Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In moves that were more American, than Arab. Saudi Arabia and a number of other countries are cutting diplomatic relations with Qatar and accusing it of being in bed with “terrorists.” But as US President Ronald Reagan used to say, “One mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter.”
Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, have broken off diplomatic relations and all land sea and air contacts with fellow Gulf Arab state Qatar, in the region’s most serious diplomatic crisis in years. Saying it was necessary to protect the kingdom from what it described as terrorism and extremism. The kingdom also dismissed all Qatari troops from the coalition fighting the ongoing war in Yemen.
Governmental information services said Saudi Arabia had decided to sever diplomatic and consular relations with Qatar “proceeding from the exercise of its sovereign right guaranteed by international law and the protection of national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism”.
The action follows after Qatar alleged in late May that Qatari hackers took over the site of its state-run news agency and published what it called fake comments from its ruling emir about Iran and Israel. Its Gulf Arab neighbors responded with anger, blocking Qatari-based media, including the Doha-based satellite news network Al-Jazeera.
In a “lucky break” Qatar is home to the sprawling al-Udeid Air Base, which is home to the US military’s Central Command and some 10,000 American troops. It wasn’t clear if the decision would affect American military operations. Central Command officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But ex military analysts say it certainly is not good news for the Americans.
Qatar long has faced criticism from its Arab neighbors over its support of Islamists. The chief worry among them is the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist political group outlawed by both Saudi Arabia and the UAE as it challenges the nations’ hereditary rule.
Barack Obama had groomed the brotherhood, providing it with financing and using it as a George Soros springboard to overthrow countries all across the middle east. Qatar’s payoff for hosting the brotherhood were lucrative contracts and the prestige of a US military presence.