FORBES - JUNE 21, 2017
The Middle East is undergoing profound change. Following Donald
Trump’s first overseas trip to Saudi Arabia and his exhortations to the
Gulf States to isolate Iran and “drive out terrorism,” a bizarre string
of events have been transpiring. There's a palpable and
growing disregard for established protocols and frameworks: Trump's
everyone-for-themselves, impulse-driven foreign policy is catching on.
First, the Gulf States, led by Saudi Arabia, moved to impose a
blockade on Qatar, a fellow member of the Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC). This action is based on claims of widespread Qatari financing of
terrorism and deep, secretive ties to Tehran. And it turns out that some
of these accusations were the result of fake news planted by Russian hackers on the Al Jazeera Network.
Next, Trump tweeted that he was in agreement with the Saudis, and
publicly called out Qatar, which happens to be a vital U.S. military
ally in the region. Then, just days later, the U.S. announced a $21 billion arms-deal with Qatar.