacklist first released 8 June, and 30 July reiterated initial thirteen demands. Saudi FM same day described alleged Qatari call to internationalise Muslim holy sites as “a declaration of war against the kingdom”; Qatar denied making call.

June 2017

Middle East & North Africa

Qatar

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Yemen broke off diplomatic ties and closed transport links and borders with Qatar 5 June, accusing it of destabilising region by supporting Islamist groups including Muslim Brotherhood and cosying up to Iran. Blockading countries began expelling Qatari diplomats and residents. Libya, Maldives and Mauritania also later broke off diplomatic ties. Turkey sided with Qatar, sending humanitarian aid and 18 June deploying more troops to its base in Qatar to undertake military exercises. Iran sent five aeroplanes carrying food. Saudi Arabia-led bloc 23 June issued ultimatum via Kuwait that Qatar should meet thirteen demands in ten days to ease isolation; demands included to close down Al Jazeera broadcaster, scale back cooperation with Iran, close Turkish military base and end contact with groups such as Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar said demands unrealistic.

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