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Why Tiny Qatar Angers Saudi Arabia and Its Allies: QuickTake Q&A

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Saudi Arabia and three of its Arab allies cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday, furious with what they see as the tiny emirate’s tolerant attitude toward Iran and Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. The moves by the Saudis, Bahrain, the U.A.E. and Egypt came soon after U.S. President Donald Trump visited the region and joined Saudi Arabia in lambasting Iran for sponsoring terrorism from Syria to Yemen.

It’s mostly, but not all, about Iran. The spark for this flare-up was a report by the state-run Qatar News Agency that carried comments by Qatar ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani criticizing mounting anti-Iran sentiment. Qatari officials quickly deleted the comments, blamed them on hackers and appealed for calm. Criticism by Saudi and U.A.E. media outlets escalated after Sheikh Tamim phoned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani over the weekend in apparent defiance of Saudi criticism.