As Tillerson calls for calm, Trump calls out Qatar on terror

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain welcomed on Saturday U.S. President Donald Trump's demand for Qatar to stop supporting terrorism but did not respond to a U.S. Department of State call for them to ease pressure on the Gulf state.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan late on Thursday ratified two deals on deploying Turkish troops in Qatar and training the Gulf nation's gendarmerie, according to the presidency.

He said Qatar as an independent nation also had the right to support groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, despite its neighbors outlawing the Sunni Islamist group.

Gulf allies tightened their squeeze on Qatar on Friday by putting dozens of figures with links to the tiny, wealthy nation on terrorism blacklists.

Finally, he said, there's "Al Jazeera and other Qatari-funded media, which is just an irritant to these governments because they see Al Jazeera as the platform through which opposition members talk to their own publics".

Qatar's Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani on Friday described the blockade as a violation of global law and sad there was an attempt to mobilise worldwide opinion against Qatar.

"For us, unity is clearly necessary for maximum effect on this front (against terrorism)", he said.

The oil-rich Qatar has been isolated by its neighbours, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates since early this month.

The president did not limit his call for greater action against terrorism to Qatar alone but instead urged "Qatar and other nations in the region to do more to combat terrorism and do it faster".

Saudi Arabia has already closed its airspace to Qatari planes, and - along with Bahrain - has revoked the licence of Qatar Airways.

The US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the blockade imposed by some Gulf countries is unacceptable, calling for de-escalation in the current Gulf crisis.

The statement added that Qatar does not support terrorist groups.

Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said: "While current operations from Al Udeid Air Base have not been interrupted or curtailed, the evolving situation is hindering our ability to plan for longer-term military operations".

Trump has moved the US even closer to Saudi Arabia.

A senior White House official said it was a "misperception" that there was a policy difference between Tillerson and Trump, noting that they were stressing different parts of the same strategy. The administration is also demanding Qatar drop all support for Syria's Salafist groups; those which adhere to the ideology of al Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and their subsidiaries. Trump was pissed off about the rumors that he didn't realize Qatar hosted CENTCOM?

  • Zachary Reyes