Strong warnings from senior US journalists and media figures to President Trump about his meeting with the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad, at the White House on Tuesday, July 9th. These warnings come out of a concern that Doha might try to buy Washington's friendship for billions of dollars.
In June 2017, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed a boycott on the small emirate because of its support for terrorism and harbouring terrorists on its soil, as well as its territorial proximity to Iran which they see as a threat to the Middle East.
The US' relationship with Qatar has become very tense, for the same reasons, and because of Qatar’s strengthening ties to Turkey. Trump has tried more than once to persuade Qatar to abandon its provocative actions which harm its neighbours and threaten their security; but all his attempts have failed.
According to Fox News, Tamim's visit carries the potential for the Qatari regime to inject a lot of money by way of investments into the US, thus keeping public opinion sweet and turning their focus away from the many problems it is causing.
Trump refused to meet Tamim in April 2019 over Qatar’s ties with terrorist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and for its support of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). In an unprecedented move, the US blacklisted the IRGC as a terrorist organisation in the same month.
Two years ago, Qatar was out in the cold, avoided by a new administration in Washington and subjected to an economic blockade by its neighbours, according to the Daily Beast.
But now the Doha regime sees an opportunity to bring about a ‘breakthrough’. In the past six months, Qatar has mobilised and deployed officials around the world as part of a huge public relations campaign to create a new image for itself along with emphasising to Washington its geo-strategic value and economic strength, according to US officials and three others familiar with Qatar's efforts.
Since the beginning of 2017, Qatar has spent at least $24 million on US lobbying efforts, according to the Centre for Responsive Policy.
Qatar’s public relations campaign has taken different forms. Earlier this month, officials from Qatar spent nearly three weeks between Washington and New York meeting with US officials, think tank scholars, and academics, setting the stage for the Emir’s visit on Tuesday, the Daily Beast reported.
Jim Hanson, President of Security Studies Group and who served in US Army Special Forces, writes in an opinion piece for Fox News, “The rise of an Islamist alliance between Iran, Turkey and Qatar is contrary to US strategic interests as well as the security and stability of the region. Qatari money fuels this and they need to end that. It has partly been a counterweight to the ongoing blockade, but also as recognition that these three countries are the vanguard of militant Islamism.”
He added that "Doha often tip us off to terror groups we can hit that are causing problems for other terror groups that they support. That’s not real co-operation and we can no longer turn a blind eye to it."
The piece also highlighted the relationship between Qatar and Turkey, saying the partnership between the two countries requires amendments. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pushed the country's economy to the bottom. Qatari cash and cheap energy allow him to continue his path towards implementing his subversive programme in the Middle East. The Turkish regime is interfering in the internal affairs of some countries in the Middle East, such as Libya, along with Qatar.
Iran, which is expected to be an important file in the meeting, is the true threat to everyone in the region. Hanson advises Trump to tell the Emir, in no uncertain terms, that Qatar either works with us [the US] and other US allies to thwart Iran’s goals of regional hegemony and nuclear weapons, or it will join the Iranian regime as recipients of the maximum pressure campaign.
Trump wants to see an end to the Gulf dispute, according to Hanson, and to move Qatar away from Iran. There is a possibility that these two things will work together, but this requires real changes and substantial measures from the Qataris.
Jim Hanson concludes by saying that the Qatari regime should exploit the opportunity of the meeting and that “the president should tell them to come to the table, stop funding terror, stop helping Iran, and enjoy a peaceful and prosperous future with the United State