Qatar is facing an economic and diplomatic boycott by Saudi Arabia and its regional allies who cut ties last week. President Trump has echoed the accusations against Qatar, even as his defence and state departments tried to remain neutral. Remaining true to form, the US has agreed to sell $12 billion worth of F-15 fighter jets to Qatar, acting as a smart opportunist in the region, fomenting conflict, selling arms. A Pentagon spokesperson reportedly said in a statement that the sale is intended to equip Doha with "state-of-the-art capability and increase security cooperation and interoperability" between the US and Qatar.

Since 2013 accusations have been flying. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain suspended ties with Qatar over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, a group labelled a "terrorist organisation" by both Saudi Arabia and the UAE in 2014. Qatar was accused of breaching the 2013 Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) security agreement, of failing to commit to promises it made not to interfere in the internal affairs of fellow GCC states, and of harbouring "hostile media", referring to the Doha-based Al Jazeera.

Qatar has been able to avoid a conflict with the GCC states due to the security umbrella provided by the US, which includes about 11,000 US military personnel in Doha – the largest deployment in the region – and the US Combined Air Operations Centre, which oversees air power in 20 countries. US military protection shields Qatar against military threats from outside the region and empowers it to stand up to its larger GCC allies when it chooses to do so. It appears the US still wants to keep this card in hand.

So while Qatar’s economy is under some stress, support from several countries including Turkey, Iran, Kuwait and Oman give it quite a bit of breathing room, and Saudi Arabia and the UAE will have to wait a bit longer for a Qatari collapse. It would be better that they put aside their insecurities about Qatar, which have no real effect on their economy or security situation. Yes, declining oil prices are worrying, and in this new economic milieu when there is a risk that the Saudi Riyal may have to be devalued, Qatar cosying up to the oil titan Iran is annoying, but there is no real evidence that Qatar actually hurt Saudi interests. It would be better to take a step back now because the US is not really on anyone’s side and the Gulf States are only exposing their own weaknesses by engaging in a diplomatic tantrum.