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Trump Delves Into Arab States Rift with Qatar

By Peter Heinlein June 06, 2017

President Donald Trump has jumped head first into the diplomatic spat between Qatar and major Arab nations over Doha's alleged support of Iran and Islamist militant groups sponsoring terrorism in the region.

In a series of three Twitter posts Tuesday, the president seemed to take credit for the Saudi-led move to isolate Qatar both diplomatically and economically.

Referring to his speech in Riyadh last month, in which he called on Muslim leaders to take a stand against radical Islamist groups, he tweeted: "... Leaders pointed to Qatar - look!"

He followed that with two tweets that formed one message that said his trip to Saudi Arabia was already paying off, as the leaders said they would take a hard line against funding extremism and that this might put an "end to the horror of terrorism."

Long brewing tensions in the region escalated this week when Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar and closed all land, sea and air borders. Several other countries followed suit. They cited Qatar's relations with Iran and its alleged support for groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and al-Qaida.

The sanctions hit hard in Qatar, a peninsular country of 2.4 million people that imports almost 100 percent of its food.

The Doha government charged that the crisis is being fueled by "absolute fabrications" and is a "violation of its sovereignty."

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