Domingo, 25 Junio, 2017

Trump Authorizes $12 Billion Arms Deal With Qatar Despite Accusations

Al Jazeera’s English newsroom in Doha Qatar. Credit Wikimedia Commons Al Jazeera’s English newsroom in Doha Qatar. Credit Wikimedia Commons
Malita Javier | 20 Junio, 2017, 11:11

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis welcomed his Qatari counterpart Khalid al-Attiyah to Washington on Wednesday for the signing of the agreement for the sale of F-15 fighters.

Arab nations including Saudi Arabia and Egypt cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting extremism, in the biggest diplomatic crisis to hit the region in years.

The US has been seeking to reassure one of its allies in the region since President Donald Trump tweets appeared to back theSaudi-led boycott on Qatar on charges that it sponsors terrorism and aligns itself with Iran, claims rebutted by Doha. "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.

Details of the Wednesday deal have not been disclosed but Bloomberg reported that it could include 236 jets.

In November, under the administration of former President Barack Obama, the United States approved a possible sale of up to 72 F-15QA aircraft to Qatar for $21.1 billion.

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The crisis between Qatar and its Arab neighbors, all USA allies, has put America in a delicate situation.

Abadi's visit to Saudi Arabia was to foster reconciliation between the Sunni Muslim kingdom and majority Shi'ite Iraq - and help heal deep and bitter divisions between Iraq's Shi'ites and Sunnis.

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

Taking a dig at Al Jazeera, Doha's news network, he said media and diplomacy is never a substitute for content. "Qatar must stop its role as the platform for extremist narrative and action", he said.

Qatar's Ministry of Defence said that the deal would create 60,000 jobs in 42 U.S. states while reducing the burden on American forces. More than 100 aircrafts operate from the base.

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Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain, along with Egypt had snapped diplomatic ties with fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member Qatar earlier this month.

America's position on the crisis is still not clear with the Secretary of State asking Saudi Arabia to ease the blockade on Qatar.

"The US' top diplomat since attempted to mediate between the two sides, and on Tuesday the US State Department said efforts to resolve the crisis were trending in a positive direction".

"We are working bring these states together towards a solution which satisfies both their current regional concerns and the global needs and expectations of passengers and shippers", ICAO said.

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