Opinion: The Rift between Qatar and the GCC can threaten Trump’s foreign policy

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The GCC crisis erupted on May 24, when the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) was hacked and quoted Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in a fake statement saying that Iran is an “Islamic power” and that Qatar enjoys “good” relations with Israel. The statement also quoted the emir calling Hamas “the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people,” as well as saying that Qatar had “strong relations” with Iran and the United States.

On June 5, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Qatar over allegations that it is supporting terrorism and embraces Iran and its regional agenda. The block also imposed an economic embargo of Qatar—which includes cutting off all food supplies and access to medicine—by closing off land and maritime borders.

On June 6, Trump weighed in on the dispute by posting the following message on Twitter: “During my recent trip to the Middle East, I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar—look!”

Despite Trump’s public criticism of Qatar, the symbolism of the arms agreement signed by al- Attiyah and James Mattis underscored that the U.S.-Qatar strategic alliance remained intact despite problems. Mattis announced during the agreement signing, “I believe that (Qatar’s) Prince Thani inherited a difficult, very tough situation, and he’s trying to turn the society in the right direction.” While the agreement had been years in the making, its high-profile signing ceremony was expedited to send a clear message to the GCC of U.S. support for Qatar’s sovereignty and value as a key U.S. strategic ally.

Source Credit: The National Interest
Read full story: http://nationalinterest.org/feature/the-rift-between-qatar-the-gcc-could-threaten-trumps-foreign-21829?page=show


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