Trump versus Qatar

Donald Trump continues to use Twitter to get his unfiltered message out. Overnight (NZ time):

The FAKE MSM is working so hard trying to get me not to use Social Media. They hate that I can get the honest and unfiltered message out.

Sorry folks, but if I would have relied on the Fake News of CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, washpost or nytimes, I would have had ZERO chance winning WH

Then he targeted Qatar, who has just had ties with five Arab countries severed (see Complicating Middle East split).

During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar – look!

So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!

Financing of terrorism and specifically of Al Qaeda and ISIS is a major international issue, but I am somewhat sceptical that Qatar is the only country involved.

Perhaps Trump meant that he ands Saudi Arabia just want to poinht their fingers at Qatar, and ignore the rest.

Just last week the Washington Post reported Russia is sending weapons to Taliban, top U.S. general confirms:

The general in charge of U.S. forces in Afghanistan appeared to confirm Monday that Russia is sending weapons to the Taliban, an intervention that will probably further complicate the 15-year-old war here and the Kremlin’s relations with the United States.

When asked by reporters, Gen. John Nicholson did not dispute claims that the Taliban is receiving weapons and other supplies from the Russians.

“We continue to get reports of this assistance,” Nicholson said, speaking to reporters alongside Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. “We support anyone who wants to help us advance the reconciliation process, but anyone who arms belligerents who perpetuate attacks like the one we saw two days ago in Mazar-e Sharif is not the best way forward to a peaceful reconciliation.”

A senior U.S. military official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence on the issue, said the Russians have increased their supply of equipment and small arms to the Taliban over the past 18 months.

“Any weapons being funneled here from a foreign country would be a violation of international law unless they were coming to the government of Afghanistan,” Mattis said, speaking during his first visit to Afghanistan as defense secretary. He added that it would have to be dealt with as such.

Russia is also heavily involved in the Syrian civil war.

In his recent visit to the Middle East Trump targeted Iran. The Independent in  Donald Trump puts US on Sunni Muslim side of bitter sectarian war with Shias:

It was crude stuff. President Trump called on 55 Muslim leaders assembled in Riyadh to drive out terrorism from their countries. He identified Iran as a despotic state and came near to calling for regime change, though Iran held a presidential election generally regarded as fair only two days previously.

He denounced Hezbollah and lined up the US squarely on the side of the Sunni against the Shia in the sectarian proxy war that is tearing apart the Middle East.

Almost all of the 55 Muslim rulers and leaders in the vast hall in Riyadh will have breathed a little easier on hearing Mr Trump’s repeated call “to drive out terrorism”, since they have always described anybody who opposes their authority as “terrorists”.

No public mention of Qatar when Trump was in Saudi Arabia that I can recall.

Qatar only severed all ties with the United Kingdom in 1971. They now have a constitutional or absolute monarchy. Most Qataris are Sunni Muslim with about 20% of Muslims being Shia. There are also 13.8% Christian and 13.8% Hindu, most of whom are immigrants.

Wikipedia says that Qatar joined Saudi Arabia in military action in Yemen:

Qatar’s military participated in the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen against the Shia Houthis. In 2015, Al Jazeera America reported: “Numerous reports suggest that the Saudi-led coalition against opposition groups in Yemen has indiscriminately attacked civilians and used cluster bombs in civilian-populated areas, in violation of international law.”

Wikipedia on the current Qatar diplomatic crisis:

The countries withdrawing diplomatic relations accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism, of interfering with their internal affairs and maintaining relations with Iran. Qatar denies allegations that it supported terrorism, and pointed out that it has been contributing to the U.S.-led fight against ISIS.

US President Donald Trump sided with Saudi Arabia, criticized Qatar, and took credit for the diplomatic crisis.

CNN: Qatar hosts largest US military base in Mideast

As Saudi Arabia, along with a growing list of other countries, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday, it called on its allies to cease all travel and transport with its neighbor.

One of Saudi Arabia biggest allies, however, is the United States, which also happens to maintain its biggest concentration of military personnel in the Middle East at Qatar’s Al Udeid Air Base.

The sprawling base 20 miles southwest of the Qatari capital of Doha is home to some 11,000 US military personnel.

The US Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, provides command and control of air power throughout Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and 17 other nations.

Manned by personnel from the US Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines as well as coalition partner countries, the CAOC is “the nerve center” of air campaigns across the region, according to the Air Force.

In 2016, the base was used as staging ground to fly B-52 airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria. Early in the Afghanistan campaign, F-16 fighters and E-8C Joint Stars reconnaissance planes that monitor ground units were based there, along with refueling tankers.

How that will be affected by the current diplomatic crisis, that Trump is getting very involved in, is anyone’s guess.

Perhaps Trump doesn’t care about US jobs associated with the supply of arms to Qatar:

In 2014, the United States sold $11 billion worth of arms to Qatar, including AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and Patriot and Javelin defense systems. Qatar also announced that it would invest in NH90 helicopters from NH Industries for $2.76 billion.

While in Saudi Arabia Trump announced a $100b arms deal with them.

8 Comments

  1. artcroft

     /  June 7, 2017

    For some reason hearing Trump mouth off on twitter about the situation in Qatar doesn’t reassure me that the situation is being managed as well as possible.

  2. Joe Bloggs

     /  June 7, 2017

    It seems that trump Vs Qatar might also be another Russian wind-up:

    US intelligence officials believe Russian hackers planted a false news story that prompted Saudi Arabia and several allies to sever relations with Qatar, according to CNN.
    FBI experts visited Qatar in late May to analyse an alleged cyber breach that saw the hackers place the fake story with Qatar’s state news agency, the US broadcaster said.
    Saudi Arabia then cited the false report as part of its reason for instituting a diplomatic and economic blockade of Qatar, the report said. The blockade was joined by several other Gulf states and has spiralled into the worst diplomatic crisis for the region in decades.
    Qatar’s government said the 23 May news report attributed false remarks to the emirate’s ruler that appeared friendly to Iran and Israel, and questioned whether the US president, Donald Trump, would last in office, according to CNN.
    The Qatari foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, told the broadcaster that the FBI had confirmed the hack and the planting of fake news.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/07/qatar-fbi-says-russian-hackers-planted-fake-news-story-that-led-to-crisis-report

  3. Joe Bloggs

     /  June 7, 2017

    and news of the first criminal indictments for cybercrimes brought against Russian government officials…

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/15/fbi-charges-two-russian-spies-hackers-yahoo-data-breach

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  June 7, 2017

      Interesting. It’s not news that Russian hackers and crooks have been spamming the world for years. I wonder how much money they’ve made from it and how much has filtered through to Putin and his cronies.

      • Blazer

         /  June 7, 2017

        They do not need. ..chump change. .Al.

  4. Gezza

     /  June 7, 2017

    Qatar simply wants to maintain dialogue with Iran. It wants good relations with all Muslim countries. Now we are seeing the expected reason Saudi has been sold arms, & part of the price they were happy to pay. Trump has no idea what he’s done.