US ambassador to Qatar reveals despair at Trump shenanigans

US ambassador to Qatar reveals despair at Trump shenanigans
2 min read
The US ambassador to Qatar broke diplomatic tradition this week, after commenting on the "increasingly difficult" situation back home following Trump's dismissal of the FBI director.
The US ambassador to Qatar made the remarks online [Getty]
The US ambassador to Qatar has expressed dissatisfaction with political events back home in a decidedly undiplomatic message posted on social media.

Dana Shell Smith, who has been the US envoy to the Gulf emirate since 2014, took to Twitter in the hours after the dramatic sacking of FBI director James Comey by President Donald Trump:

"Increasingly difficult to wake up overseas to news from home, knowing I will spend today explaining our democracy and institutions," Shell Smith tweeted, in an apparent disapproval of the move.

It was a rare public show of exasperation with political events - either in the US or Qatar - by the envoy, who was appointed by former president Barack Obama.

The message was posted on May 9 and has been retweeted more than 2,000 times, prompting some angry reactions with calls for her to be sacked for her apparent criticism of the president.

In a later post on Thursday morning Shell Smith appeared to try to take the sting out of her earlier message:

"Diplomats explain & defend our political system. Can be tough when partisan acrimony so high, but there is still no greater country. #USA," she tweeted.

Qatar is a key US ally and home to al-Udeid, the largest US airbase in the region, which houses around 10,000 troops.

Last month, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis visited Doha and met Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. Trade between the two countries continues to grow.

US ties to Qatar and other Gulf states became strained during the presidency of Barack Obama, who many in the Middle East saw as too inactive regarding the civil war in Syria, as well as overly friendly with Iran.

The US and Qatar also share close economic ties, with national carrier Qatar Airways announcing in October the acquisition of up to 100 Boeing aircraft worth $18.6 billion.

In a further economic development last year, after Trump's election victory, it was announced that gas-rich Qatar's sovereign wealth fund was seeking to invest $10 billion in US infrastructure projects.