Monday, June 05, 2017

About that "successful" Saudi visit...

Hey look, a diplomatic crisis that our current government is totally unprepared to address!

I suspect the move against Qatar is a direct result of Trump's embrace of Saudi Arabia. Over the years Qatar has played an important role as an intermediary between the U.S. and entities that the U.S. doesn't want to deal with directly. Qatar has functioned as a back-channel to negotiate with the Taliban, Iran, and Hamas. The U.S. also has its Persian Gulf air base in Qatar. So it depends upon the government of Qatar for a variety of operations in the region.

Meanwhile, the Qatari government has been pissing off other GCC members for years, what with its funding of al Jazeera (a network that freely criticizes those members' governments), it's embrace of the Arab Spring, and its suspected lack of enthusiasm for a hard line against Iran. None of those things are new, but it is only now that KSA, its gulf neighbors, and the current anti-Arab Spring government of Egypt feel like they can move against Qatar without serious consequences from the U.S.