Bahrain Orders Qatar Troops Stationed at US Base to Leave Country
2017-06-19 - 6:06 am
Bahrain Mirror: Bahrain has ordered Qatari troops stationed in the island Kingdom under the US Naval Forces Central Command to exit the country within 48 hours over the diplomatic row with Doha, a source told AFP on Sunday.
Bahrain hosts a US base where US Naval Forces Central Command operates, including military personnel from countries across the region, who carry out war-related missions against extremist organizations in the Middle East.
"The Bahrainis told the US general in command of the base that Qatari soldiers must leave," the source said. "They are still in the base but likely to leave within the next two days."
The news comes two weeks after a number of countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and embargoed all sea, air and land traffic to and from the country. They accused Doha of supporting terrorist groups, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as interfering in other countries' domestic affairs. Several other states in the region scaled back diplomatic relations with the country. Qatar; however, denied these accusations.
Shortly after the severing of ties, the leadership of the Saudi-led Arab coalition against the Houthi rebels in Yemen announced the end of Qatar's participation in the alliance "because of its practices that promote terrorism."
Despite US President Donald Trump's criticism of Qatar, Washington is sending signals that it will not give up the tiny emirate, as intense diplomatic efforts continue to find a solution to the crisis.
This week, two US naval vessels arrived at the Hamad port south of Doha to "participate in a joint exercise with the Qatari navy," the country's defense ministry said.
In Washington, US Defense Secretary James Matiss and his Qatari counterpart Khalid Al-Attiyah signed an agreement under which the United States would sell Qatar F-15 fighter jets worth $12 billion, the Pentagon said.
There has always been close cooperation between Qatar and the United States, which has a huge military base in the country comprising around 10,000 US troops who participate in the fight against the extremist Islamic State (ISIS).
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