Jared Kushner takes on Qatar blockade in Middle East ‘swan song’

Jared Kushner, senior adviser to United States President Donald Trump as well as his son-in-law, has travelled to the Gulf in the waning days of the Trump administration to seek final, long-shot victories in US Middle East policy – including ending a Saudi-led blockade of Qatar.

That encompasses ending the over three-year-long land, air and sea blockade of Qatar by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and non-GCC member Egypt – and uniting the GCC against Tehran.

The blockading countries in June 2017 had accused Qatar of becoming too close with Tehran and supporting “terrorism”. Qatar has consistently denied those allegations and refused to comply with a list of 13 demands that included scaling back diplomatic ties with Iran and shuttering a Turkish military base in Qatar.

“I see all of [Kushner’s] agenda items connected to enhancing Israel’s interests and Israel’s position,” William Lawrence, an American University lecturer and a former senior Department of State official under the administration of US President Barack Obama, told Al Jazeera. “They include continuing to maximise efforts against Iran by trying to solve the Gulf blockade of Qatar totally or in part.”

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