'Saudi desire to rule over region will never come true'

American President Donald Trump took sides in the deep rift in the Arab world on Tuesday, praising the Middle East countries' actions against Qatar. "So good to see Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off".

While Derrick Irwin has yet to make a Qatar "shopping list", the money manager who helps oversee $8.3 billion at Wells Capital Management in Boston says a handful of local companies might look attractive for longer-term investors buying on weakness.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain announced Monday they were severing diplomatic relations and closing air, sea and land links with Qatar.

They accused Qatar of supporting terrorist campaigns against Bahrain and of destabilizing the region by backing Iran and supporting terrorists and extremists elsewhere - charges which Qatar denies.

Trump's comments were made despite the fact that Qatar is home to the largest United States military base in the Middle East, with at least 8,000 USA personnel based in the country.

Saudi Arabia, the powerhouse among those cutting ties to Qatar, said it did so due to the country's "embrace of various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilizing the region", including the Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and militants supported by Iran in the kingdom's restive Eastern Province.

"I think this actually shows the influence [Trump's] trip had to isolate those who fund terrorism in the region", said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive diplomatic issue.

"Qataris are questioning whether this is going to end up in seeing a change in leadership itself in Qatar", Al Qassemi told the AP in his office in Sharjah, near Dubai.

The UAE, along with several other powerful Arab states, severed diplomatic ties with the fellow Gulf state over its alleged support of radical Islamist groups and Iran.

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.

Speaking in a rare interview, Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told The Associated Press that Qatar has "chosen to ride the tiger of extremism and terrorism" and now needed to pay the price.

If Qatar is economically weakened or decides to retaliate against Trump's 140-character allegations, it has leverage.

Soccer's world governing body Federation Internationale de Football Association has said it remains in regular contact with Qatar, which will host the 2022 World Cup. "Secretary of State Rex W Tillerson talked about this today", she added.

The four countries have suspended all flights to and from Qatar, pulled their ambassadors from Doha and ordered Qatari diplomats to leave. Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway, a Defense Department spokesman, said one day before Trump's tweets.

Beyond hosting USA troops, Qatar has invested billions in the US and increased its clout in Washington along the way.

  • Leroy Wright