U.S. Hopes a Small Step in Easing a Mideast Rivalry Could Further Rattle Iran’s Economy

“There is no fate-changing or existential disagreement between us and Qatar,” Mr. al-Mouallimi informed RT Arabic. “We are one people and one country, and the Qatari brothers are an extension of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an extension of them.”

For a whereas, it appeared that Mr. Trump would facet in opposition to Qatar.

As lately as final 12 months, he thought of naming the Muslim Brotherhood a international terrorist group; the Islamist motion has renounced violence however has hyperlinks to some extremist teams. It additionally has some ties to Qatar’s authorities, which is aligned with Islamist organizations which might be modeled on the Brotherhood.

But given different American strategic priorities — together with a U.S. army air base at Al Udeid, southwest of Doha, and Qatar’s internet hosting of peace negotiations between the Afghan authorities and the Taliban — the Trump administration step by step determined to mediate a option to reunite Qatar with its regional detractors.

The extra necessary combat, it appeared, was in opposition to Iran.

Since 2018, when Mr. Trump withdrew the United States from an accord to restrict Iran’s nuclear program, his administration has imposed punishing financial sanctions in opposition to Tehran and denied it an estimated $70 billion in oil revenues. That has contributed to what Mr. Pompeo described last month as a 25 % lower in Iran’s army funds final 12 months.

Mr. Pompeo, who has taken the hardest line in opposition to Iran amongst Mr. Trump’s advisers, has lengthy insisted that Tehran’s earnings goes to not profit the Iranian folks, however to fund its missile applications and proxy militias it’s backing in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

Easing strain on Iran’s financial system — which the Qatari overflight charges have helped to do — can be what Mr. Pompeo referred to as “a dangerous choice, bound to weaken new partnerships for peace in the region and strengthen only the Islamic Republic.”

An settlement to reroute Qatar’s airways would give the Trump administration one final kick at Iran. In phrases of brokering a manner out of the blockade, nonetheless, it might quantity to solely a glancing blow on the festering deadlock among the many Arab states.


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