Donald Trump- Pentagon take opposite sides on Gulf Crisis

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Donald Trump- Pentagon take opposite sides on Gulf Crisis

The Pentagon on Tuesday renewed praise of Qatar for hosting a vital U.S. air base and for its "enduring commitment to regional security," sticking to a message of reassurance even as President Donald Trump, via Twitter, applauded a decision by Arab powers to cut ties to the Gulf ally.

It was the latest example of the tightrope that U.S. officials are walking as Trump's tweets raise questions about existing U.S. policy and the carefully scripted talking points used to explain it.

In the case of Qatar, the stakes are high. More than 11,000 U.S. and coalition forces are deployed to or assigned to al Udeid Air Base, from which more than 100 aircraft operate.

Of those 11,000, nearly 1,000 work in a combined air operations center that helps oversee missions for campaigns in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, the military says.

U.S. officials had said on Monday that the United States would quietly try to calm the waters between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, arguing that the small Gulf state was too important to U.S. military and diplomatic interests to be isolated. - Agencies