US Ambassador to Qatar Resigns Days After Trump Attacks Qatar Via Twitter
1/2 This month, I end my 3 years as U.S. Ambassador to #Qatar. It has been the greatest honor of my life and I’ll miss this great country.
— Dana Shell Smith (@AmbDana) June 13, 2017
Smith’s resignation comes after a series of tweets by Donald Trump criticizing Qatar last week.
“During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar—look!” Trump tweeted.
“So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!” he continued.
The tweets set off alarm bells around the world. For one thing, the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East is located in Qatar. Qatar is an important partner in the U.S.’s fight against terrorism, getting a vote of confidence from secretary of state Rex Tillerson just one day before Trump’s tweets.
U.S. Ambassador to Qatar Dana Shell Smith, an Obama appointee, appeared to express her disapproval of Trump in May, shortly after FBI Director James Comey’s firing.
Increasingly difficult to wake up overseas to news from home, knowing I will spend today explaining our democracy and institutions.
— Dana Shell Smith (@AmbDana) May 10, 2017
Trump’s sudden hostility towards Qatar is an abrupt shift in the U.S.’s treatment of the Gulf nation. The change in posture appears inexplicable, and has escalated a growing crisis in the region.
However, there may be an explanation for Trump’s antagonism. According to a report in the Huffington Post, Trump, his daughter Ivanka, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner have all sought—and failed to secure—financing for a number of investments from Qatari leaders since 2010.
Given that Trump has shown repeatedly that there is no slight too small or revenge too petty, his outburst against Qatar could have more to do with Donald Trump’s bruised ego than with what is in the United States’ best interest. Attacking Qatar is certainly not in the best interest of the men and women in the U.S. armed forces based in Qatar.
While Smith’s resignation is abrupt, it is not surprising.
Featured Image: Official photo