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The sudden embargo on Qatar pushed this month by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia has peeved the State Department and Pentagon, drawing sharp criticism of those two close Gulf allies.The June 5 announcement of the anti-Qatar blockade surprised the U.S. on several levels, officials said.Secretary of Defense James Mattis feared the blockade might jeopardize U.S. operations at Al-Udeid Air Base, south of Doha, the most important U.S. military hub in the region.Youssef al-Otaiba, the UAE ambassador to Washington, acknowledged the State and Pentagon criticism of his country's action. Trump's instinct was to side with the Saudis and Emiratis.On a broader level, Trump is said to believe the U.S. shouldn't try to solve problems for Middle Eastern countries and should instead let "the natural order play itself out," as one official put it.But over the subsequent 10 days, Trump decided to give Tillerson responsibility for negotiating a solution.
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