It appears that the Gulf blockade against Qatar will remain in place for the foreseeable future after representatives from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE dismissed Qatar's response to their 13 demands as “not serious” and pledged to continue to keep the Gulf state under political and economic sanctions until it changes its policies.
And after a local businessman said he would import 4,000 cows to the gulf desert late last month, the first cows are already starting to arrive. As CNN Money reports, Qatar has taken delivery of 165 cows that were airlifted into the Gulf state to ease a milk shortage caused by sanctions imposed by Qatar’s neighbors. They are the first shipment for local dairy company, Baladna, which is ramping up production just weeks after Qatar's four Arab state antagonists cut off diplomatic ties.
Qatar has repeatedly denied allegations that it supports terrorism, and has said it would not comply with the gulf state’s other demands, including shuttering its media properties, including Al Jazeera. The first cows, purchased from a German supplier, arrived Tuesday on a Qatar Airways flight from Budapest, Hungary. Other cows are expected to be sourced from the Netherlands, the U.S. and Australia.
Most of Qatar's fresh milk and dairy products, meant for Doha’s more than 1 million residents, came from Saudi Arabia up until the sanctions were declared. That supply was cut off after the kingdom and its allies cut transport links with "a country that spends $500 million a week to prepare stadiums and a metro before the soccer World Cup in 2022.
In an act of generosity toward its distressed Gulf neighbor, Iran dispatched four cargo planes of food to Qatar and plans to provide 100 tons of fruit and vegetable every day. Qatar has also been holding talks with Iran and Turkey to secure food and water supplies after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut links, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.
Within days of the embargo, Turkish and Iranian products filled empty shelves in the supermarkets of Qatar and local factories ramped up production.
According to Bloomberg's calculations, it will take as many as 60 flights for Qatar Airways to deliver the 590-kilogram beasts that Moutaz Al Khayyat, chairman of Power International Holding, bought in Australia and the U.S. “This is the time to work for Qatar,” he said. In addition to the abovementioned airlifted Turkish dairy goods and Iranian fruit and vegetables, there’s also a campaign to buy home-grown produce. Signs with colors of the Qatari flag have been placed next to dairy products in stores. One sign dangling from the ceiling said: “Together for the support of local products.”