Lunes, 23 Octubre, 2017

Kuwait tries to mediate crisis between Qatar, Arab nations

Irune Rengel | 07 Junio, 2017, 12:17

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain said on Monday they would sever all ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

On Monday, Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she was not "aware" whether the president received any word that the Gulf state nations were going to cut ties with Qatar during his recent visit to Saudi Arabia and referred further questions to the State Department. While he has even held out hopes that a communal effort could pave the way for Israeli-Arab rapprochement, the Qatar crisis serves as a reminder of the region's many fault lines that challenge USA diplomacy.

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

Lazare compared the Saudi accusations against Qatar for funding Islamist terror groups to a falling out among thieves.

She noted that Tillerson, who is also the former CEO of Exxon Mobil, is familiar with the region and ideally suited to lead a diplomatic resolution between the Arab states.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said in an interview with Al Jazeera that Kuwait was instrumental in resolving a similar crisis three years ago with other members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. I consider them a host to our very important base at al Udeid."Some 8,000 US military personnel are stationed at al Udeid in Qatar, the largest USA air base in the Middle East and a staging ground for US -led strikes on the Islamic State militant group that has seized parts of Syria and Iraq. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!" They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar.

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Energy-rich Qatar has long had strained ties with its neighbors but the move by Riyadh and its supporters shocked observers, raising fears the crisis could destabilize an already volatile region.

While Trump, too, shares the Saudi and UAE goals of weakening hardline Islamic movements and stemming Iran's influence, American officials hadn't publicly singled out Qatar as a problem. Like earlier administrations, Trump's had kept its concerns private while publicly praising Qatari efforts to stamp out terror financing. He didn't take sides. However, as Trump is trying to increase ties with Russian Federation, which is aligned with Iran, the US could face some pushback from Moscow as well.

But even with the White House's attempts at clarification, Trump's statements raise questions as to how the move impacts the USA military base in Qatar, as well as how the diplomatic stress serves American priorities and goals in the region. And it is trying to galvanize the Arab world to assume greater responsibility in fighting IS, something governments won't be able to do if they're consumed with internal spats. Lindsey Graham, summing up America's strategic conundrum.

The Pentagon cited no immediate effects from the instability on its operations.

"They are host to our operational base", Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said when asked if Qatar is a supporter of terrorism.

Yet a prolonged crisis will put significant pressure on Qatar.

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The single land border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia is now open/operational but this could close at any time.

If Qatar is economically weakened or decides to retaliate against Trump's 140-character allegations, it has leverage.

Even as Trump applauded the Arab countries' move, the Pentagon on Tuesday renewed praise of Qatar for hosting US forces and its "enduring commitment to regional security".

In September 2014, Clinton wrote in an email that "Qatar and Saudi Arabia... are providing clandestine financial and logistical support to ISIL [Daesh] and other radical Sunni groups in the region", he noted. American citizens aren't especially big fans of Saudi Arabia, as evidenced by the reaction to Trump's trip there to make the arms deal, but Iran isn't at the top of our list of allies, either.

And in its bid to lobby the US 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.

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