When we're developing our business continuity programmes, do we consider political rows a threat to our organization? Do we consider whether a dispute between countries could filter down and affect us? Political tensions certainly exist worldwide, you only have to look at the relationship between the US and Mexico to understand this, or the tensions that are growing between the UK and the EU as Brexit looms closer.
Qatar has now found itself at the centre of such an issue as many of its neighbouring Gulf States are cutting diplomatic ties and closing borders. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, the UAE and Yemen have all turned their backs on Qatar, leaving it in isolation, and Qatari citizens in those countries have been given two weeks to leave.
Qatar is the world's largest suppliers of liquefied natural gas, although exports don't seem to be affected so far. The problem is imports, which Qatar relies on for 80% of its food. With its only land border closed on Saudi's insistence, a backlog of lorries has now been held up and is waiting to be re-routed.
The problem is further exacerbated as many containers destined for Qatar arrive via Dubai where they are transferred to smaller vessels to complete the journey. With a ban all vessels travelling to, or arriving from, Qatar, this is no longer an option.
Added to this, many infrastructure and construction projects in Qatar use consultants from elsewhere in the Middle East, and those consultants are now unable to travel to Qatar to support these projects, meaning delays are inevitable.
Clearly the cause of the diplomatic tension is important, but organizations must think beyond this and consider how it will have an impact on them and their supply chains. While it is unknown how long this situation will last, a similar incident occurred in 2014 and went on for nine months, so it may not end any time soon.