Entrepreneur Moutaz Al Khayyat will airlift around four thousand cows to Qatar in 60 flights to fill the deficit of milk caused by regional blockade with its neighboring gulf countries.
On June 5, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting extremist groups, such as Palestinian militant group Hamas, and Shia regional power Iran. The country shares a land border with Saudi Arabia, and more than half of its food and major part of the milk comes from there.
To overcome the blockade and threat of scarcity, Khayyat, chairman of Power International Holding, is planning to airlift 4000 cows from Australia and USA with the help of 60 Qatar Airways flights. Khayyat said he had already made plans to bring the cows to Qatar by sea but the Gulf rift made him accelerate the move. His company’s production of fresh milk at a farm north of Doha will now begin at the end of June, as supposed to September.
Qatar, a tiny, oil-rich Gulf nation, is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but the embargo by its neighbors and fellow Sunni states has forced it to look elsewhere for revenue streams and transport links. Qatar’s allies, Iran and Turkey, have stood with them and have delivered food supplies to the country and Turkey has agreed to deploy troops. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed the isolation of Qatar as “inhumane” and “un-Islamic” . Iran has opened its airspace to Qatari flights after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE closed off inbound flights from the country. Iran is a Shia-led country that rivals Saudi Arabia for regional influence. Qatar’s close relationship with the Islamic Republic is one of the factors believed to be behind the rift.