A former CIA officer has said in an interview that US President Trump’s decision to support Saudi-led blockade of Qatar “will produce nothing but bad results.”
President Donald Trump has made a serious mistake by picking a needless fight with the pro-American Arab Gulf state of Qatar even though it permits Washington to operate its main air base in the area, former CIA officer Phil Giraldi said.
“Now Washington is squarely in the middle of a fight that it didn’t have to involve itself in on behalf of a repressive and scarcely friendly client state [Saudi Arabia], an intervention that will produce nothing but bad results,” Giraldi, a former CIA case officer and US Army intelligence officer, said.
Trump has publicly expressed support for Saudi Arabia which, along with Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, has cut off all ties with Qatar.
Giraldi noted the sudden rise in tensions between Saudi Arabia and Qatar had caught regional analysts by surprise.
“I am mystified both by the actions being taken and also the timing, but I am most concerned by the initiative taken by the White House in coming down against Qatar in this dispute with Saudi Arabia and even claiming credit for the Trump visit having encouraged what has developed,” he said.
The US authorities were aware of the support granted by Qatar and Saudi Arabia to the terrorist operating in the Mideast countries, the leaked e-mail of ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton published by WikiLeaks whistleblowing platform showed.
Giraldi said the US decision to focus on Qatar for promoting terror when it hosted a major US base in the region did not make sense as it ignored the role the Saudis played in funding extreme Islamists.
“If the intention was to stop terrorism support, going after only one of the parties involved would seem to be wrongheaded, particularly if that party is simultaneously doing you a favor by supporting your major military installation,” he said.
Both Saudi Arabia and Qatar had generously funded Islamist extremists and the US government had known about it for a long time, Giraldi acknowledged.
“It is well known in intelligence circles that Qatar does indeed support terrorists, but so does Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia is uniquely responsible for creating the particularly nasty form of Islam referred to as Wahhabism which serves to legitimize the terror groups,” Giraldi stated.
Qatar continues to host the al-Udeid airbase, the largest in the Middle East, which is home to 10,000 US servicemen and serves as a major communications and operational center for Washington in the region, Giraldi pointed out.
“Compared to Saudi Arabia it is also a beacon of tolerance and individual freedom,” he added.
Philip Giraldi is executive director of the Council for the National Interest, a group that advocates more even-handed US government policies in the Middle East.