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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Qatar’s Amir congratulates US President-elect Joe Biden


The 2020 US election has resulted in a contentious Joe Biden presidential win. 

Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani sent his congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden on Saturday, who emerged as the winner of the contentious 2020 election by obtaining the 270 electoral college votes. 

Congratulations to President-Elect @JoeBiden and Vice President-Elect @KamalaHarris. My best wishes to the people of the United States and I look forward to working together to continue strengthening the friendship between our countries,” the Amir said in a Tweet on Saturday.

The results were released 4 days after the Nov. 3 ‘Election Day’ due to delays over a high percentage of mail-in ballots that were submitted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

President-elect Joe Biden flipped “battleground” states Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, while retaining the traditionally democratic states.

In a tweet shortly after the results were aired, President-elect Biden vowed to be a leader for all.

“America, I’m honoured that you have chosen me to lead our great country. The work ahead of us will be hard, but I promise you this: I will be a President for all Americans – whether you voted for me or not. I will keep the faith that you have placed in me,” he said.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump refused to concede defeat, called for immediate recounts and launched a legal challenge by filing lawsuits in a number of states over baseless voter fraud allegations.

Just minutes before the president-elect was announced, an apparently angry Trump tweeted: “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!”

Qatar-Trump relations

Relations between Qatar and the the United States have fluctuated under the Trump administration in the past four years.

Almost instantly, Trump’s administration moved closer to Saudi Arabia than any prior US administration, signalling its intention with Trump’s first foreign trip outside the US to Riyadh.

The trip essentially precipitated the Gulf Crisis that led to the illegal blockade on Qatar. 

Trump also went as far as claiming credit for engineering the crisis in a tweet posted just a day after the announcement of the blockade.

President Trump had also previously called Qatar a “funder of terrorism” during an appearance alongside the President of Romania at the White House. 

However, soon after Qatar began heavily investing in the US, Trump seemingly readjusted his stance and lauded the Qatari Emir for becoming a “big advocate” of combating terrorist financing.

Qatar “buys a lot of equipment from us, a lot of purchases in the United States and a lot of military airplanes, missiles,” Trump said during the Amir’s trip to Washington DC in 2018.

Across the Arab world, Trump has also been highly unpopular among the general public due to his controversial moving of the United States embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, recognising the contested holy city as the capital of Israel.

Trump’s anti Muslim policies, such as the travel ban from Muslim-majority countries, as well as his fiery Islamophobic rhetoric, also created a fracture between Arab populations and the United States. 

Read more: What would a Biden presidency look like for Qatar, GCC region?

In an exclusive opinion piece for Doha News, experts at Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) said changes are expected to be made under a Biden presidency.

“Among small adjustments, Biden is expected to return to a more moderate, but fundamentally unchanged approach of prior administrations, which centres on close ties to Israel and arms sales that fuel the region’s arms race,” Michael Eisner, the general counsel of DAWN and Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director at the newly-formed organisation and the former US State Department Attorney-Adviser, wrote.

“Qatari citizens also should welcome the election of a President Joe Biden, who will bring pressure to bear to end the Saudi and UAE-led blockade and will minimise the significance of Qatar’s ties with Iran,” the expert analysts added.

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