Qatar rejects as baseless terrorism designations by four Arab states

Donald Trump's tweets contradict Washington's position on the crisis, as White House spokesperson Sean Spicer said the United States is communicating with all the parties in the Middle East "to resolve issues and restore cooperation" over the Qatar dispute.

Bahrain Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa will meet with Erdogan on Saturday, the foreign ministry said, without giving other details.

The statement said that Trump emphasised the importance of all countries in the region working together to prevent the financing of terrorist organisations and stop the promotion of extremist ideology.

Arab states that have isolated Qatar tightened their squeeze on Friday by putting dozens of figures with links to the country on terrorism blacklists, while Qatar's ally Turkey rushed to its side with plans to send troops, warships and planes.

"The president offered to help the parties resolve their differences, including through a meeting at the White House if necessary", Trump's office said after the call.

Analysts say the crisis is partly an extension of a 2014 dispute, when Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain temporarily recalled their ambassadors over Qatari support for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. "There have been repeated hacking attempts for the last two weeks on Al Jazeera's platforms and yesterday those attempts intensified significantly", Mostefa Souag, the network's acting director-general told Reuters on Friday.

But Tillerson also noted that other countries must do more - and he urged Riyadh and its allies to soften their embargo.

"Qatar has been riding (the) tiger of extremism & terrorism".

Moreover, while in the past Qatar might have had no reservations about keeping a back channel with Iran, this relationship is no longer acceptable by Qatar's Arab neighbors, nor by Trump, who has clearly chosen sides and doubled down on Saudi Arabia.

"I bought lots of vegetables, frozen chicken and milk for my children, things I knew would be the first to disappear from the shelves", said Mohanadi, a former army lieutenant from Qatar's city of Al Khor.

Kuwait's ruler, who is mediating in the crisis, asked him to postpone a speech to the nation earlier this week to give dialogue efforts a chance. For example, reports indicate that Qatar is leaning toward Kuwait as mediator in this crisis, rather than Turkey.

He said the diplomatic rift has not interrupted or curtailed operations at al Udeid air base, a launching pad for USA military efforts in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

Financial support for jihadists across the Middle East lies at the heart of Arab powers' row with neighboring Qatar, an Emirati minister said on Wednesday, identifying three individuals his government wanted Doha to rein in.

The present tension in the Gulf started right after Trump left the region. But whatever the result, Iran should perhaps be warned that if this is what these Arab states are willing to do to their brother, how far would they go to hurt an enemy? And in its bid to lobby the U.S. administration, the Saudis spent about $270,000 at Trump's hotel in Washington between October and the end of March, new foreign agent filings show.

According to the ruling, nationals and expats from Qatar will not granted visa-on-arrival in the UAE.

A Qatari official, however, said the rift was pushing Doha in the direction of leaving the six-state Gulf Cooperation Council, founded in 1981, "with deep regret".

  • Zachary Reyes