US urges Gulf states to ease blockade against Qatar

If having normal relations with Iran does not preclude a country from hosting even a large USA military installation-and one in the Persian Gulf, in Iran's backyard, rather than, say, in the Gulf of Mexico-than why are we so afraid of anyone having normal relations with Iran, and are so vehement about trying to isolate Iran?

Since Saudi Arabia and other nations cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar on Monday, triggering the worst diplomatic crisis in the Gulf in years, the US Army has insisted that it would not affect US military operations in the region.

In an extraordinary broadside against a key USA partner, President Donald Trump lambasted Qatar on Friday for funding terrorism "at a very high level" and insisted that it stop.

"They have to end that funding and its extremist ideology in terms of funding", he said, lumping Qatar with other nations that he said must "stop teaching people to kill other people".

"Qatar has a history of supporting groups that span the spectrum of political expression, from activism to violence", Tillerson said.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates said they sanctioned the groups and individuals because of "the continuous and ongoing violations of the authorities in Doha of Qatar's commitments and obligations". Saudi Arabia used a package of carrots and sticks, including offering to replace Iran as Syria's chief supplier of oil.

As in other regional clashes, external powers are being drawn into the Gulf quarrel, not all of them on Saudi Arabia's side.

Qatar has consistently denied the accusations against it, suggesting the recent joint decision to sever ties was based on "baseless fabricated lies" and a mere attempt at enforcing guardianship over Doha.

- Turkish exporters are ready to meet demand for food and water from Qatar, the head of Turkey's main exporting trade body told Reuters.

Qatari foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani say no one has the right to blockade his nation. He was speaking as his Bahraini counterpart met with Turkey's president in Ankara.

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The US and French presidents held a series of telephone conversations with the leaders of the countries concerned, stressing the importance of maintaining the unity of the Gulf Cooperation Council to enhance regional security.

Qatar does not support terrorist groups, it stressed, pointing out that "our position on countering terrorism is stronger than numerous signatories of the joint statement-a fact that has been conveniently ignored by the authors".

Trump too had offered possible mediation earlier in the week.

The ambitious prince, known as MBS and who is also Saudi defense minister, emerged as the driving force behind a reform plan unveiled a year ago that's meant to drag his country, shackled by the strict teachings of an 18th century imam, into the 21st century economy. He also mentions that Iran has pledged to help Qatar with food and three of Iran's ports will be designated for Qatar.

Earlier, US President Donald Trump spoke to Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on the Qatari issue, according to a senior administration official. Saudi Arabia's state-run news agency carried an official statement welcoming Trump's remarks, adding that cutting off terrorism funding "required decisive and swift action. regardless of its financier".

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Saturday supported a peaceful solution to Qatar row and said Turkey would continue to take "constructive" steps over the resolution of the crisis.

Another GCC member, Kuwait, is leading the effort to ensure things don't reach that point.

Still, "any dispute of this type is likely to mar the investment climate for all countries", Reeve said.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE gave Qatari nationals two weeks to leave, and banned their own citizens from travelling to Qatar.