Jordan downgrades diplomatic relations with Qatar

It also allows Bin Salman and Bin Zayed to send a clear message to their 37-year-old Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani: In this neighborhood, we run the show.

Qatar must end its support for the Palestinian group Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood before ties with other Arab Gulf states could be restored, said Saudi Arabia's foreign minister.

Trump, in a tweet on early Tuesday morning, appeared to support the Gulf nations' decision to sever ties with Qatar.

In a series of early-morning tweets, Trump appeared to endorse the accusation that the small, gas-rich kingdom funds terrorist groups, a serious allegation against a strategic US partner that hosts a base with some 10,000 American troops. UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash threatened more curbs if necessary and said Qatar needed to make "iron-clad" commitments to change policies on funding militants. "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!" he said.

"So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off", Trump said in a series of tweets.

The "leaders discussed the critical goals of preventing the financing of terrorist organisations and eliminating the promotion of extremism by any nation in the region", the White House statement said.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday.

The president's sharp critique of Qatar pulled the US directly into a conflict that American diplomats had wanted the bickering parties to resolve among themselves. Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, whose home state Missouri produces the F-15 and F-18, said she hoped the crisis would not derail it.

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have revoked the licences of Qatar Airways and ordered its offices to close. The Qatari government claimed the report was fake, and had been planted by hackers.

Qatar has denied the allegations, in the biggest diplomatic crisis to have hit the region in years.

Qatar has an independent streak that has often angered its neighbours. That's despite accusations that Saudi Arabia, too, finances terrorism. Western officials have expressed concerns that Qatar may back fundamentalist groups, but they've also raised similar issues about Saudi Arabia.

But even with the White House's attempts at clarification, Trump's statements raise questions as to how the move impacts the US military base in Qatar, as well as how the diplomatic stress serves American priorities and goals in the region.

Trump's tweets Monday and Sunday calling for an even tougher travel ban in the wake of the London terror attacks and denouncing the judicial system as slow and political may undercut his case in court, legal experts said.

"The United States' relationship with Qatar is strong and we cooperate with Qatar in a number of areas, including in the fight against terror", a State Department official said in a statement on Tuesday.

On Monday, Trump's secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, encouraged the sides to "sit down together" to resolve irritants he said had "bubbled up" for some time.

Turning the screws on the world's richest country per capita thanks to its abundant reserves of natural gas put the Saudis and Emiratis in direct confrontation with a country that remains a key American ally, and which hosts the U.S. Central Command.

  • Zachary Reyes