Trump Weighs In On Gulf Diplomatic Rift

Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber al-Sabah will meet with Saudi Arabia's King Salman and seek to resolve the worst infighting among the Arab world's strongest and richest powers in decades.

Saudi Arabia, which Trump visited earlier this month, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain have broken ties with Qatar.

Qatar has denied the charges, describing them as "unjustified" and based on slander, and has assured that it "fights against terrorism and extremism".

Trump's tweets raise questions about whether he either implictly or actively encouraged Saudi Arabia and the UAE to isolate Qatar during his trip to Riyadh two weeks ago, said Helima Croft, global head of commodities strategy at RBC Capital Markets. "Leaders pointed to Qatar - look!", Trump tweeted. "Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism", Trump said in a series of tweets. They were soon joined by South Asian country Maldives and West African nation Mauritania.

It was unclear how Trump's broadside against Qatar might affect the US -led coalition fighting IS. Suddenly, Qatar was blacklisted by four Arab countries and the Donald was taking credit for it.

The president's sharp critique of Qatar pulled the U.S. directly into a conflict that American diplomats had wanted the bickering parties to resolve among themselves.

The crisis will have wide-ranging consequences, not just for Qatar and its citizens but across the Middle East and for Western interests.

We will not go into intricacies of the issue but the development has the potential to harm the much-needed unity and cohesion of the Islamic world.

Qatar hosts 8,000 USA military personnel at al Udeid, the largest US air base in the Middle East and a launchpad for USA -led strikes on the Islamic State militant group.

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During the meeting, Al Jazeera's Culhane reported, the USA leader "bragged about how much military equipment the United States sold" to Qatar.

"All effected passengers in Doha on route to Saudi Arabia have been assisted with alternative onward travel arrangements", the airline said.

Hackers even managed to commandeer Qatar News Agency's Twitter account and post false statements attributed to foreign minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, accusing Middle East countries of conspiring against Qatar.

Qatar is in the Persian Gulf between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

It also accused Al-Jazeera of promoting "terrorist groups" and supporting rebels in Yemen.

Both U.S. and Qatari officials told CNN that the FBI recently sent a team to help investigate the alleged hacking, and the director of the Qatari Government Communications Office confirmed that Qatar is working with the FBI on an ongoing investigation.

Allegations that Qatar has funded terror groups was reiterated by President Trump on Tuesday morning, who seemed to back the isolation of the country by its neighbors.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE also halted sugar exports to Qatar, causing panicked consumers to buy up the remaining stock at supermarkets.

If accurate, the allegations would indicate Russian efforts to undermine United States foreign policy, building on USA intelligence concerns that Russian hackers attempted to influence last year's presidential election, won by Trump.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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