Trump unfriended by Qatar Airways CEO for siding with other Arab nations

By @chelean on
Chief Executive of Qatar Airways Akbar al-Baker announces the airline's participation in the oneworld program, at the Hamad International airport in Doha, October 29, 2013.
Chief Executive of Qatar Airways Akbar al-Baker announces the airline's participation in the oneworld program, at the Hamad International airport in Doha, October 29, 2013. Reuters/Fadi Al-Assaad

Donald Trump has just lost a friend. The US president has been denounced by Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker for taking the Gulf nations’ side in the Qatar diplomatic crisis.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Al-Baker has effectively unfriended Trump after the American leader echoed the accusations – made by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and others – that the Gulf state supports terrorism and Iran. Trump even commended the Arab nations for their movie, saying on Twitter, “Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!”

Al-Baker considered Trump his friend, but not anymore. He told the publication that Trump is standing on the other side of his country “unfairly,” and therefore he couldn’t be his friend any longer.

“You know when you live in a glass house, you should not be throwing stones. So I don’t want to get into that, but one thing I can say that I’m very disappointed in the leadership of the United States,” he said. He added that he once considered himself to be Trump’s associate, but only when relating to American politics. “But I cannot remain anybody’s friend if somebody is standing on the other side of the fence, against my nation.”

He reiterated that although he gave Trump a chance when the latter was still campaigning for presidency, their relationship came to an end when the other man stood against Qatar. “My loyalty is to my country, not to any other individual,” Al-Baker said.

Bitter about Qatar snub

Al-Baker said the country is taking the moral high ground, saying he believes in its “very wise leadership.” That said, he also admitted he is “very bitter” about how the other countries abruptly cut diplomatic ties with the small Gulf state. He detailed how their satellite offices in those countries were shut down and how their employees were kicked us as if they were operating illegally.

“This is a wound that has been created for a generation. This will never be forgotten,” he told Al Jazeera.

Qatar’s neighbouring countries – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and UAE – have blocked airspace clearance for Qatar Airways, which Al-Baker said is illegal. Although the Arab nations did not have the right to block it, the CEO said they still have another channel to pursue: over the Qatar airspace into Iran.

Turkey denounces Qatar isolation

Meanwhile, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that the isolation of Qatar by its neighbouring states was a violation of Islamic values. He called the Arab nations’ snub as akin to death penalty.

“A very grave mistake is being made in Qatar; isolating a nation in all areas is inhumane and against Islamic values,” he said. “It’s as if a death penalty decision has been taken for Qatar.”

In case you missed it:
What started it all (Read: Qatar diplomatic crisis: Ransom money and Russian hackers trigger rift)
Qatari citizens panic-buying ( Qatar citizens hoard food supply following Arab nations split)