Several media outlets in the Middle East have picked up the Bloomberg story that President Trump has reportedly called off a Saudi strike on Qatar with a simple phone call to King Salman of Saudi Arabia earlier this year.
The story is backed up by leaked emails dating back to May 2017 between the United Arab Emirates Ambassador in Washington and US diplomat Elliott Abrams.
These claim that the Saudis came close to “conquering” Qatar and that this action would “solve everyone’s problems”.
Furthermore, the UAE ambassador stated that the former king of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz “came pretty close to doing something in Qatar” just before he died in January 2015.
Elliott Abrams replied: “I did not know that. It is dramatic.” And then added that former US President Barack Obama would certainly not have supported such an air raid on Qatar “but the new guy…” in a clear reference to American President Donald Trump.
Journalists asked Trump about the rumor and he flat out denied it this week, but the old saying goes that wherever there is smoke, there is fire.
Allow us to refresh your memory. A few weeks after President Trump visited Saudi Arabia and told Middle Eastern leaders to stop backing terrorist groups, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates considered military action against Qatar.
The Pentagon allegedly spotted the Saudi air force readying for a strike. The Saudis have the largest air force in the region, more than 200 strike aircraft alone, including 62 American F-15s and 48 British/European-built Typhoons.
Trump allegedly picked up the phone, called the leaders of both countries and told them to back off, not wanting the region to engage in a war with Iran as he was still sorting out North Korea.
Instead of a military strike, Saudi Arabia and the UAE leadership then agreed on a blockade of Qatar, which is what happened shortly after.
Any claims of anyone making this up, check Bloomberg for the origin, my friends. The emails can also be found in the Middle Eastern press.