Qatar tensions still

The Qatar dispute continues to simmer, with a risk of war being suggested.

Reuters:  Gulf leaders trade barbs as Qatar dispute shows no let-up

Gulf states traded public barbs on Saturday, showing little sign of resolving the region’s deepest rift in years, five days after Arab nations severed diplomatic, trade and transport ties with the tiny Gulf kingdom of Qatar, .

Foreign leaders expressed growing concern over the dispute, which pits Qatar against Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt. With backing from U.S. President Donald Trump, they accuse Qatar of supporting their regional arch-rival Iran as well as Islamist militants.

After German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the situation “very unsettling” on Friday, her foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, cautioned on Saturday that it could lead to war.

Kuwait…

…has led a regional effort to mediate, but the four states intensified the pressure on Friday by placing dozens of people with alleged links to Qatar on terrorism blacklists.

A senior UAE official…

…followed on Saturday by calling Qatar “duplicitous”, alleging in a series of tweets that its funding of militants had sown chaos and violence throughout the region.

Qatar’s foreign minister,,,

…fired back that there was “no clarity” in such accusations, speaking in an interview with RT Arabic in Moscow after emerging from talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

“Qatar is accused of having a hidden relationship with Iran, but its relations with Iran are clear, transparent and time-tested,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, noting that the UAE does more trade with Iran than Qatar does.

He denied that Qatar supported Egypt’s outlawed Islamist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip. He dismissed as “fantasy” a Saudi media report that he had met in Baghdad with the head of Iran’s Quds Force, controlled by Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov…

…told Sheikh al-Thani of Moscow’s concern and called for talks.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan…

…- who has pledged food and troops to Qatar in the face of a blockade from its neighbours – hosted Bahrain’s foreign minister and urged that the dispute be resolved by the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Niger…

announced it had recalled its ambassador to Qatar in solidarity with Arab countries.

The US and Trump

The US position is still as confused as Trump

However, mixed messages from U.S. officials appeared to complicate the diplomacy, as Gulf media cited selectively from divergent statements to bolster their positions.

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain…

…issued statements welcoming U.S. President Donald Trump’s demand the previous day for Qatar to stop supporting terrorism, while ignoring a U.S. State Department call for them to ease pressure.

Saudi Arabia…

…said it was committed to “decisive and swift action to cut off all funding sources for terrorism” in a statement carried by the state news agency SPA, while Bahrain hailed U.S. efforts to ensure “international solidarity” on the issue.

The United Arab Emirates…

…praised Trump’s “leadership in challenging Qatar’s troubling support for extremism” in a separate statement released on Friday.

Trump had accused Qatar of being a “high level” funder of terrorism on Friday, even as the Pentagon and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson cautioned against the military, commercial and humanitarian effects of a blockade imposed by Arab states and others.

A separate SPA report on Saturday acknowledged Tillerson’s call for Qatar to curtail support for terrorism, without mentioning that he had also said the crisis was hurting ordinary Qataris, impairing business and harming the U.S. fight against the Islamic State militant group.

Saudi Arabia said its action followed the conclusions of last month’s Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, where Trump delivered a speech about Islamist extremism.

Trump said he had helped to plan the move against Qatar, although a senior administration official told Reuters this week that Washington had had no indication from the Saudis or Emiratis during the visit that they would sever ties with Qatar.

Has Trump claimed credit for something he had no involvement in?

Is the Trump administration denying US involvement?

The US has their most important Middle easy military base in Qatar and have a deal to supply over $20 billion worth of military aircraft to Qatar.

On Trump’s trip he announced a deal for the US to supply nearly $110 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia.

Trump trumpeted this deal with “jobs, jobs, jobs”.

If US arms in Qatar are used against US arms in neighbouring Saudi Arabia and vice versa there may well be plenty of jobs in the US making bullets and bombs. There may also be a few vacancies in the US military if their soldiers, sailors and airpeople are caught in the middle of it all in Qatar.

But Trump may just send KUshner in to sort it all out and peace may rain on the parched Middle East deserts.

 

6 Comments

  1. David

     /  June 11, 2017

    Its been long reported that wealthy Qatari,s fund islamic extremists that are causing all sorts of issues outside of Qatar and that their rulers turn a blind eye to it. Surely its a good thing that is stopped and throughout the region, Qatar was apparently the early funder of ISIS. Wealthy Saudi,s hardly have clean hands in this either.
    If it was Obama endorsing sanctions on funders of islamic extremism would we not be celebrating something finally being done ?

    • Gezza

       /  June 11, 2017

      “Wealthy Saudi’s hardly have clean hands in this either.”

      Yes. Like, in & very connected to, their government?

  2. David

     /  June 11, 2017

    The Saudi governments position is a bit more nuanced in that there have been direct attacks and ISIS want to bring down the Saudi royal family, I think they have wanted to crack down a lot harder but have been faced with a white house concentrated on making friends with Iran now that has changed they have been emboldened to crack down by Trumps approach and the fear of Trumps unpredictability if they dont. Trump is a businessman and negotiater of deals not a diplomat and perhaps the strong undiplomatic approach is what is needed here, everything else has failed.

    • Gezza

       /  June 11, 2017

      He’s got no idea what he’s done. None. Falling for Netanyahu’s ego-massaging & Saudi smooth moneying & smooth talking might not bite him in the bum, but it will come back to haunt his successors. Big time.

      • Gezza

         /  June 11, 2017

        Can’t understand why Qatar hadn’t given the US base & troops the bums rush. They should do, asap. No use to them now, in fact they’ve got 8,000 vipers in their nest.

        • Gezza

           /  June 11, 2017

          They could go back to Saudi. The Saudis booted them out after they became toxic, but they’ll probably happy to grease up their butts now. If not, Trumpy could ask why.