Gulf Crisis: U.S calls for end of spat, expands military base in Qatar
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Sunday in Qatar urged America’s feuding allies; Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt on one side and Qatar on the other, to end regional diplomatic row has been going on over 18 months after the Saudi-led side accused Doha of supporting terrorism.
Pompeo who is on regional tour in the Middle East has embarked on fence mending mission among members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) arrived in Qatar on Sunday from the UAE.
Qatar since June 2017 has been facing a sea/air/ground blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt who accused the tiny gas-rich country of supporting terrorism and becoming too cozy with Iran; the regional arch enemy.
“During our talks, I have stressed the importance of the unity of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC),” Pompeo said during a joint press conference with his host counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.
“When we have a common challenge, disputes between countries with shared objectives are never helpful,” he said.
“We’re hoping that the unity of GCC will increase in the days and weeks and months ahead,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo’s trip to Qatar was marked by the agreement to expand the US largest military base in the region; Al-Udeid Air Base.
The base is home to over 10,000 US and international forces engaged in the fight against terrorism in the region.
Washington is pushing for the creation of Middle East Strategic Alliance that will include Egypt and Jordan. The alliance in the NATOs-style will according to the U.S will counter Iran’s influence.