Toronto - US Senator , Bob Corker, has made headlines with his comments calling Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman’s participation in the Gulf blockade of Qatar a “rookie mistake.”
Toronto – US Senator , Bob Corker, has made headlines with his comments calling Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman’s participation in the Gulf blockade of Qatar a “rookie mistake.”
Corker began his remarks by saying that Saudi Arabia’s “support for terrorism… dwarfs what Qatar is doing.”
Recalling Trump’s successful trip to the Riyadh Summit in May, he added that he was “really disappointed to see what Saudi Arabia did after having a great summit and bringing everybody together.”
“I think this is quite possibly a rookie mistake,” Corker said, “by a crown prince who I think could be the future for Saudi Arabia.”
Corkers comments coincided with a tour of the region by US Secretary, Rex Tillerson, to lend support for a diplomatic solution. Throughout this week, Tillerson has made stops in Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, in an attempt to kickstart effective negotiations to bring the blockade to a close.
According to Al Jazeera’s Heidi Zhou-Castro, Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is “widely seen as among the chief architects and a chief organizer of the alliance behind it.”
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Andreas Krieg, assistant professor at King’s College London, explained how Saudi Arabia over-estimated US support for their blockade plan:
“Saudi Arabia actually thought they had the Trump administration, especially the Republicans, on their side,” Krieg said. “That’s why they escalated so quickly and now they realise they actually don’t and the Trump administration has actually rolled back from earlier comments, and that is quite something to swallow for the UAE and Saudi Arabia.”
Negotiations were badly stalled when Qatar presented its official rejection of the bloc’s demands to mediator, Kuwait. Bloc countries including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, expressed their frustration on Thursday, claiming that Qatar didn’t comprehend the seriousness of their situation.
Qatar has maintained its innocence over charges it has been financially supporting terrorist groups since the onset of the crisis and, so far, the bloc has offered no evidence to prove their allegations. Calling the demands, which were presented to Qatar on June 22, unworkable, Qatar has publicly claimed the list was deliberately designed to be impossible for it to meet.
The demands, which the bloc now terms “null and void,” included the immediate closure of state-funded network, Al Jazeera, the dismantling of a Turkish military base within Qatari borders, a cooling of relations with Iran and the cessation of any alleged financial assistance to terrorist organizations including the Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda and ISIS.
Qatar has adopted the stance that the blockade was imposed, not over regional and global security concerns, but rather, as an attempt to sanction Qatar’s independent foreign policies and oppress freedom of speech in the region.