Germany Blasts “Trumpification” of Qatar-(P)GCC Dispute

The dispute comes less than a month after Trump visited Saudi Arabia and called on Muslim nations to unite against “terrorism”
Donald Trump (L) and King Salman signed an arms deal in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on May 20Donald Trump (L) and King Salman signed an arms deal in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on May 20

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel accused US President Donald Trump of stirring up conflicts in the Middle East and risking a new arms race as Qatar’s neighbors cut ties with Doha.

Saudi Arabia and allies, including Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain, announced on Monday they were severing diplomatic relations and closing air, sea and land links with Qatar, Aljazeera reported.

The dispute comes less than a month after Trump visited Saudi Arabia and called for Muslim nations to unite against “terrorism”.

“US President Trump’s recent giant military contracts which [Persian] Gulf monarchies raise the risk of a new spiral in arms sales,” Gabriel warned in an interview with the Handelsblatt daily to appear on Wednesday.

“This policy is completely wrong and is certainly not Germany’s policy,” he added, in extracts of his interview released on Tuesday. “I am very concerned with the dramatic escalation and the consequences for the whole region.”

Trump in a series of posts on Twitter on Tuesday backed the regional efforts to isolate Qatar, supporting Saudi Arabia and its allies.

“During my recent trip to the Middle East, I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar - look!” Trump said.

During his visit to Saudi Arabia, Trump signed arms contracts worth $110 billion with Riyadh.

Gabriel warned against completely isolating Qatar and said the move is an attack on the Persian Gulf state’s very existence.

“Apparently, Qatar is to be isolated more or less completely and hit existentially. Such a ‘Trumpification’ of relations in a region already susceptible to crises is particularly dangerous,” Gabriel said.

  Saudi-Led Move to Bar Citizens Breach of Rights

Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri, chairman of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee, said the Saudi-led move went far beyond a simple diplomatic dispute and would break up families and disrupt young people’s education.

“We have moved from severing diplomatic relations to a comprehensive blockade of international conventions and human rights conventions, not only for Qataris but also for citizens of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council countries,” Marri was quoted as addressing a press conference on Tuesday evening by AFP.

“Qataris who study in Saudi, the UAE and Bahrain, we’ve had information that they were requested to leave immediately and they were not allowed to continue their final semester exams,” he added.

  UAE Bans Sympathy for Qatar

The UAE has banned people from publishing expressions of sympathy toward Qatar and will punish offenders with a jail term of up to 15 years, the UAE-based newspaper Gulf News and pan-Arab channel Al-Arabiya reported.

In a statement released on Wednesday, UAE’s Attorney General Hamad Saif al-Shamsi said sympathizing with Qatar was a cybercrime punishable by law.

“Strict and firm action will be taken against anyone who shows sympathy or any form of bias towards Qatar, or against anyone who objects to the position of the United Arab Emirates, whether it be through the means of social media, or any type of written, visual or verbal form,” Gulf News quoted Shamsi as saying in the statement.


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