Trump eases Qatar critique, offers to mediate Gulf spat

Judith Bessette
Junho 21, 2017

"As for Saudi complaints about Qatar funding terrorism, it's hard to take them seriously since Saudi Arabia's activities in this respect are all too well known", foreign affairs analyst and political commentator Dan Lazare said.

Numerous others added to the list are figures associated with the Muslim Brotherhood who have made Qatar a base, including Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi. "We have to stop the funding of terrorism". On Tuesday, Trump spoke with Saudi Arabia's King Salman. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that U.A.E. notified the USA about the plan shortly before it went into effect. But the official added that Trump has a good relationship with the emir and would like to leverage it to resolve the situation. He said families were being separated, children removed from school and Qataris forced to deal with food shortages.

DOHA, June 8 (Reuters) - Qatar said on Thursday fellow Arab states' move to isolate it in a row over alleged ties to terrorism is endangering stability in the oil-rich Gulf region but it was not ready to change its foreign policy to settle the dispute and would never compromise. But at the Pentagon, a spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, said only long-term military planning was affected.

The approach has risks because it's a bet that Qatar will ease off its funding of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and other groups rather than writing off the a reliable ally, said Ayham Kamel, director for the Middle East and North Africa at the Eurasia Group.

Still, the Pentagon has been developing contingency plans in case there's any interruption, defense officials said.

Kuwait's emir has been trying to mediate to put an end to the escalating conflict.

It wasn't immediately clear how Qatar, which hosts some 10,000 USA troops, might respond to Trump's critique.

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There was no immediate response for a request for comment on that demand from a Qatari official.

Early this week, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed sanctions on it on the grounds that Doha supports terrorism, with Libya, Yemen and the Maldives following suit.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday evening called for lifting the blockade against Qatar, reaffirming Turkey's support for the Arab country.

"It could force Qatar to abandon its foreign policy objectives - or it could convince Qatar that it's surrounded by bullies and the US won't protect it and a closer alliance with Turkey and Iran could guarantee its long-term viability", Kamel said. In a tweetstorm, Trump said Mideast leaders he'd met with last month had all "pointed to Qatar" as the source of terrorist financing, waxing optimistically that the isolation of the kingdom might be "the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism".

The spat has led to one of the worst Gulf crises in decades, with suspended flights and regional ports closed to Qatari ships.

Qatar's US ambassador, Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani, told The Associated Press his country is counting on Washington to persuade Saudi Arabia and others to back down.

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