UAE Ambassador Urges Trump To Move CENTCOM Air Base Out Of Qatar

With the naval and economic blockade of Qatar extending into the second week, while Qatar's banks and money exchanges are fast running out of dollars, today the wealthy Gulf state defied and accused the Saudi-led alliance of engaging in an "illegal siege" designed to apply political pressure, while rebuffing the Saudi "offer" of food and aid.

Qatar “completely rejects linking its name with false allegations on financing of terrorism or even claiming its failure to fight terrorism,” the statement cited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying. The bloc’s actions are “aimed at putting the State of Qatar, its citizens and residents under pressure to achieve political purposes.” The economic crisis that has ensued after Saudi Arabia and fellow states severed ties with Qatar "can’t be described as merely a boycott" Qatar said in a statement on Wednesday and reported by Bloomberg, and responded to the Saudi offer that the country has enough food and medical supplies.

The terse response signals that the world’s biggest exporter of LNG is prepared for a lengthy dispute with its neighbors after both sides stepped up efforts to win support from the U.S. over the past week.

Meanwhile, in a striking development, the U.A.E.’s ambassador in Washington, Yousef Al Otaiba, urged the Trump administration should consider moving its air base out of Qatar, the Associated Press reported, a decision which while unlikely, would leave Qatar without a significant insurance policy in the crisis.

An aerial overhead view of "Ops Town" at at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar

As a reminder, Qatar is home to Al Udeid Air Base, CENTCOM’s forward headquarters in the Middle East and a crucial hub for the U.S. air campaign against ISIS. Home to 11,000 U.S. and coalition service members and up to 120 aircraft — including the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing’s legendary combat airpower and, as of 2016, B-52s dropping bombs on suspected jihadists — the base is home to a $60 million Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) that oversees U.S. airpower in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and 18 other nations throughout the region.

Which is why the Department of Defense will “resist very strongly” any suggestion of moving the Al Udaid base, according to Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, Middle East fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute. “Al Udaid offers the U.S. facilities that are, at the moment, unmatched in the Gulf, and cannot simply be replicated elsewhere, at least not overnight,’’ Ulrichsen said on June 6 in an email. Still, “moving the base would be a big blow for Qatar as having CENTCOM was an external security guarantee that has, for decades, underpinned Qatar’s regional security stance.”

However, the fact that Saudi Arabia is now actively working on eliminating Qatar's most powerful bargaining chip with the US is troubling, and suggests that the oil-rich kingdom is preparing for even greater escalation with its LNG-exporting neighbor.

Meanwhile, adding to the confusion, the US has continued to send conflicting signals: Trump said on Friday he backed the Saudi-led movement because Qatar has historically “been a funder of terrorism at a very high level.” He spoke after a more conciliatory statement from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who urged the easing of a “blockade” he said was hindering the fight against Islamic State and causing food shortages. The UAE ambassador, however said, that wouldn’t happen, adding that he didn’t see the crisis escalating into a military conflict.

Topping it all off, also on Wednesday Qatar expressed its growing frustration at not receiving specific demands from the Saudi alliance, despite reports of a "24-hour ultimatum" last week, which it said made a diplomatic solution impossible to reach. Al Otaiba told reporters the Saudi-led alliance would “fairly soon” provide a list to the U.S. Almost as if Saudi Arabia does not want a resolution to the conflict it started, and is merely waiting, and hoping, for an escalation.


Jim in MN supersajin Wed, 06/14/2017 - 15:19 Permalink

Sure beats talking about Seth Rich or Loretta Lynch.Don't think ZH even covered the latest from Circa News yesterday:…Ex-FBI Director James Comey has privately told members of Congress that he had a frosty exchange with Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch last year when he confronted her about possible political interference in the Hillary Clinton email investigation after showing Lynch a sensitive document she was unaware the FBI possessed.

In reply to by supersajin

doctor10 supersajin Wed, 06/14/2017 - 16:09 Permalink

All the GCC states have been playing footsie with the MB for the last 15 years. Obammy encouraged it. Trump is discouraging it.

The GCC chose Qatar as the "fall guy". Evidently they forgot about CentCom before doing so. As well as the fact Qatar is right across the water from its now new trading partner, Iran. And probably a few other less obvious idiocies in there somewhere.

All Trump wants is the MB NOT to get another billion dollars this year by kidnapping another GCC Royal Family.

In reply to by supersajin

11b40 doctor10 Wed, 06/14/2017 - 16:43 Permalink

These rag heads (inbred) Royals are not known for strategic thinking.  You may well be correct in that they overlooked a few things, as you noted above, but there is another one that could be a huge problem for them if Qatar & Iran become best buds.  Below are 2 links to maps.  The first shows population areas of Shia vs. Sunni/Wahhabism.  The second shows where the concentration of oil fields/pipelines/ports are located in SA.  Anyone see a problem for SA if Iran starts a bunch of clandestine activities to destabilize these regions?… love maps.  They tend to explain a lot of the reasons behind events.  

In reply to by doctor10

francis scott … doctor10 Wed, 06/14/2017 - 19:41 Permalink

Stop spreading fake news about Qatar.  Nobody chose Qatar as "the fall guy."Qatar and Russia had been slow dancing for months and the geniuses of the 'deep state', (in their supreme stupidity) thought that by having KSA accuse themof supporting terrorism, they would drop Moscow and return to their positionunder the thumb of the House of Saud. Needless to say that didn't work out too well for KSA, UAE, and deep state.The only reason that the UAE Ambassador delivered the message aboutleaving Qatar, was that King Salman is trying to look moderate in thiswhole kerfuffle and didn't want to be quoted. Could be that Qatar will hook up with Putin and the ME will become a real hottie.

In reply to by doctor10

Zepper Wed, 06/14/2017 - 15:28 Permalink

Once those 10k soldiers get moved out of Quatar... then that is the first signal that Quatar is going to be annexed by SA. and the first volley of war will be unleashed in the middle east.... causing untold casualties, massive economic strife and a new order will emerge which imho is going to make the docile, behind the scenes cunts we have today look like the good old days. 

smacker Zepper Wed, 06/14/2017 - 15:37 Permalink

"Once those 10k soldiers get moved out of Quatar... then that is the first signal that Quatar is going to be annexed by SA."Yep, I'd bet that is SA's secret agenda. And it fits well into a strong suspicion that its major oil field Ghawar has peaked and oil output will be tapering off.The obscene savage sub-human Saudi "Royals" need something to replace oil.

In reply to by Zepper

Blankone smacker Wed, 06/14/2017 - 16:00 Permalink

Or perhaps this request to move the base for security reasons and to avoid a claimed terrorist supporting country is the ruse.

Say it has to be moved due to concerns, then say it cannot be moved for many reasons, then allow the Saudis to overrun Qatar and claim publicly it was the best option. Then take control of Qatar's gas fields and use them against Russia.

In reply to by smacker

smacker Jack's Raging … Wed, 06/14/2017 - 16:52 Permalink

If Qatar invited Iran military into the country (standing room only due to square footage problem ;-)), it would cut straight across the Saudi annexation plan.And the only pre-requesite for Qatar is to really really cease and desist all terrorism funding in Syria, which would further screw ISIS.Go for it Qatar,,,don't allow your sub-human Wahhabi neighbours next door to get a foot in your door. Iran could build its military base right next door to CENTCOM.

In reply to by Jack's Raging …

Vimes Wed, 06/14/2017 - 15:38 Permalink

It would really surprise me if they would move their air-base, seems like a good location. Close to the port of Doha, what would the US win by moving to a place in the UAE? The fact that the base is in Qatar would not, in my opinion, hinder a hostile take over from the other Gulf states.

YHWH is greater Wed, 06/14/2017 - 16:02 Permalink

Qatar owns the Paris Saint Germain PSG mudslime/nigger soccer team.That's what Trump gets from pulling out of Paris accords, which favors Nat Gas over oil, and favors Qatar.Nabuco pipeline with fork to Aïfa is compromised, I'm sure this will end well. 

PodissNM Wed, 06/14/2017 - 16:07 Permalink

Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC)lol, how's that acronym pronounced then? And would it be fair to say the UAE is jealous of Qatar and wants the CAOC for themselves?

IranContra Dude-dude Wed, 06/14/2017 - 17:09 Permalink

Sects don't matter for suiciders. Together in hell is their motto. Qatar's government are crypto-Iranians. The MB leadership are crypto-Iranians, they visit Iran regularly. They have been on record despising Arabs. Qatar's ayatollah Qaradawi is not an Arab. Probably Iranian-Jewish like Iraq's Maliki:…

In reply to by Dude-dude

francis scott … Wed, 06/14/2017 - 20:01 Permalink

The only reason that the UAE Ambassador delivered the message aboutour air base leaving Qatar, was that King Salman is trying to look moderatein this whole kerfuffle and didn't want to be quoted.