President Donald Trump’s renewed push to resolve a three-month showdown between Qatar and a Saudi-led coalition was spurred by a conviction that the impasse has distracted US Gulf allies from his attempt to challenge Iran.
Trump told Kuwaiti officials visiting the White House last week that Gulf Arab nations can’t effectively counter growing Iranian regional influence if they’re busy fighting each other, according to a Gulf
official with knowledge of the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The president then engaged in a flurry of phone calls with Gulf leaders that ultimately led to the first direct contact between Qatar’s ruler and Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince since the crisis erupted in early June, the official said. So far, at least in public, Trump’s efforts appear only to have exposed the wide rift between the two sides, as they released conflicting versions of the conversation.
The “real challenge” for the US and its Gulf Cooperation Council allies is Iran, Trump told the Kuwaiti delegation, according to the official. The president told his visitors he would “put an end to the dispute
very soon,” the official said.