Siding Against Ally Qatar, Trump Injects US Into Arab Crisis

Frederick Owens
June 7, 2017

Clubs and national teams from Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen have used Qatar as a neutral base to play competitive matches in recent times due either to diplomatic issues with other nations or because of conflicts at home.

Kuwait's Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, visited Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to hold talks with the Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz on ways of defusing the escalating crisis.

The two top members of the Senate foreign relations committee said they're still evaluating the bombshell decision by countries in the Persian Gulf to diplomatically freeze out Qatar, as well as the President's reaction to the crisis.

No details were released of the discussions and the emir has now left the kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency said. As far as India is concerned, New Delhi has done well to state this is an internal matter for the Gulf countries to handle.

While he stressed the importance of unity in the region, he went on to say that all countries involved - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates - along with Qatar have "done things we don't like".

President Donald Trump injected the United States into a volatile crisis among America's Mideast allies, siding Tuesday with Saudi Arabia and other countries against Qatar in a dispute that threatens to disrupt efforts to defeat the Islamic State group and counter Iran. "We're still evaluating what it means what it happened with Qatar".

All of this is easier said than done, of course, but it is worth the effort, especially in this holy month of Ramadan as we preach affection, compassion, forgiveness, justice and peace.

"He said every country in the region has their own obligations and they need to live up to terminate their support for terrorism and extremism however it manifests itself anywhere in the world", she said.

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Hamas, which rules the Gaza strip, said it was "shocked" by Saudi Arabia's call on Qatar to stop supporting the group.

Trump's comments put the Pentagon in a tough spot and it praised Qatar for a hosting an important usa air base, and for its "enduring commitment to regional security". Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, expressed gratitude to Qatar for supporting the USA presence, outlining no plans to adjust American military posture.

However, football's world governing body FIFA has said it remains in regular contact with Qatar, which is set to host the 2022 World Cup.

In announcing it was cutting ties, Riyadh accused Doha of harbouring "terrorist and sectarian groups that aim to destabilise the region including the Muslim Brotherhood, Daesh (IS) and Al-Qaeda". Ankara also maintains good relations with Saudi Arabia and feels the current spat between Doha and Riyadh only serves to create cracks among Sunni ranks.

"The measures are unjustified and are based on false and baseless claims", Qatar said in response to Monday's announcement.

But Qatar has also always been accused by its Gulf neighbours and Egypt of supporting extremist groups. The statements were friendly to Iran and Israel and questioned if President Trump would remain in office.

Qatar has an independent streak that has often angered its neighbours.

The ransom, which Iraqi officials said was in the "hundreds of millions of dollars", was believed to have been paid to militias with close ties to Tehran.

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