In July, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson traveled to Doha and signed an agreement with the Qatari foreign minister to work together to combat terrorism financing. At the time, it was a clear sign from the State Department that even in the midst of a feud among its Persian Gulf allies, U.S.-Qatar relations remained on track.
Six months later, members of Congress in both parties are calling that agreement into question, mainly because it has been held by the State Department in secret. And in a twist, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has become the administration’s chief defender of the U.S.-Qatar Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), even though she disagrees with Tillerson on how to deal with Qatar overall.
The lack of transparency is fueling lawmakers’ demands the Trump administration get tougher with Qatar about combating terrorism financing, placing both Tillerson and Haley in the uncomfortable position of defending Qatari progress — with no details to share.