Conservative Leaders Urge Trump to Stand Up to Qatar on Terrorism, Trade

US President Donald Trump prepares to deliver remarks before dinner with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Emir of Quatar, at the Treasury Department in Washington, DC, on July 8, 2019. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

A trio of conservative leaders sent President Trump a letter over the weekend asking him to stand up to the Emir of Qatar on the issues of support of terrorism and its violation of a trade agreement when the two leaders meet at the White House on Tuesday.

The July 6 letter, obtained by Breitbart News, was sent from J. Kenneth Blackwell, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Jenny Beth Martin, president of Tea Party Patriots, and Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government.

It begins by praising the president for his actions throughout his administration in protecting American interests.

“In your many dealings with foreign leaders, you have not shied away from doing what was necessary to protect American interests and global security,” they wrote.

However, they said, “We write to you because your upcoming meeting with the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, presents an opportunity for you to raise a number of key concerns for our nation and to ensure that Qatar understands America’s resolve.”

Specifically, they argued that Qatar has tried to portray itself as a U.S. ally, but is engaged in many “troubling activities,” such as being a major funder of terrorist organizations including Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Hamas has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the EU and has committed countless acts of violence against our ally Israel. Your administration has designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization as well. The Brotherhood has engaged in violence and persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt and has been a supporter of global terror,” they wrote.

“A nation who supports these types of terrorist organizations cannot consider itself a U.S. ally and that message should be delivered firmly,” they wrote.

Secondly, they argued that Qatar was not living up to its trade commitments with the U.S.

“For years, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates violated their commitments under the Open Skies agreements by subsidizing their airlines. These subsidies allowed their airlines to compete unfairly against our airline industry, putting American companies and jobs at risk,” they wrote.

They said although the Trump administration — unlike the Obama administration — has taken steps to address the violations, it has become clear in recent months that Qatar Airways is violating the commitments it made under the agreements by using its stake in Air Italy as a proxy.

The Open Skies agreement with the EU allows any U.S. airline to fly anywhere in Europe and any European airline to fly anywhere in the U.S. However, U.S. airlines are concerned that Qatar Airways is using a proxy airline — Air Italy, which Qatar owns a 49 percent stake in — to expand into the U.S. Qatar denies using Air Italy as  a proxy.

They also said that Qatar continues to heavily subsidize its airline and shield its financial reporting from transparency it committed to.

“Once again, members of Congress on both sides have called for strong action to ensure Qatar’s compliance with these trade agreements,” they wrote.

“We cannot allow these nations to use loopholes to flout competition and endanger American industries. Secretary Pompeo has rightly recognized the seriousness of this issue and has made clear that it is being looked at closely,” they wrote.

“While you are meeting with the Emir, we hope you use this opportunity to raise these issues in-person and communicate the resolve of the American people,” they said.

Read the full letter here:

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