Just two weeks after the US President Donald Tump left Riyadh, the reverberations of his beliefs can be felt in the Gulf region. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen have snapped diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing the island nation of supporting terrorist groups, including the al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and those backed by Iran, according to a report by the Indian Express. The report added that Qatar’s partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have also blocked all transport and communication links with it asking all the nationals to leave within two weeks. In Qatar’s capital city Doha, the government has not been as pro-active in its reaction to this crisis aside from initial protests.
Another report by The Indian Express had stated that Donald Trump had called Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and spoke to him asking for a united Gulf Cooperation Council effort to fight terrorism and promote stability in the region, amid deepening diplomatic crisis in Qatar. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer also told the reporters that United States is continuously in touch with other countries to resolve the matter. “I think that his message of toughness on terror finance and extremism is being heeded by countries in the region. But the US still wants to see this issue de-escalated and resolved immediately, keeping with the principles that the president laid out in terms of defeating terror financing and extremism,” he said.
The Saudi-US alliance strengthened after Trump’s visit as the US President reversed Barack Obama’s insistence on avoiding entanglements in West Asian conflicts. The alliance was given a major boost by defence deals valued at $110 billion, with the promise that they could go up to $350 billion over the next ten years.
Meanwhile, US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said even though Qatar has taken a few steps to fight terrorism, there is a long way to go. “I think our relationship with Qatar is one that’s strong. It’s one that we continue to cooperate with Qatar and other countries in the region in the fight against terrorism. Secretary of State Rex W Tillerson talked about this today,” she added. “He said every country in the region has their own obligations and they need to live up to terminate their support for terrorism and extremism however it manifests itself anywhere in the world,” she said.