06:22 GMT26 February 2021
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    Persian Gulf Disarray: a Number of States Sever Relations With Qatar (238)

    US President Donald Trump has likely given the green light to Saudi Arabia to start the crackdown on Qatar and promote its own vision for the Middle East.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US President Donald Trump encouraged the leaders of Saudi Arabia to move recklessly and aggressively against Qatar during his visit to their capital Riyadh in May, analysts told Sputnik.

    "It's clear that Saudis have been emboldened by Trump's visit," White Rose journal editor and conflict analyst Paul Gottinger said on Wednesday. "He seems to have given the green light to Saudi Arabia's vision for the Middle East."

    U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bomber arrives at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar (File)
    © REUTERS / U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Terrica Y. Jones
    On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia and its United Arab Emirate (UAE) allies gave Qatar a 24 hour ultimatum to expel all the members of the Muslim Brotherhood terror group (outlawed in Russia) and the Palestinian Hamas movement from the country.

    The immediate break of the diplomatic ties with Iran was also reportedly one of the conditions laid down by Riyadh.

    "Rather than reining in their destabilizing and reckless behavior in the Middle East, the Trump administration is encouraging it, and the semi-blockade of Qatar is a serious crisis for the tiny country. [Trump] even tweeted statements in support of the Saudi-led effort to isolate Qatar," he said.

    Trump had abandoned all the restraints and norms of superpower diplomacy in the Middle East, Gottinger pointed out.

    "The US would normally be playing a mediating role among its GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] allies, but US leadership has evaporated under Trump. Trump doesn't understand complicated matters of foreign policy," he said.

    Qatar has pursued a somewhat independent foreign policy and has backed the Muslim Brotherhood, which Saudi Arabia wants to crush, Gottinger explained.

    "Qatar has used Al Jazeera to push its goals and give exposure to… voices critical of the dictatorial regimes in the region. Obviously, Saudi Arabia finds this threatening," he said.

    Gottinger warned that Saudi policies in the regional were becoming increasingly unpredictable under King Salmon and his son, Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Prince Mohamed.

    "Saudi Arabia is not a rational actor, as demonstrated by its disastrous war in Yemen. So it is possible they may make some reckless attempt at regime change. It seems we are in uncharted waters," he warned.

    University of Illinois Professor of International Law Francis Boyle told Sputnik the Trump administration was irresponsibly supporting the Saudi aggressive policy against Qatar to advance its own anti-Iranian agenda.

    "It appears that President Trump is encouraging Saudi Arabia to put the screws into Qatar in order to force it into line with their hostile anti-Iranian Agenda along with the other GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] states," he said.

    If Qatar does not capitulate to the Saudi demands, Riyadh would probably carry out an exercise in ‘regime change’ or even outright invasion as it did in Bahrain, Boyle warned.

    "This is also a harbinger of far worse things to come against Iran," he said.

    Boyle is the author of "Destroying World Order: US Imperialism in the Middle East Before and After September 11."

    Persian Gulf Disarray: a Number of States Sever Relations With Qatar (238)


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