Opinion

US Must Reevaluate Relationships With Allies In Middle East

Recent bold action by a peace coalition of Arab Gulf States to call out Qatar’s support of terror organizations was formed at the historic summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia which was attended by President Trump.  This action by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain follows the 2014 recall of their ambassadors to Doha which received little support from the Obama Administration. Obama officials knew that any support would undermine their Iranian “dance” for a so-called nuclear treaty. Obama chose Iran over the historic, faithful allies of America which resulted in ISIS boldness including the capture of Mosul. The coalition of Gulf States accepted Doha’s pledge to change their ways, and the normalization of relations continued as usual, knowing the United States would not support stronger action. President Obama celebrated the July 2015 signing of the agreement with Iran over the objections of our friends in the Gulf Region as well as Israel. The chessboard had been set by Obama with Iran given all the advanced moves.

Qatar is being played by Iran like a finely crafted oud. But one extra turn of the strings will create too much tension and send it out of tune or onto total damage of the instrument.  Qatar has a personality to punch above its weight in regional and international affairs. It shows one hand, while the other does just the opposite. For example, FIFA’s questionable decision to have Qatar host the 2022 finals was made to host the world while their television network, Al Jazeera, broadcasted support of the Muslim Brotherhood, along with a platform for radical imams, ready to promote a radical ideology that sought to disrupt the Gulf countries.

The Gulf peace coalition’s actions have announced to the world Qatar’s duplicity, but more importantly, exposed this dangerous gang: Turkey, Iran and Qatar. All are supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, a named terrorist organization. I can only guess what Tehran and Ankara have promised Doha for their ongoing activities. This is a truly dangerous group. Turkey’s Erdogan exhibited his communication skills in Washington, DC when his security officers attacked peaceful demonstrators. Ask yourself, how can support of Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood bring stability to the Middle East?

Kuwait, which is helping mediate the crisis, has delivered 13 requirements for Doha to act on before normalization of relations with fellow Gulf Cooperative Council members can be realized.  If there was any doubt about how seriously Qatar has been undermining the GCC, look at the list: the GCC wants Doha to “hand over all designated terrorists wanted by the four countries” and tell its neighbors what it knows about them and their funding. The four also want Doha to stop seeking ties with the opposition groups inside Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Gulf countries – something which, in any case, Doha must realize would be immensely provocative to these countries. All of this is in addition to Qatar’s backing of extremist elements in the region and its unfathomable cooperation with Iran, at a time when Iran is destabilizing GCC countries and neighboring Arab states. The day the correction list was delivered to Qatar, a Qatari security officer detailed his involvement in a plot to slander the leadership of the UAE and Saudi Arabia and subsequently spread dissent in the countries, using fake social media accounts controlled by officials in Doha.

On June 22nd in an interview with Abu Dhabi TV, Hamad Al Hammadi, 33, said he was tasked in 2013 with purchasing five sim cards in the UAE and Saudi Arabia and DH5,000 worth of roaming services for each number. The UAE sim cards were then used by Qatari state security to create five social media accounts, disguised as belonging to Emiratis in an effort to spread defamatory images and sow dissent among the UAE population, this according to UAE security officials. Emirati authorities arrested Al Hammadi on a later visit, and he was sentenced to 10 years in prison by the Federal Supreme Court for attempting to ruin the reputation of the State. On Saturday, June 24th, the UAE President, Sheikh Khalifa, pardoned Al Hammadi as a clear message to Qatar that the Gulf Brotherhood is greatly valued.

The Trump Administration has taken firm steps to support the end of Qatar’s support of terrorists, while balancing multiple parties in the region. The choice is clear – Iran or our trusted partners. President Trump has been handed a wagon with broken wheels, given the prior administration’s weak hand, the midnight cash delivered to Tehran, country borders designed by the British and French after World War One and general disregard of cultural/regional differences by the international community. With this back drop, the Trump Administration, in true partnership with our trusted allies in the region, has a unique opportunity to realign the region for years of peace and prosperity for all the people of the Middle East.