Trump's attitude to Qatar crisis has profound implications
- Author: Zachary Reyes Jun 08, 2017,
Jun 08, 2017, 16:09
"We have moved from severing diplomatic relations to a comprehensive blockade of worldwide conventions and human rights conventions, not only for Qataris but also for citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries", Marri told a press conference on Tuesday evening.
"I can't help you with that", Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said in response to a question about reconciling the president's social media remarks and Department of Defense comments about the USA ally. "The nations of the Middle East will have to decide what kind of future they want for themselves, for their countries, and for their children", the U.S. leader said at the time.
In a potentially important move on Monday, the biggest oil producer in the world - fellow USA ally Saudi Arabia- and several other countries including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, while halting all transportation with the country.
Although Qatar hosts the largest American military airbase in the Middle East, Trump threw his weight behind the Saudi-led effort to isolate the emirate in a surprise move on Tuesday. Rumors surfaced yesterday that the Saudi leadership sent a 24-hour ultimatum to Qatar through the Kuwaiti government, with unspecified demand.
"So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off", Trump said in his two-part Twitter message on Tuesday. "Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!" President Donald Trump has been doing the opposite.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the move was rooted in longstanding differences and urged the parties to resolve them.
The comments also appeared out of line with remarks Trump made during his visit to Saudi Arabia last month, when he described Qatar as a "crucial partner" in the region.
The Pentagon on Tuesday commended Qatar for hosting US forces and its "enduring commitment to regional security".
He said the airline tried to re-route passengers through airlines of those countries with which Qatar still has diplomatic relations, but failed as most of the airlines are over booked.
They accused the oil-rich nation of supporting terrorism, with Riyadh also saying Doha collaborated with Iran-backed militias.
A military plane serving the campaign against ISIS takes off or lands at the Al Udeid air base approximately every ten minutes, according to the U.S. Air Force.
When asked whether Trump's Twitter messages could impact USA forces' safety in Qatar, Davis said the Pentagon has not taken additional security measures.
"We already have very high levels of security".
"This is not about regime change - this is about change of policy, change of approach", Gargash said.
He did not know whether there have been high-level discussions between Pentagon officials and Qatar since the president's tweets.
Jet Airways, Air India Express and IndiGo are now operating flights to Qatar's capital Doha through Pakistan and Iran airspace following restrictions imposed by the UAE.
France is calling on Qatar to answer its Gulf neighbors' questions in order to find a solution to the current diplomatic crisis.
"That includes important bases we have around the region, Qatar, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain", Davis said.
"His [Trump's] message was that we need unity in the region to fight extremist ideology and terrorist financing", a United States official told Reuters news agency. "While they have made progress, they recognize more work remains to be done".
Russian officials on Wednesday denied allegations that Russian hackers breached Qatar's state news agency and planted a fake news story that led to a split between Qatar and the other Arab nations.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meanwhile, spoke with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar about resolving the dispute.
"Pentagon officials are still assessing the effects from Monday's decision by several Arab countries".
Qatar Airways, one of the region's major long-haul carriers, has suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain until further notice.