President Donald Trump is bringing "reality to the situation" in the Middle East by backing a Saudi-led coalition's tough stance against neighboring Qatar, said Sadad al-Husseini, a former executive at Saudi Arabia's state oil company.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and other Muslim-majority nations cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday, alleging the small Gulf monarchy supports terrorism. In a series of tweets Tuesday, Trump took partial credit and expressed support for the anti-Qatar alliance's actions, suggesting his tough remarks during a visit to Saudi Arabia two weeks ago spurred them on.
The tweets contradicted statements from White House officials and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who did not publicly take sides, sought to ease tensions and encouraged the parties to hold talks.
@realDonaldTrump: During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar - look!
@realDonaldTrump: So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding...
@realDonaldTrump: ...extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!
But Husseini, who now runs consultancy Husseini Energy, on Wednesday said Trump had focused attention on the risk posed to the Middle East energy industry by a lack of security and stability.
"This kind of situation is a way to maybe give Qatar a wake-up call that they need to work with the rest of the Gulf states to stabilize the region to try to undermine all the terror that's going on across the whole Middle East," the former Saudi Aramco executive vice president told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."
There is substantial evidence that lax oversight has allowed terror financing to flourish within Qatar. Leaders in Doha also have supported al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate, the Al-Nusra Front, in its bid to unseat Syrian President Bashar Assad. Qatar also backs the Palestinian political and militant group Hamas and the international Islamist movement the Muslim Brotherhood, which Saudi Arabia and Egypt oppose.
But Saudi Arabia has also been accused of destabilizing the region through its intervention in Yemen's civil war, which has exacted a heavy civilian death toll.