In yet another major victory for President Donald Trump’s foreign policy, Saudi Arabia has opened its airspace, land, and maritime borders to Qatar, ending a three-and-a-half-year long diplomatic and trade blockade.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, who brokered the deal, traveled to Saudi Arabia to attend the agreement’s signing. Kushner “flew to Saudi Arabia on Monday to attend the signing after receiving a rare invitation to the Gulf Cooperation Council meeting where leaders are expected to take the first major steps in ending the dispute,” The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The Associated Press reported the Trump administration’s latest diplomatic success:

Saudi Arabia will open its airspace and land border to Qatar in the first step toward ending a years-long diplomatic crisis that deeply divided U.S. defense partners, frayed societal ties and tore apart a traditionally clubby alliance of Gulf states, officials said late Monday.

Qatar’s only land border has been mostly closed since mid-2017, when Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain launched a blockade against the tiny Gulf state, accusing it of supporting Islamist extremist groups and of having warm ties with Iran. The Saudi border, which Qatar relied on for the import of dairy products, construction materials and other goods, opened briefly during the past three years to allow Qataris into Saudi Arabia to perform the Islamic hajj pilgrimage. (…)

Kuwait, which had been mediating throughout the dispute, was first to announce the diplomatic breakthrough through its foreign minister. Earlier on Monday, the foreign minister had reportedly traveled to Doha to deliver a message to Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

While the Saudi decision marks a major milestone toward resolving the Gulf spat, the path toward full reconciliation is far from guaranteed. The rift between Abu Dhabi and Doha has been deepest, with the UAE and Qatar at sharp ideological odds.

Following Kuwait’s announcement, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, tweeted that his country was keen to restore Gulf unity. However, he cautioned: “We have more work to do and we are in the right direction.”

The deal will further unify the Arab nations against the Islamic Republic of Iran, news reports confirm. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the other Gulf States had severed diplomatic and commercial ties with Qatar’s emirate in mid-2017 for supporting terrorism and aligning itself with Iran.

Oil-rich Qatar is a tiny peninsula in the Persian Gulf with a sole land border with Saudi Arabia. The blockade made the emirate pay millions of dollars to Tehran for re-routing its flights over the Iranian airspace.

The Arab states are alarmed at the prospect of Tehran acquiring a nuclear arsenal. The Iranian regime, the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism, has been arming and backing proxy terrorist groups and militias across the Middle East.

Qatar thanked Washington for the efforts in lifting the blockade. The Qatari officials told Newsweek that the country was “grateful to the U.S. government which, over the past three years, has worked with us to try to bring the illegal blockade of Qatar to an end.”

The opening of the airspace and the maritime borders enhances Washington’s capability to respond to any future Iranian military aggressions. Qatar hosts the largest U.S. military base in the region.

The breakthrough comes on the heels of the Abraham Accord, setting the stage for normalizing ties between Israel and several Arab and Muslim states. Following the endorsement of President Trump-brokered peace accords by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain in mid-September, Arab nations of Morocco and Sudan established diplomatic ties with the Jewish State. The Muslim-majority Balkan state of Kosovo also established full-diplomatic ties with Israel.

The end of the bitter Arab dispute occurred as Iran rushes ahead with its nuclear weapons program. On Monday, Tehran announced its decision to ramp up the enrichment of weapons-grade uranium.

“Raising enrichment puts Iran a technical step away from enriching at 90 percent, the level needed to produce a nuclear warhead,” the NBC confirmed on Monday.

The move was reportedly the biggest known nuclear breach by the Shi’a-Islamic regime since the Obama-Kerry deal five years ago.

 

 
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