The US state and defence departments have scrambled to limit the diplomatic damage done by Donald Trump’s morning tweets lambasting Qatar, which is the hub for US military air operations across the Middle East. Trump started the day by taking sides in a bitter row among the Gulf monarchies, in which Saudi Arabia and its allies have sought to isolate Qatar. The US president visited the region last month and claimed to have helped bring unity to the Islamic world in the battle against extremism. While in Riyadh, Trump met regional leaders, including the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. He said the US and Qatar had been “friends for a long time” and that the two leaders discussed the Qatari purchase of “lots of beautiful military equipment.
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