Russia's Lavrov calls for talks to ease Qatar stand-off

This is the aspect of the intra-GCC dust-up that raises the most serious questions about the Trump administration's crudely simplistic way of defining lines of conflict in the region and in particular its automatic, nothing-but-confrontation-and-hostility posture toward Iran.

- The Pentagon on Tuesday renewed praise of Qatar for hosting a vital U.S. air base and for its "enduring commitment to regional security", sticking to a message of reassurance even as Trump, via Twitter, applauded Arab nations' decision to cut ties. But, following the Arab Spring revolts of 2011, it embraced an interventionist foreign policy that has favored Islamists, a move that has irked Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. There is one thing we already know, though: That is that there will be more failed states in the Middle East and a more diverse scene of terrorism in our neighborhoods.

Ashcroft was US attorney general under President George W. Bush from February 2001 to February 2005, turbulent years in which USA policies and laws were reshaped by the so-called war on terrorism that followed the 2001 al Qaeda attacks.

The US leadership vacuum has, however, opened the door for regional diplomacy, with Kuwait attempting to mediate the current crisis. But Trump said that he, Tillerson and military leaders had decided during Trump's trip to Saudi Arabia last month that a public rebuke was needed. Though the president said others, too, were guilty of supporting terrorism, he said he would not name them.

The US has called on the Gulf states to "de-escalate" their row with Qatar, saying it has caused unintended "humanitarian" consequences. Families are being forcibly separated, and children pulled out of school.

The sanctions list further tightens the screws on Qatar, home to a major US military base and the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and shows the crisis only escalating despite Kuwaiti efforts to mediate an end to the rift.

President Donald Trump doubled down on his war of words with one of America's top Middle East allies, publicly undercutting one of his own senior aides and potentially threatening the future of a vital United States military base. "The Defense Logistics Agency is certainly always looking at contingency plans if they're needed, but for right now they're OK". It said a Turkish delegation would go to Qatar in the coming days to assess the situation at the base.

It wasn't immediately clear how Qatar, which hosts some 10,000 US troops, might respond to Trump's critique.

We call on the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirate, Bahrain and Egypt to ease the blockade against Qatar, Tillerson said. Four years ago, the Saudis led a group of Arab states in withdrawing their ambassadors from Doha because of Qatar's generous support of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Qatar, which has developed an assertive foreign policy over the past decade, denies that it supports militants and says it is helping to reduce the threat of terrorism by backing groups that fight poverty and seek political reform.

On Thursday, Qatar's Sheikh Mohammed said his country had been isolated "because we are successful and progressive" and called his country "a platform for peace not terrorism". Other English news websites like Gulf Times and Qatar Tribune were also not accessible in UAE.

"We, as Turkey, will pursue our constructive efforts to resolve this crisis because we see the stability and security in Gulf region as our own".

Referring to the conversations that he had with leaders of the Gulf countries, Tillerson said it is clear to him based that the elements of a solution are available.

Associated Press writers Robert Burns, Lolita C. Baldor and Julie Pace contributed to this report.

Related news