There’s an awful lot of people, interests and media outlets upset about Trump’s remarks last week on Qatar. But why?
Writes The Guardian:
Donald Trump has accused Qatar of sponsoring terrorism at the highest levels, in an extraordinary escalation of the diplomatic row with one America’s most important military partners in the Middle East.
Speaking in the White House rose garden on Friday, Trump said he had decided “the time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding … and its extremist ideology.”
Why it’s controversial or upsetting to call for a (very rich) nation to stop sponsoring terrorism around the globe is a mystery, but here we are. And The Guardian continues:
His comments marked his most forthright intervention in a crisis triggered on Monday when Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies launched a co-ordinated diplomatic and economic campaign to isolate Qatar.
A crisis. A crisis. It’s a crisis that Qatar’s neighbors want the country to stop snuggling up to Iran and to stop funding bloodshed and murder that occupy the headlines with growing frequency?
“So we had a decision to make: do we take the easy road, or do we finally take a hard but necessary action? We have to stop the funding of terrorism,” Trump said. “The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level.”
And yet we have all these sob stories about how Qatar will be hurt by the crisis: the New York Times worries about food shortages, Business Insider writes the crisis is strangling banks, and Forbes calls it a “dangerous shutdown.”
But Qatar is a primary source of terrorist funding. According to various reports, it funds al-Qaeda, Hizballah, Hamas, and a host of other terrorist networks including the Muslim Brotherhood, and though it is supposedly a Sunni nation, it has aligned itself with Shiite Iran.
Qatar’s government funds and runs the Al-Jazeera network, whose television broadcasts (in Arabic) and website (in many languages including English) can properly be characterized as “all jihad, all the time.” Al-Jazeera is probably the most viewed television network in the Arab world.
Apparently Secretary of State Tillerson did not get the Trump memo on Qatar and encouraged an end to the embargo because it caused “humanitarian problems” and proceeded to drag Turkey in to help mediate the crisis.
Tillerson’s view is very short-sighted. His attempt to engage Turkey in resolving the embargo of Qatar may, in the short run, help preserve our airbases in both nations. But the president has the better part of the argument. Having the Saudis, Bahrainis, Egyptians, and Emiratis squeeze the terrorist funding out of Qatar might, if the embargo is continued long enough, force the Qataris out of the Iranian orbit. If it cost us our airbase there, it would be very expensive to build another, but it could — and should — be done.
Trump said at the joint press conference with President Iohannis of Romania:
This is my great priority because it is my first duty as President to keep our people safe. Defeating ISIS and other terror organizations is something I have emphasized all during my campaign and right up until the present. To do that, stop funding, stop teaching hate, and stop the killing.
For Qatar, we want you back among the unity of responsible nations. We ask Qatar, and other nations in the region to do more and do it faster.
Take a step back and ask why there all these objections to pressuring Qatar to stop its support of terrorism. How can we credibly say we want to fight a war on terrorism if we keep manufacturing reasons to back off the steps necessary to cut off the money that fuels it, no matter how uncomfortable and inconvenient that is? Me thinks thou doth protest too much. Now why is that?