Political News

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

Posted June 6, 2017 8:48 a.m. EDT

President Donald Trump appeared to take credit Tuesday for Gulf nations' decision to cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar, a major US ally.

"During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar - look," he tweeted.

The tweet could pose difficulties for the US in explaining why it remains in Qatar, host to the largest US military base in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates broke off relations with Qatar in the worst diplomatic crisis to hit Gulf Arab states in decades.

The three Gulf countries and Egypt accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region. Qatar -- which shares its only land border with Saudi Arabia -- has rejected the accusations, calling them "unjustified" and "baseless." Yemen and the Maldives also cut ties with Qatar.

Qatari citizens have been told they have 14 days to leave Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE, and those countries also banned their own citizens from entering Qatar.

The feud among Washington's closest Gulf allies could disrupt US efforts to fight ISIS and counter Iran in the Middle East over the long term, even as Trump administration officials insist the rift will have no immediate impact.

Countries in the Gulf are key to the US-led coalition against ISIS, with Qatar hosting the US military's Al Udeid Air Base, the main regional center for daily air missions and coordination of all air operations. But US officials, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, say the diplomatic rift will not disrupt that campaign.

During last month's trip to the Middle East, Trump said US relations with Qatar are "extremely good."