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In a rebuke to the countries boycotting Qatar, the US has suspended military exercises with its Gulf allies.

According to the Associated Press, US Central Command said the aim is to show that the military wants its allies in the region to work together.

“We are opting out of some military exercises out of respect for the concept of inclusiveness and shared regional interests,” the newswire cited Col. John Thomas, a Centcom spokesman, as saying.

Qatar is home to the largest US air base in the Middle East. President Donald Trump initially supported the blockade against Qatar in June.

But US officials are now working to end the months-long dispute.

Will it work?

GCC nations have not commented on the decision.

But analysts said it could be perceived as a “slap in the face” to the boycotting nations, which include Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.

The Qatar Insider

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Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Andreas Krieg, assistant professor at King’s College in London for defense studies and a former adviser to Qatar’s military said:

“Joint military exercises are essential for the Gulf militaries to build capability.

All Gulf states want to appeal to the U.S. as viable partners in achieving joint strategic interests, so this announcement is really a slap in the face,” he said.

Another analyst told the AP that the US appears to be running out of patience because the dispute is distracting from its war on terrorism.

One theory is that the Pentagon could step up pressure for reconciliation by freezing weapon sales to Gulf nations, as an American lawmaker suggested months ago.

Thoughts?

Mandalay Bay Resort

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Qatari officials have denounced this week’s shooting in Las Vegas, saying they stand with the US in its efforts to “maintain security and stability.”

The attack killed at least 59 people and injured 500 others, and is being called the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

Police said the gunman was Stephen Craig Paddock, a 64-year-old white Nevada resident who killed himself when officers stormed his hotel room.

Islamic State has claimed credit for the attack, but offered no evidence. American authorities say it appears Paddock acted alone.

Condolences

In a statement, Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also expressed condolences to the families of the victims, Gulf Times reports.

The Emir and several other senior officials also sent their sympathies to US President Donald Trump and those affected.

Qatar’s national carrier is expected to begin flying directly to Las Vegas next year.

Thoughts?

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Hurricane Harvey aftermath

In what is being called the largest contribution by a foreign government, Qatar has pledged $30 million to help people in Texas rebuild after Hurricane Harvey.

The funds are being donated through the new Qatar Harvey Fund, which will work with Texas officials to aid flood-hit communities.

In a statement, Ambassador Meshal bin Hamad Al Thani said:

“Texans are stronger than any storm and will come back bigger and better, and Qatar stands ready to help our friends at every turn.”

Hurricane Harvey hit Texas two weeks ago. More than 70 people died in the storm and from the subsequent flooding.

According to CNN, Harvey has caused some $75 billion in damage, “making it one of the most expensive natural disasters on record.”

Qatar has strong ties to Texas and its natural gas industry. It also hosts a satellite campus of Texas A&M University in Doha.

Additionally, more than 450 Qataris currently live in Houston, officials said.

US relations

Qatar’s donation comes on the same day that the UAE pledged $10 million to the Harvey relief effort.

Many GCC countries including Qatar have been working to strengthen ties with the US since the Gulf dispute began in June.

Authorities have been looking to American officials to help bring an end to the crisis.

The US has sent mixed messages over the past three months. But Kuwait’s Emir is visiting the White House this weekend to discuss the matter.

Thoughts?