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A rise in tension between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates in a row over military flights threatens U.S. strategic interests in the Gulf and could benefit regional rival Iran. Abu Dhabi says Qatari air force jets intercepted two UAE civilian aircraft on commercial flights to Bahrain last month, and Doha says UAE military aircraft violated its airspace on Dec. 21 and Jan. 3 .The increase in tension, seven months after the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt imposed travel and trade sanctions on Qatar over accusations – denied by Doha – that it supports terrorism and regional rival Iran, has alarmed Washington.The base would be crucial if the United States were to go to war with Iran, which Washington says sponsors terrorism and is a threat to stability and U.S. interests in the Middle East.More than any of the countries boycotting Qatar, the UAE bristles at alleged Qatari support for Islamists throughout the region and maintains a hard line against the Muslim Brotherhood, branches of which are supported by Doha in some countries.
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