Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Than
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-ThanReuters

The governments of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates have withdrawn their ambassadors from Qatar, accusing that government of “failing to implement the principles of the Gulf Cooperation Council.”

The three Gulf countries pulled their ambassadors in protest over Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood, especially in Egypt.

Qatar sent billions of dollars to Egypr during the regime of former President Mohamed Morsi. After the Egyptian army booted Morsi out of power, Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E. and Kuwait became Egypt's main backers, pledging $15 billion in aid.

In addition, the gulf countries are critical of Qatar for providing a top radical Islamist, Yusuf Qaradawi, with a regular spot on pan-Arab satellite television channel Al Jazeera.

The Gulf countries have long assailed Qatar for supporting radical Islam, fearing that their regimes could be at risk. In a statement, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE said that the move was needed to “protect the safety and stability” of GCC countries. Qatar, the countries said in a statement, had violated a GCC agreement to oppose “anyone threatening the security and stability of the GCC whether as groups or individuals - via direct security work or through political influence, and not to support hostile media.”

Qatar expressed “regret and surprise” at the move.