Trump takes sides in Arab rift, suggests support for isolation of Qatar

Another Arab nation, Jordan, said after studying the causes of the crisis with Qatar it was downgrading its diplomatic representation and withdrawing licenses for the Amman bureau of the Doha-based TV news channel Al-Jazeera.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties and transportation links with Qatar, a fellow member of OPEC.

On Tuesday, Trump tweeted criticism of Qatar that mirrors that of the Saudis and others in the region who have long objected to Qatar's foreign policy.

"So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off".

Speaking earlier to the BBC, Thani responded to Trump's tweets, denying any funding "of terrorism" and saying there was no "evidence that the Qatar government is supporting radical Islamists".

President Donald Trump is offering to mediate the Qatar diplomatic crisis by hosting the feuding countries for a White House meeting.

"They said they would take a hard line on funding. extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar".

The diplomat did say Trump's tweets appear to be consistent with the message he delivered during his visit to Saudi Arabia last month in which he called on Muslim nations to root out extremists and unite against Iran. He said the "fairly large cost" on Qatar's economy would convince it to change its policies. "Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!"

The Kuwaiti emir played a pivotal role in mediating a compromise in a 2014 diplomatic dispute between Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf states.

Kuwait, also a GCC member, did not join its neighbours in severing ties with Qatar.

"Qatar is, it is a country that is - from which financiers have helped finance al Qaeda, ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and other similar organizations, including the Taliban, and I don't understand why", Royce said at the time.

Saudi Arabia said it was cutting ties due to Qatar's "embrace of various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilizing the region", including the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida, the Islamic State group and militants supported by Iran in the kingdom's restive Eastern Province. But Gulf Arab neighbours and Egypt have always been irked by its maverick stances and support for the Muslim Brotherhood, which they regard as a political enemy. On its website, the carrier said the suspension of its flights would take effect Tuesday and customers are being offered a refund.

A year ago during a visit to Saudi Arabia, Obama administration officials raised the issue of Saudi funding to build mosques in Europe and Africa that are helping to spread an ultra-conservative strain of Islam.

Doha-based satellite news network Al-Jazeera reported trucks carrying food had begun lining up on the Saudi side of the border, apparently stranded.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said isolating Qatar, including the use of sanctions, would not resolve any problems.

On June 5th, 2017, it adds, "Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain announced further restrictions on travel and residence affecting Qatari nationals". Qatar's stock market slid to its lowest close since January 2016 and the Qatari riyal QAR= came under pressure.

  • Zachary Reyes