Qatar says blockade by Arab states is collective punishment

Qatar has denied the claim that it supports terrorism, which was made to explain the decision to isolate it. Two U.S. naval vessels conducted regularly scheduled port visits to Doha, and in a meeting with his Qatari counterpart, Secretary of Defense Mattis reaffirmed the U.S. intent to proceed with a $12 billion sale of 72 F-15s agreed to last fall.

Qatar's detractors in Washington are mostly keen on punishing a country that won't get in line with the broader neoconservative project to contain Iran, a goal championed by the Saudis and cheered on by Trump. On June 7, the Comoros cut off ties with the Persian Gulf state, and Djibouti reduced the level of diplomatic contacts with it. Senegal, Chad and Niger recalled their ambassadors from Doha.

Trump has repeatedly echoed the accusations against Qatar, even as his Defense and State Departments have tried to remain neutral in the dispute among key allies. Instead, he'll stay in the work on resolving the crisis between Qatar and its neighbors.

He also praised the strong relations shared with Saudi Arabia, reassuring that they uphold a positive course.

You would be forgiven for thinking the US backs Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in their current standoff against Qatar.

But there is another critical issue raised by this dust-up between USA allies, namely: who decides?

In his 2011 book "On China", former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger mentions the ancient Chinese strategy game that emphasizes encircling the opponent, and creating natural attrition or attrition by intervention therewith.

The Pentagon said the jets sale would increase security cooperation between the United States and Qatar and help them operate together. He has sent his foreign minister to Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to help fix the rift.

For his part, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said that there are high chances of Erdogan soon visiting Qatar. Turkey and Qatar have signed an agreement that includes the base and stationing of Turkish troops.

"While current operations from Al Udeid Air Base have not been interrupted or curtailed, the evolving situation is hindering our ability to plan for longer-term military operations", said Capt. Davis, the Pentagon spokesman who had earlier said there was no problem.

According to the message, Cavusoglu will visit Riyadh on June 16, and he will have a meeting with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

A bloc of three Gulf states joined by Egypt have led a boycott against the gas-rich peninsula in a joint effort to curb its funding of extremists and terror organizations.

The crisis has put Turkey in a delicate position as Ankara regards Qatar as its chief ally in the Gulf but is also keen to maintain its improving ties with regional power Saudi Arabia.

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