Pentagon can't square Trump comments on Qatar

Pauline Gross
June 8, 2017

The move came just two weeks after Trump visited Saudi Arabia and vowed to improve ties with both Riyadh and Cairo to combat terrorism and contain Iran.

The president's comments were strikingly different in tone and substance from the message sent a day earlier by Defense Secretary James Mattis and other US officials.

In another tweet, the U.S. president said that leaders of unnamed Middle Eastern nations "pointed to Qatar" when he demanded funding of "radical ideology" to be stopped.

Separately, the Pentagon thanked Qatar for hosting the largest USA air force base in the Middle East. They said they would take a hard line on funding. extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. "I consider them a host to our very important base at al Udeid".

On Monday, risk consultancy the Eurasia Group said, "The recent measures by the anti-Qatar alliance signal commitment to forcing a complete change in Qatari policy or creating an environment for leadership change in Doha".

Moscow on Wednesday dismissed allegations that Russian hackers helped spark the diplomatic crisis around Qatar, after CNN reported that United States officials believed they planted a false news story.

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 USA -led strikes on the Islamic State militant group that has seized parts of Syria and Iraq.

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"We hope for a quick resolution and we have no intention of altering our current operations, not only in Qatar but anywhere in the [Gulf Cooperation Council]".

"Many of Qatar Airways' flights to southern Europe and Africa pass through Saudi Arabia", the site said.

"His message was that we need unity in the region to fight extremist ideology and terrorist financing", a USA official told Reuters news agency. "While they have made progress, they recognize more work remains to be done".

"The United States' relationship with Qatar is strong and we cooperate with Qatar in the fight against terror", the official added.

The official also said the agency was notified of the Qatar split "only immediately prior to the announcement", and is "pressing the parties involved to resolve the dispute as quickly as possible".

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and several other countries cut their ties with Doha on Monday in part because of comments posted briefly on the Qatar News Agency's website on May 23. Yemen's internationally backed government, which has lost the capital and large portions of the war-torn country, also cut relations with Qatar, as did the Maldives and one of conflict-ridden Libya's competing governments.

Other reports by GizPress

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