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Donald Trump’s message to grey allies

Mashari Althaydi

Published: Updated:

“You can't have your cake and eat it too” is a famous western proverb.

This saying today applies on Turkey under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It also somehow applies to Qatar’s current authority.

The two countries have alliance ties with the US. A feature of these ties is the presence of military bases. In Qatar, there are purely American bases in Al-Udeid and Al-Sailiya. And in Turkey, there is a base for the NATO that’s led by Washington, i.e. the famous Incirlik Air Base.

This relationship is not only limited to this sensitive military aspect but there is also the inclusion of these two countries under the banner of the global camp led by Washington against the ambitions, purposes and acts of major countries, primarily Russia and China.

Regarding Russia, the American confrontation with it includes the security, military, political and media aspects. As for China, the confrontation’s first headline is economical, without denying the confrontation’s other facets.

The dispute between Erdogan and Trump is not limited to the issue of the American pastor jailed in Turkey. This is the headline of the crisis but the content is Erdogan’s act of taking Turkey towards the camp that opposes Washington.

Mashari Althaydi

Of course there are “margins” to the activity of Washington’s allies with Russia and China even if this upsets the Americans. The picture however is different when work goes beyond acting within the framework of these margins to working like enemies and not like allies. In this case, only in this case, this or that state must select the type of relation with Washington.

Erdogan’s Turkey is going through a critical phase due to the decline of the local currency after American President Donald Trump intensified sanctions. The worse is yet to come. Populist President Erdogan continues to threaten the US with woes and with the worst!

The dispute between Erdogan and Trump is not limited to the issue of the American pastor jailed in Turkey. This is the headline of the crisis but the content is Erdogan’s act of taking Turkey towards the camp that opposes Washington. The defiance of Erdogan and his men to the sanctions on Iran was a flagrant form of empty defiance.

So now, who will help Erdogan in his financial and economic storm?

Qatar, that cannot go far in provoking the current American administration. It’s said that Erdogan is angry from Doha because it financially let him down as he requested the authorities to “return the favor” after he insolently sided with Qatar in an “Ottoman-like” manner against the Gulf countries, or the most important Gulf states.

Even the ruling Shiite parties in Iraq could not go far in being bias to the faltering Iran under the whip of American sanctions. In the news, the media spokesperson of Iraqi Prime minister Haider al-Abadi confirmed the reports that the latter cancelled his visit to Tehran and which was scheduled for Tuesday and attributed the move to Abadi’s “busy schedule.” Abadi however headed to Turkey on the same day.

The Associated Press quoted Iraqi officials as saying that “Tehran cancelled Abadi’s visit” after he angered Iranian officials following his announcement that his country is committed to American sanctions against Iran last week.

Anyway, the choices have become clear in the era of solid American President Donald Trump. You will no longer claim alliance with the US while you’re in the opposing camp. Perhaps this “playing” worked during the era of “flexible” President Barack Obama.

This article is also available in Arabic.

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Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.