Just days after US President Donald Trump publicly scolded Qatar for being a "high level" exporter of regional terrorism in the Middle East, the Qatari government announced on June 14 it had signed a deal to buy $12 billion worth of F-15 fighter jets from US weapons makers.
The Pentagon justified the massive sale by saying the jets — reportedly 39 of them — would increase "security cooperation" between the two countries.
Trump told reporters at a White House press conference on June 9 that "Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level." The President then said he had decided to take a harder line with the country.
Oil-rich Qatar is a long-time ally and home to a major US airbase in the region, but the latest weapons sale comes amid boiling tensions in the region centred around ongoing wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, as a well as a diplomatic crisis between members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
NBC News reported on June 15 that, “Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar last week and accused it of supporting terrorism and regional unrest.
“Despite these allegations, Qatar is a crucial ally to Washington in the Middle East. It is home to 10,000 American troops and a major American military base that acts as the centre of US operations in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.”
[Abridged from Common Dreams.]
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