Last week, the Middle East came face-to-face with its biggest diplomatic issue in many years after Arab nations including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of destabilizing the region with its support for Islamist groups.
The countries said they would halt all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, eject its diplomats and order Qatari citizens to leave the Gulf states within 14 days.
Qatar is surprisingly central to anti-terrorism efforts and conversations, given how tiny the country is. Qatar hosts a huge U.S. airbase for missions to Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq. This crisis pits U.S. allies against each other, disrupting trade, flights and business activity in one of the world’s most strategically important regions. Oil prices have already increased significantly, rising 79 cents a barrel. It is important to note that Qatar has the highest GDP per capita, and sits much highest than even Liechtenstein. It is likely that Qatar banks will survive pullout of foreign funds, according to S&P Global Ratings.
Of course, 45 says he backed a strict move against Qatar, taking an even stronger stance than Sec. of State Tillerson, who urged the Saudi-led coalition to ease its “blockade” of Qatar. He said that the cutoff is hindering the fight against Islamic State and provoking food shortages (Bloomberg).
If anything, this is just another example of our president failing to listen to his more experienced advisers, and acting with disregard for diplomatic balance and relations.
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- Bloomberg: QuickTake Q&A
- The Guardian: Gulf plunged into diplomatic crisis as countries cut ties with Qatar
- Bloomberg: Trump Says He Backed Saudi-Led Diplomatic Isolation of Qatar