Qataris banned from Qantas flights to Dubai - airline executive

Qatar, a relatively small country jutting into the Persian Gulf, has a border with Saudi Arabia and is vulnerable to its larger neighbor.

In contrast the rift is expected to weigh on global oil prices, keeping them at the relatively low US$50-$55 a barrel, they said.

Tensions on the Arabian Peninsula may have sharpened after Qatar reportedly made a tremendous ransom payment to Iran-backed militias in Iraq and al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria, after militants abducted a group of Qatari royal family members during a hunting expedition.

The Pentagon, whose air operations for the Middle East are headquartered at an air base in Qatar, where at least 10,000 US service members are stationed, opted for balance and calming words.

"We believe that common sense and logic and will convince Qatar to take the right steps", he said.

Yezid Sayigh, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, said that the new moves reflected a "bullishness" prompted by the Trump administration's stances - on the confrontation with Iran and on a willingness to look the other way on human rights violations.

He later tweeted: "Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!" "Secretary of State Rex W Tillerson talked about this today", she added.

He called for resolving the split through dialogue and said Turkey will continue working to end the dispute.

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A CNN report then cited Qatar's foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani as saying Federal Bureau of Investigation experts had concluded that Russian hackers had a hand in the furor.

The broadcaster said USA intelligence officials believe the hackers planted a false story on Qatar's state news agency that may have prompted the Saudi Arabia-led sanctions on Qatar. The White House hopes to see the issue "de-escalated" and "resolved immediately", he said.

Kuwait's emir, who has spent decades as a diplomat and mediator in regional disputes, hosted Sheikh Tamim last week as the crisis began brewing.

Still, the minister struck a defiant tone, rejecting those "trying to impose their will on Qatar or intervene in its internal affairs". Moscow had not responded to the reports on Tuesday night.

The U.S. military began moving into Al Udeid not long after the September 11 terror attacks when Saudi Arabia asked the Americans to leave.

THE United Arab Emirates says ex-pat Brits who show any sympathy towards "ISIS-supporting" Qatar can expect up to 15 years in jail.

While Trump, too, shares the Saudi and UAE goals of weakening hardline Islamic movements and stemming Iran's influence, American officials hadn't publicly singled out Qatar as a problem.

Earlier Tuesday, Jordan said it will downgrade its diplomatic representation with Qatar after examining the "cause of the crisis".

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"I think our relationship with Qatar is one that's strong".

Saudi Arabia, which Trump visited earlier this month, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain have broken ties with Qatar.

But Qatar has also always been accused by its Gulf neighbours and Egypt of supporting extremist groups.

The leaked emails, which show Otaiba's comments during a yearlong campaign to discredit Qatar in the US, threaten the UAE's hope to win official American blessing for its pressure campaign against the Qataris.

Speaking in Paris, he said the economic measures should put pressure on Qatar to act "like a normal country". Yet Qatar also aids Sunni extremist groups fighting the Syrian government.

The president's critique of Qatar inserted Washington directly into the crisis that has pitted the tiny country against Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. On its website, the carrier said the suspension of its flights took effect Tuesday and that customers are being offered refunds.

Saudi Arabia's aviation authority revoked the license of Qatar Airways and ordered its offices to be closed within 48 hours.

They have instructed their citizens to leave Qatar within 14 days and given Qatari nationals 14 days to leave their territories.

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