Economy

Trump Authorizes $12 Billion Arms Deal With Qatar Despite Accusations

Trump Authorizes $12 Billion Arms Deal With Qatar Despite Accusations

Bloomberg reports that the $12bn deal was signed by Qatari defence minister Khalid Al-Attiyah and his U.S. counterpart, Jim Mattis in Washington on Wednesday.

Other Gulf countries recently cut ties with Doha, accusing it of destabilising the region through its alleged support of extremist groups and links to Iran.

The sale "will give Qatar a state of the art capability and increase security cooperation and interoperability between the United States and Qatar", the US Defence Department said in a statement. It was part of the $21.1-billion deal signed in November, a US State Department official told Sputnik Thursday.

"This agreement underscores the longstanding commitment of the State of Qatar in jointly working with our friends and allies in the U.S.", a media quoted al-Attiyah as saying in the statement.

The biggest U.S. airbase in the Middle East is situated in Qatar and the country often helps United States troops in fights against Isis in Iraq and Syria.

The Qatari defense ministry issued a statement Wednesday celebrating the F-15 deal.

The sale will increase security cooperation and interoperability between the USA and Qatar, the Pentagon said.

Otaiba said the four nations are seeking to force a change in Qatar's behaviour through economic and political pressure. Qatar hosts the regional headquarters for US Central Command, which includes a state-of-the-art air base the US depends on to target Islamic State. Mattis formerly oversaw the US military's Central Command, whose forward operating base is at the vast al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

Turkey and Qatar have both provided support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt - a broad movement whose Islamist goals are anathema to Egypt's ex-military president, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi and to numerous Gulf's dynastic rulers.

On June 5, PGCC members Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, announced their decision to sever diplomatic relations with Qatar and install an air, land and sea blockade.

He doubled down on his accusations on Friday saying: "The nation of Qatar has unfortunately been a funder of terrorism, and at a very high level", adding "the time has come to call on Qatar to end its funding".

Given how Trump openly sided with Saudi Arabia in one of his recent Twitter tirades, the deal also signals the lack of coordination within Trump administration.

"Saudi Arabia is important and the Saudi King is respected by everyone".

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson downgraded the suggestion that President Trump on different pages while appearing before the House foreign affairs committee.