Trump appears to take credit for Gulf nations' move against Qatar

Trump appears to take credit for Gulf nations' move against Qatar

The last flights operated by Emirates and other major regional airlines left the capital, Doha, early Tuesday after Arab nations cut ties with Qatar.

The move came just two weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia and vowed to improve ties with both Riyadh and Cairo to combat terrorism and contain Iran.

He later tweeted: "Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!"

"They said they would take a hard line on funding... extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar".

The Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday appeared to side with Saudi Arabia in its diplomatic rift with Qatar, said he and Republican leaders must "get it right" on health care and tax cuts, and was preparing to host members of Congress at the White House.

The tweet could pose difficulties for the U.S. in explaining why it remains in Qatar, host to the one of the Pentagon's largest military bases in the Middle East and a linchpin in the campaign against ISIS.

Passengers of cancelled flights wait in Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Doha, Qatar, Monday, June 5, 2017.

Qatar's leader, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, spoke by telephone overnight with his counterpart in Kuwait and, in order to allow Kuwait to mediate, chose to put off a planned speech to the nation, the foreign minister said.

Saudi Arabia meanwhile said Tuesday it revoked Qatar Airways' operating licenses and closed the airline's offices in the kingdom. In fact, US officials were blindsided by Saudi Arabia's decision to sever diplomatic ties with Qatar in a coordinated move with Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, current and former officials in Washington told Reuters.

UAE state minister for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said Tuesday on Twitter that a "guaranteed roadmap" was needed before it would consider mending ties.

In an interview with Doha-based satellite news network Al-Jazeera, Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said Kuwait's ruler had asked Qatar's emir to hold off on giving a speech about the crisis late Monday night.

They accused the tiny Gulf state of harbouring extremist groups and suggested Qatari support for the agenda of Saudi Arabia's regional arch-rival Iran.

Qatar vehemently denies the accusations against it, calling them baseless.

The embassy official advised Pakistani citizens to avoid travelling to Saudi Arabia through Qatar Airways, or on any flights from Qatar, keeping in view the volatile situation. "It's exceptionally quiet, nearly eerie".

There are about 10,000 US forces in Qatar.

Qatar is also a major regional diplomatic player and global investor and is set to host the World Cup, football's biggest tournament, in 2022.

In their statement, Bahrain cited Qatar's "media incitement, support for armed terrorist activities and funding linked to Iranian groups to carry out sabotage and spreading chaos in Bahrain".

At the same time, Qatar's foreign ministry responded by saying that the decision of their Gulf neighbors would "not affect the normal lives of citizens and residents".

That appears to be a response to stories like this one, from the Washington Post, saying Trump's tweets will probably hurt his effort to enact his travel ban.

The emirate has directly and indirectly supported Islamist groups across the Arab world, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

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