On Tuesday, June 20, the State Department issued a public warning to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates over a diplomatic separation between Qatar, an ally of the United States. This warning suggests that Saudi Arabia may have provoked an extremity, drawing the United States on false claims.
It is reported that, “Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the administration was ‘mystified’ that—two weeks after announcing a diplomatic and economic embargo against Qatar over alleged support for terrorism—Saudi Arabia and the UAE have not publicly detailed their complaints.” As a result, the United States continues to doubt actions taken by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia as time goes by.
She says, “At this point, we are left with one simple question: Were the actions really about their concerns about Qatar’s alleged support for terrorism, or were they about the long-simmering grievances between and among the GCC countries?”
The three nations (Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia) are all part of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council. This council is a diplomatic alliance consisting of wealthy Persian Gulf states—Saudi Arabia deems the most powerful.
Having cut ties with Qatar, along with Bahrain and Egypt doing the same, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates no longer have diplomatic relations with the respecting nation. This decision was in retaliation against what the nations said as Qatar’s backing of extremist Islamist organizations, such as the Islamic State.
The Washington Post writes, “The diplomatic crisis has been a test of the new U.S. administration’s pull with Arab allies, and has pitted President Trump’s public support for the Saudi-led action against Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s preference for quiet, backroom diplomacy. Tillerson has had more than 20 calls and meetings devoted to helping resolve the crisis, Nauert said, but now sees little further room for U.S. mediation.”
Nauert then describes that Tillerson wishes to see “results”, saying: “Let’s finish this. Let’s get this going.” As a result, measures were promptly taken—shortly after Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia last month, the blockade was announced. Meeting with the leaders of the United Arab Emirates and Qatar at the GCC gathering, the unity agreement was signed between all.
His departure from Saudi Arabia marked the start of the Qatar blockade. He promptly tweeted his support. While he may have supported the decision, others were not so fond of it.
Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis opposed the measure, calling for “mediation and a quick resolution of the dispute. Qatar hosts the regional headquarters of the U.S. Central Command and launches air operations to Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan from a massive base there.”
It is evident that in efforts to combat the chaos spread by the Islamic State, the base in Qatar remains of great importance. Such agreements that may have seemed beneficial at first may have inevitably added fuel to the issue.
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