Pentagon Distancing Itself From Donald Trump On Qatar

Trump’s call to Qatari ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, a key USA ally, came as a senior Emirati official told AFP that Gulf Arab states were not seeking regime change in Doha.The three Gulf states announced the closure of transport ties with Qatar and gave Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave their countries.Gabriel warned that disagreements among Gulf states could weaken the USA -led coalition’s fight against Islamic State, and said Jubeir agreed it was critical to avoid further escalations.Gabriel, a longtime critic of German arms sales, also criticized Trump’s recent large US weapons sales to other countries in the Gulf.Efforts to defuse the regional crisis – triggered on Monday when the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and others severed diplomatic ties with Qatar over alleged support for Islamist groups and Iran – showed no immediate signs of success.Nations including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cut ties with Qatar this week, in part, because of the news report.”No one will break us”, said Qatari Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday backed the Saudi-led measures, calling it just punishment for the country’s financial support for extremists and taking sides in a dispute among key U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf.The Polish embassy in Doha – the capital city of Qatar – has warned travellers about possible complications with their arrival to Qatar following a decision by other Middle Eastern countries to terminate diplomatic relations with Qatar.”This is not about regime change – this is about change of policy, change of approach”, Gargash told AFP in Dubai.A Qatari official said the rift was pushing Doha in the direction of leaving the six-state Gulf Cooperation Council, “with deep regret”.Riyadh and its allies accuse Qatar of supporting extremist groups and of serving the interests of regional arch-rival Iran, claims Doha has strongly rejected. “They have also been investing in the region and especially they want to set up military installations in Djibouti and Somaliland despite the fact that the Somali Constitution is about federation and that Somaliland is not a sovereign state”, he said.Many passengers who hold tickets with Qatar Airways have been struggling to obtain any clear information on how to proceed with regards to refunds and alternative bookings and will now have to rely on the airline’s website or call centres as there will be no option to visit their offices in person within the UAE.Kuwait is leading efforts to find a mediated solution. The countries also said they would eject Qatar’s diplomats. They said they would take a hard line on funding.There was no immediate reaction from Qatar, which hosts some 10,000 USA troops.Jubeir declined to confirm a list of 10 demands published by Al Jazeera, which included shutting down the widely watched, Doha-based satellite network, but added that Qatar knew what it needed to do to restore normal relations.Despite Tillerson’s plea for “no further escalation”, Trump’s sharp comments were likely to further embolden Saudi Arabia and the others in their bid to isolate Qatar.