Qatar Tension – Behind the News

Qatar Tension – Behind the News


JACK: Welcome to Qatar. It’s a teeny, tiny country
here in the Middle East. In fact, Qatar is so small that it could fit inside Tasmania
six times. So, yeah, it’s pretty small. But for such a tiny place,
it’s pretty well-known. You’ve probably seen its
national airline about the place – Qatar Airways – or its TV station, Al Jazeera,
that beams right around the world. Welcome back.
You’re watching Al Jazeera. It’s hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
That’s been pretty big news. Then there’s the huge reserves
of oil and gas that the country sits on that keeps lights on and cars driving
in lots of countries, and has made Qatar the richest country per person in the world. But for the past couple of weeks, Qatar has been all over the news
for another reason – a serious disagreement it’s having with some of its big,
powerful neighbours. Two weeks ago, a whole bunch
of Middle Eastern countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, decided to stop dealing altogether
with Qatar. They’ve told any of their citizens
living in Qatar to leave, and they’ve stopped importing
and exporting goods. They’ve even stopped their airlines
from flying into Doha, which is Qatar’s capital. That’s caused a lot of problems. Doha is a major stopover point
for a lot of air passengers, and some people were left stranded. Supermarkets in Qatar, which import 80%
of the food they sell, have been cut off. And it’s put a hold
on major building projects, although, so far, it hasn’t affected construction
of FIFA World Cup stadiums. So, why has this happened? Well, Saudi Arabia has accused Qatar
of supporting some Islamist groups that have radical religious views
and support terrorism. They’re also angry because
they say Qatar supports Iran, which doesn’t get along
with Saudi Arabia. Qatar leaders say
they don’t support terrorism, and some of its allies,
like Iran and Turkey, are now lending support,
sending food and water supplies. While this fight
is a big concern for Qatar and the people who live here, it could also cause some big problems
for the rest of the world. It’s had an effect on oil prices,
and some are worried that, if the tension continues,
it could lead to bigger conflicts. So, many are hoping
this little country sorts out this big problem soon.

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