Breaking bad: Qatar splits with Gulf neighbors over Iran in blow to U.S. strategy

WASHINGTON — The unprecedented crisis among the Gulf Arab states threatens U.S. military support to its Arab allies, a report said.

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy said the confrontation between three Gulf Cooperation Council states and Qatar would “complicate” efforts by the United States to integrate Gulf Arab strategy.

The implications of the GCC crisis with Qatar over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizbullah are far-reaching, the report said.

After six months of waiting for a change under Emir Tamim, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have concluded that Qatar was firmly in Iran’s orbit. The withdrawal of ambassadors from Doha signals the virtual end of the GCC as an alliance headed by Riyad.

In the report, the institute said Qatar, opposed by Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, has demonstrated resistance to an expanded U.S. military deployment in the emirate.

“Yet Qatar has apparently constrained U.S. deployments intended to deter Iran,” the report, titled “Gulf Arabs In Crisis,” said. “Last year, the United States deployed F-22s to the UAE instead, which is less nuanced in its views of Iran’s capability for mischief.”

“…[This] very public GCC rift is a setback to U.S. diplomacy with its Gulf allies and another item for the president’s upcoming meeting with Saudi King Abdullah, the council’s unofficial leader,” the report said.

“Qatar also continues to use its Al Jazeera satellite television network as an important tool of soft diplomacy — one that has undermined U.S. positions in the past,” the report said.

Full article: Breaking bad: Qatar splits with Gulf neighbors over Iran in blow to U.S. strategy (World Tribune)

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