US, Qatar agree F-15 fighter sale

After three Sunni Gulf countries - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE - along with Egypt moved to cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar, host to the one of the Pentagon's largest military bases in the Middle East and a linchpin in the fight against ISIS, President Donald Trump seemed to back the move, saying last week that Qatar had to do more to combat the funding of terrorism. "The $12 billion sale will give Qatar a state of the art capability and increase security cooperation and interoperability between the United States and Qatar", Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Roger Cabiness told CNN in a statement.

Mattis and Attiyah also discussed the US-led military campaign against the Islamic State jihadist group and "the importance of de-escalating tensions so all partners in the Gulf region can focus on next steps in meeting common goals".

The deal offered to Qatar by the United States is a massive arms sale agreement, which includes 36 American-built F-15 jets, which in turn provides 40,000 more jobs to Americans.

A $12 billion deal to buy Boeing F-15 US fighter jets shows Qatar has deep-rooted support from Washington, a Qatari official said on Thursday, adding that its rift with some other Arab states had not hurt the USA relationship with Doha.

The U.S. military announced a similar $21.1 billion deal in November for 72 F-15QA fighter jets for Qatar in the waning days of the Obama administration.

Meanwhile, the United Nations agency overseeing global air travel has acknowledged receiving complaints from Qatar about other nations cutting off flying routes for its long-haul state carrier, Qatar Airways.

The announcement comes after a week of somewhat mixed messages from the Trump administration regarding the spat between Doha and number of Arab nations. Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar is home to more than 11,000 US and coalition troops.

"We've obviously got shared interests with Qatar". "It has been a bit of a pain at times in other things.but the American angle has often been very important". Saudi Arabia has not only closed its land borders and barred flights from Qatar's airline but has joined its allies in pulling that nation's state backed and controlled media network, Al-Jazeera's operating licenses.

Turkey also is eager to maintain workable relations with Iran, Saudi Arabia's foe with whom Doha's critics say Qatar maintained excessively close ties. While standing squarely behind its ally, it has been anxious not to antagonise key regional power Saudi Arabia.

Qatar has filed complaints to the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization, a U.N. agency, calling the Arab nations' refusal to let it fly through their airspace illegal.

While the USA and Saudi Arabia share warm diplomatic relations, something underscored by Trump in recent visit to West Asia, ties (particularly defence relations) between Doha and Washington have also been strong.

  • Zachary Reyes