Gulf crisis could hit Qatar's World Cup plans
If an export ban is placed on materials for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from Saudi Arabia, delays in the completion of some of the World Cup's projects are likely, Naser al-Tamimi, a U.K.-based Middle East analyst said on Tuesday.
Qatar plans to construct nine new medium and large-sized football stadiums in the country to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Tamimi told Anadolu Agency that Qatar imports large quantities of building materials, cement, steel and food from Saudi Arabia.
"If they stop coming from the Kingdom, Qatar has to import them from other countries, which subsequently means increasing the costs and perhaps incurring delays in the completion of some of the World Cup projects," he explained.
The expert also affirmed that energy supplies, specifically gas exports from Qatar and the UAE, would be unaffected in the current dispute because of established bilateral gas agreements.
"Importantly, it is not in Doha's interest to use gas as a political bargaining chip because it sends a bad signal to the importers of Qatari gas, unless the UAE decides to stop Qatari imports," he said.
"Meanwhile, if Qatar's land borders and air space are closed for any length of time, it could negatively affect the timeline and delivery of World Cup projects," he added.
Air traffic and the transportation of goods including foodstuff across the land border to Qatar could also be negatively impacted resulting in increased costs while pushing inflation rates higher, he explained.
Tamimi noted that the four countries, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt feel emboldened by the results of the Riyadh summit last month and by the alignment of their regional interests with the Trump administration.
On Monday, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen all abruptly announced their decision to sever diplomatic relations with Qatar, citing "national security" concerns.
According to Doha, "baseless" allegations that it supports terrorism are being used to tarnish the image and unity of the Gulf States.
Qatar ranks first in the world in the production and export of LNG.
Rich in oil and natural gas reserves, Qatar has a gross national income per capita of over $138,000, according to 2015 World Bank figures.
There are 200 planned investment projects in the country that need investments of almost $200 billion.