President Donald Trump on Friday called on Qatar to stop funding of
groups that commit terrorism, saying the Gulf nation had historically
done so "at a very high level."
civilized nation can tolerate this violence or allow this wicked
ideology to spread on its shores," Trump told reporters at the
White House, where he was holding a joint news conference with
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. An hour earlier, U.S. Secretary of
State Rex Tillerson and the Pentagon urged the Gulf states to ease
the blockade on Qatar.
also accused former FBI chief James Comey of lying under oath
during his testimony before the Senate Select Committee on
Intelligence on Thursday. He inisted that the testimoney showed that
he had not attempted to obstruct justice in conversations the two
showed no collusion, no obstruction," Trump said. "He's a
leaker but we want to get back to running our great country,"
Trump said of Comey.
was an excuse by the Democrats, who lost an election they shouldn’t
have lost,” he said. “It was just an excuse, but we were very,
very happy, and frankly, James Comey confirmed a lot of what I said,
and some of the things that he said just weren’t true.”
further denied telling Comey he hoped the FBI chief could let go of
an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn,
adding he was willing to give his version of events under oath.
didn't say that," Trump told reporters when asked about Comey's
account relating to the investigation into Flynn. Asked if he would
be willing to give his version of events under oath, Trump replied:
an hour before Trump slammed Qatar, Secretary of State Tillerson
urged Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to ease their blockade
against Qatar, saying it was causing unintended humanitarian
consequences and affecting the U.S.-led fight against Islamic State.
Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed relations
with the small Gulf Arab state on Monday, accusing it of supporting
Islamist militants and their arch-adversary Iran, charges Qatar calls
call on the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates,
Bahrain and Egypt to ease the blockade against Qatar," Tillerson
said in a brief statement to reporters. Tillerson said the blockade
was causing food shortages, the forced separation of families and
children being pulled out of school.
believe these are unintended consequences, especially during the holy
month of Ramadan," he said.
expectation is that these countries will immediately take steps to
de-escalate the situation and put forth a good faith effort to
resolve their grievances they have with each other," Tillerson
blockade is also hindering U.S. military action in the region and its
campaign against Islamic State, he said. More than 11,000 U.S. and
coalition forces are at al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, from which more
than 100 aircraft operate.
the same time, Tillerson said Qatar has a history of supporting
groups across a wide political spectrum, including those that engage
in violence, and that the emir of Qatar had made progress in halting
financial support for terrorism but that he must do more.
after Tillerson's remarks, the Pentagon said that while the Qatar
blockade was not affecting current operations against ISIS, it was
"hindering" the ability to plan for long-term operations.
Trump’s decision to back Saudi Arabia’s attempt to isolate Qatar
on the world stage is already backfiring in a number of ways.
the first instance, it was clearly not supposed to be official U.S.
policy to explicitly support Saudi Arabia against Qatar considering
Qatar hosts America’s largest base in the Middle East. Qatar has
also invested billions of dollars in the United States.
Unsurprisingly, it has been speculated that Trump was not even aware
of these major factors.
this reveals is that the United States has, in many respects, become
a client state of Saudi Arabia. If you don’t believe this
statement, consider that in handling the political fallout of his
much-publicized tweet — in which he appeared to take credit for
the Saudi-Qatar fallout and labeled Qatar a sponsor of terrorism —
Trump gave the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, a
phone call on Wednesday to offer “to help the parties resolve their
differences, including through a meeting at the White House if
to 5,000 Turkish soldiers might be deployed to Qatar under the new
legislation, Rudaw news reports, adding that the troops are now on
standby and ready for their deployment.
cooperation with Qatar comes as several countries and organizations –
including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain,
Egypt, Yemen, the Maldives, and one of Libya’s three rival
governments – cut ties with Doha on Monday, accusing it of
financing terrorist groups ranging from Islamic State (IS, formerly
ISIS/ISIL) to Iran-backed militants.
almost immediately voiced support for Doha, saying on Tuesday that
“we don’t find sanctions against Qatar right,” as quoted by