As Tillerson calls for calm, Trump calls out Qatar on terror

Posted June 15, 2017

The announcement intensifies the diplomatic and economic campaign to isolate Qatar, a small Gulf Arab state which is a critical global supplier of gas and hosts the biggest US military base in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and the UAE listed scores of organizations in a 2014 spat with Qatar.

The U.S.is in a delicate position with Qatar, particularly given the significant American troop presence at several military bases.

The list was published Friday by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain in a statement released by a Saudi news agency.

A Turkish delegation would go to Qatar in the coming days to assess the situation at the base, where around 90 Turkish soldiers are now based, it said.

Trump said he helped plan the move against Qatar, although a senior administration official told Reuters earlier this week that the USA had no indication from the Saudis or Emiratis during the visit that they would sever ties with Qatar.

Qatar's official overseer of charities denied on Sunday that philanthropic groups in the country backed terrorism, saying it deplored the accusation.

The legislation, which also foresees cooperation in military training, was rapidly passed in parliament on Wednesday, a day after Erdogan openly sided with Qatar and criticized other Gulf countries' moves to isolate it. He says Qatar has taken steps to address that concern but must do more.

Riyadh, Cairo and their allies have accused Qatar, the world's richest country per capita, of supporting militant Islamist movements across the region.

It was voted into power in Egypt in 2012 but toppled a year later by the military.

Egypt separately has asked the United Nations Security Council to investigate reports that Qatar "paid up to $1 billion to a terrorist group active in Iraq" to recently free 26 hostages, including members of its ruling family, saying it would violate U.N. sanctions.

Qatar said the terror listing is part of "baseless allegations that hold no foundation in fact".

With supply chains disrupted and concern mounting about economic turbulence, banks and firms in Gulf Arab states were trying to keep business links to Qatar open and avoid a costly firesale of assets. Those on the list, including the former interior minister, could not be reached for comment.

The four Arab countries named in a statement 59 people, including Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi, and 12 entities, among them Qatari-funded charities Qatar Charity and Eid Charity.

Turkish officials were not immediately available to comment on the report, but Hurriyet said there were plans to send some 200 to 250 soldiers within two months.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on the other hand, has approved sending troops to an existing Turkish base in Qatar as a sign of support.