Pentagon’s top brass says GCC’s severed ties with Qatar will not impact ISIS fight
The world learned Monday that several countries have cut ties with Qatar amid allegations it supports extremism in the region.
The move, which Qatar calls “unjustified,” is an orchestration by Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and closes all transport ties by air, land and sea to Qatar, a tiny gas-rich peninsula.
The United States has about 10,000 troops at Al Udeid Air Base in Doha, Qatar’s capital. The base is the Unites States’ largest in the Middle East, the forward headquarters of Central Command and the staging area for much of the war against ISIS.
U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, in testimony before a Senate committee, said she is not concerned about the U.S. air base in Qatar.
Wilson said there was no threat Al Udeid Air Base would be removed, and that U.S. operations continue without interruption, according to Reuters.
Wilson and U.S. Air Force chief of staff General David Goldfein were giving testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee on the posture of the Air Force and its fiscal year 2018 budget request.
Defense Secretary James Mattis said, according to The Hill, he doesn’t believe the rift will affect the ISIS fight, and the issue will “resolve itself.”
“I am positive there will be no implications coming out of this dramatic situation at all, and I say that based on the commitment that each of these nations that you just referred to have made to this fight,” Mattis told reporters in Australia Monday.
The Secretary of State agrees with Wilson and Mattis, according to The Hill.
“I do not expect that this will have any significant impact, if any impact at all, on the unified — the unified fight against terrorism in the region or globally,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters in Australia Monday.
Tillerson also encouraged the countries to work out their differences.
“I think what we’re witnessing is a growing list of disbelief in the countries for some time, and they’ve bubbled up to take action in order to have those differences addressed,” Tillerson said. “We certainly would encourage the parties to sit down together and address these differences.”
Mattis said during the Australian news conference how the issue resolves itself depends on Iran’s behavior.
“I believe Iran’s actions speak louder than anyone’s words, and they are going to incite the international community in that region to try to block them in the various destabilizing efforts that they are undertaking right now, from Syria, where [President Bashar] Assad remains in power today because of Iran’s actions, to Yemen, where they have been contributing in an unhelpful way to a war that is marooning millions of people and leaving them vulnerable to starvation and health problems and violence,” The Hill reports Mattis said. He continued, “So I think it’s Iran’s actions that will speak most loudly, and the diplomatic situation, it will probably take some time — I don’t know how long — but it will be resolved.”
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