WASHINGTON—The Trump administration is scrambling to mend a diplomatic rift between Qatar and its Persian Gulf neighbors and has grown increasingly worried that the emirate is drifting into Iran’s political and economic orbit, according to U.S. officials.
Such a shift, U.S. officials fear, would represent a major political realignment and a potential national security threat as Tehran challenges America and its Middle Eastern allies in the region, heightening the stakes of the Gulf dispute.
Months of shuttle diplomacy by U.S. officials have yielded what they consider significant concessions by the Qataris to ease tensions with its adversaries, chiefly Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. But few U.S. officials or analysts expect an imminent end to the impasse.
The administration hopes a series of high-level visits to Washington by Gulf leaders may lessen the dispute. Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani visited President Donald Trump on Tuesday, with talks expected to encompass the Gulf rift.
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