By Cynthia Farahat
Following the election of President Donald Trump, there was a full-blown panic attack in Qatar. For example, the Al-Arab, Qatari state-run Newspaper described his election, as “an unprecedented political earthquake,” leading the world into a, “maximum state of ambiguity.” The article also stated that, “Barak Obama’s legacy is gone with the wind.” – They were right.
The current crisis between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar is the biggest in the region in decades. While, I believe the hacking and publishing of Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba’s emails, might escalated an already existing rift, the focus of the U.S. should be on taking advantage of this crisis, by implementing these three important policies:
1- Under President Obama’s leadership, Qatar has played a more dominant role as a leading state sponsor of terrorism. It is not a secret that Qatar has been backing the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, Jabhet al-Nusra and other terrorist groups. Qatar even has an official office for the Taliban.
In 2014, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Congressman Pete Roskam (R-IL) requested that the U.S. government impose sanctions on Qatar. President Trump’s administration needs to designate Qatar as a state sponsor of terrorism. Now is the time to do it.
2- Qatar is hosting the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East, which accommodates 10,000 troops. Al-Udeid air base wasn’t always the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East. In 2003, the largest U.S. base in the region was Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia before it moved to Qatar. The U.S. was also at war in 2003, the excuse that now America is bombing ISIS and needs Qatar is not valid. America moved its airbase from 2003 to 2005, and it can certainly move it again. Perhaps it should be moved to a more friendly country, such as the UAE.
3- Designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group. Now is the time to do it, while the vast majority of Sunni regimes around the world are against the group. Muslim Brotherhood operatives founded al-Qaeda, Hamas, ISIS, and the vast majority of Sunni terrorist groups around the world. Designating the Brotherhood as a terrorist group, will give the U.S. a lot of leverage during talks with Brotherhood operatives such as Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Turkey. It will also stop the funding of terrorism from the U.S. to its foreign operations.