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Thursday, August 5, 2021

Qatar Emir to make first official White House visit on Tuesday

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US-Qatar
US-Qatar

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani will meet with US President Barack Obama at the White House this week during his first official visit as leader of Qatar.

In a statement, the White House said: “The President looks forward to discussing with Sheikh Tamim political, economic, and security issues of mutual concern to our two countries.”

Qatar is home to the largest US air base in the Middle East and diplomatic and economic relations between the two countries run deep.

The Emir’s visit comes as tensions between Qatar and Egypt – another key US ally – are once again on the rise.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Earlier this week, Qatar recalled its ambassador to Cairo after engaging in a war of words with Egyptian officials.

The dispute began when Qatar expressed reservations about Egypt’s retaliatory air strikes in Libya after ISIL fighters there executed 21 kidnapped Egyptian Christians.

Qatar instead urged consultations between Arab League members before launching unilateral military action that could result in civilian casualties. But Egypt took offense at the position, saying the Gulf state was “constantly taking stances” against it and embracing “a supportive stance of terrorism.”

Initially, it appeared the GCC backed Qatar after it recalled its ambassador to Cairo, but over the weekend officials ended up saying they support all military actions taken by Egypt against terrorist groups in Libya.

The visit to the US also comes after Taliban officials reportedly said that they planned to hold a round of talks with American officials in Qatar, where the Afghan group has a political office. The news was reported by Reuters, which cited diplomatic sources.

However, since then both US and Taliban leaders have denied the talks would take place.

Past meetings

This is not Sheikh Tamim’s first trip to the US as Qatar’s leader. In 2013, he spoke out against the suffering of the Palestinian people during an address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Emir speech to UN - September 2014
Emir speech to UN – September 2014

And in a visit last fall, he sat for his first international television interview, fielding questions from CNN about Qatar’s foreign policy, human rights and the 2022 World Cup.

However, the last official White House visit between the leaders of the US and Qatar took place in April 2013, less than two months before Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani ceded authority to his son.

At that time, the main topic of discussion was escalating violence in Syria, with Al Thani urging “a solution to the bloodshed.”

Before that, the two leaders had met in 2011, after an eight-year gap in meeting with an American president that analysts said stemmed from tension over Doha-based Al Jazeera’s coverage of the Iraq war.

Thoughts?

19 COMMENTS

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MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

I guess the discussions will be pretty short. Please keep the American base in Qatar and we will pick up 50% of the tab, plus we will buy American military hardware of which we have no use.

Obama “deal”

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Ummm….no, you give Obama to much credit. He will offer up some of the US islands in the South Pacific, and a southern city in the US that did not support him in return for being able to convert the US Airbase into a center for climate research and offer to allow Qatar to just keep what they want, including the people, as he didn’t like those military guys much anyway, other than to use them as a photo backdrop (yes he actually said that they make a good one). In exchange he will ask for some beads.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

And continue to allow Exxon to extract 99 percent of its overseas LNG operations from Qatar at an obscene profit margin.

MrJames
MrJames
6 years ago

I wonder how many US Presidents the Emir will see come and go over his lifetime? Next year, Obama will be put out to pasture, and gone, sadly having achieved very little of potential. That’s sure to be a factor, and I rather imagine Sheikh Tamim, not Obama, will be setting the agenda for the meeting..

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  MrJames

– he (& his predecessor) managed to stop the global economy going completely & utterly belly up
– he got tens of thousands of troops out of Iraq & Afghanistan
– he got some sort of health coverage for millions who had none before
He may not have lived up to expectations but in the context of the American system that is not a bad run.

J118
J118
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

Yep, he took the troops out that shouldn’t have been there anyway.

MrJames
MrJames
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

You’re not seriously suggesting ‘Bush and Obama saved the globally economy’ are you? Bush is a half-wit and an imbecile. The man can’t tie his own shoelaces. He caused the global economic downturn. It was on Bush’s watch that the subprime market collapsed, precipitating the economic downturn.
And Obama did little to fix it. The Global economy recovered despite two US Presidents, not because of them.

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  MrJames

IMHO – the causes of the problem go back further – perhaps even to Thatcher and Reagan. I’m no big fan of George W but he was definitely not an “imbecile” or a “half-wit”. Both he and Obama did pretty much the same thing – i.e. throw heaps of taxpayers hard earned dollars at enough private sector basket cases to stop everything going down the plughole. I’m not saying it was the best course of action or that I liked it but (IMHO) it was probably what stopped everything getting worse… (in the short term at least)…

MrJames
MrJames
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

I’ll grant that Obama took key steps to aid the recovery of the US economy, but I don’t believe the Global economy owes him any large debt of gratitude.
If there’s been one global steadying force over the last ten years, that award would have to go to Angela Merkel.

Elkhorn
Elkhorn
6 years ago
Reply to  MrJames

I have to give my 2 cents here. It was (and still is) because of Merkel that Europe has not recovered, compared to the US and UK. Only because of Mario Draghi and the ECB’s interventions, that Europe did not face deflation and whose overall economy is now slowly growing.

I would rather put the success of the Global Economy to the Central Bankers (Bernanke – US, Draghi – EU, Kuroda – Japan, etc.) as they’ve learned the lessons of the Great Depression and prevented a full blowout of the global economy.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago
Reply to  Elkhorn

That is a far more accurate assessment – Presidents provide only words. In the US especially, the Federal Bank is not part (or is not supposed to be) of the government, so it can do as it pleases without interference. A President can suggest that they focus on a certain economic angle, but they are not beholden to it, though the Chairman/Bard of Governors does serve at the pleasure of the President as to represent the interests of the government in terms of the economy. The steps that the Central Banks have taken and are still taking are one of the few reasons that the financial crisis was not as painful as it could have been. However, the loose money policy will eventually swing back around and create a fairly severe inflationary issue, which will drive interest rates through the roof….

MrJames
MrJames
6 years ago
Reply to  AEC

I’ll just go on record though that I like Obama. He’s a highly intelligent man of incredibly high morality. The reason I believe he hasn’t fulfilled his potential is mostly because of the US political system blocking pretty much every single positive thing he’s tried to achieve, the failure to close Guantanamo being a key example.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago
Reply to  MrJames

Do we measure intellect by statement or action? If the later, I would state that he is maybe not as intelligent as his handlers like people to believe. Bush – not an idiot. His issues were not about intellect. He is painted that way because of his poor public speaking. His problem is that he is ideologically driven, which interferes with rational thinking. Obama suffers from much of the same. And he owned congress for 2 years, and yet he still accomplished so little? Not buying it. He made the mistake of jamming through a health care proposal written by one party of congress rather than dealing with the economy first. It was more about legacy from day one than worrying about the everyday person. I don’t call that high morals.

Cerebus
Cerebus
6 years ago
Reply to  MrJames

Bush did not cause a global economic meltdown. I know that people want to blame the president for everything, but that simply is not the case. Presidents of the US do not have their hands the levers of the economy. The Global meltdown was years (decades in the making). This started in the 1970s and 80s with economic issues with the Savings and Loan industry (government bailout took that bubble and moved it to junk bonds) which lead to the crash in the early 1990s (again some more government meddling) that pushed the bubble into the tech industry, that collapsed, but was propped up by Clinton removing the law that kept commercial banks and investment banks apart AND congress passing legislation to allow “low income” persons to buy homes, which led to banks giving mortgages (by rules written by and backed by the US Government) to people that could not afford them, which the banks balanced the risk by buying insurance policies and using derivatives to protect their poor investments in the mortgage securities that were being forced by the Government. Alan Greenspan told the US Congress in 2006 – when the Democrat party took control, that it was about to come crashing down if they did not act. So they acted by loosening the rules even more and increasing the bad loans and then bailing out the banks (the President does not write laws – that was congress that bailed them out) when it fell apart. The big global implication is that all those previous bubbles, including the Pan Asian crisis that took down Japan, Korea, and South American economies along with the housing bubble and crisis there as led to a sovereign debt bubble that will be even more disastrous. Adding to that the current US president and the congress have doubled the US national debt in 6 years, an amazing thing actually. Yeah…..the big whammy is still coming. It will start in Europe an spread to China and the US……but the house of cards is going to and has to collapse.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

Perhaps a useful conversation would be….
Obama…”You know Tamin , we have these things called seat belts very useful you know, and also police that are empowered and trained to enforce the law. You know what happens, not as many people die on the roads as a result. Also with all that money to advance your country how about spending some on reform of the education, lift those PISA rates and watch the benefits and advance the country.”
Tamin…..”Thanks Obama, very good ideas. Now, how about you stop playing world police and invading countries. Tell your people to stop speaking so loudly at tourist attractions. Health reform is a very good idea. Also break all ties with Australia until they get rid of that fool of a PM, he’s a class A clown”
Cant wait for the comments this will generate …….Im off to put on a bomb disposal suit for protection….

jliscorpio
jliscorpio
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Observant One the loud (or fat or stupid or entitled etc…) American stereotype is worn out, thin and threadbare. Not that it doesn’t exist but that it is not applied to all of the loud tourists encountered across the globe I’m sure by you, by Americans and all. Open your eyes and acquaint yourself to the annoyances around you and you will find them arriving from every country including your own and perhaps even you.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

And the stereotype of Gulf travelers is?

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

If I were Obama I don’t think I could grit my teeth with the required degree of restraint.

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