As we all know that Qatar is facing regional isolation due to its ongoing diplomatic split with its Middle-Eastern neighbors, the United States confirmed the sale of F-15 fighters worth $12 billion to Qatar, according to CNN. The Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Roger Cabiness notified CNN through a statement of a meeting between Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Qatari Minister of State for Defense Affairs Dr. Khalid al-Attiyah to confirm the purchase and talk about security issues between the two countries, including an update on the actions of the Islamic State (ISIS).
The announcement takes after over a series of messages that were sent out from the Trump government regarding the disagreement between Doha and the other Arab countries. On the other hand, the deal being motivated at the time of emergency is being observed as a gesture of support from the United States. On Wednesday, the defense ministry of Qatari issued a statement celebrating the F-15 deal. “This agreement underscores the longstanding commitment of the State of Qatar in jointly working with our friends and allies in the United States,” al-Attiyah said in the statement. He called the deal “yet another step in advancing our strategic and cooperative defense relationship with the United States”. Prior to this, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain blamed Qatar for supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region as a result of its ties to their Shiite opponent, Iran, and its support for groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
The Qatar recognizes it’s connected to these groups, yet denies that it supports terrorism. Following from this, the countries decided to end every single diplomatic bind with Qatar. Coming in the favor of the move, the US President Donald Trump as blaming Qatar of ‘sponsoring terrorism at a very high level’ said it’s a time that Qatar should stop funding terrorism. “The nation of Qatar has unfortunately been funding terrorism, and at a very high level,” Trump said amid an appearance with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis at the White House. “Nations came together and spoke to me about confronting Qatar over its behavior. We had a decision to make, “Do we take the easy road or do we finally take a hard, but necessary action? We have to stop the funding of terrorism,” in an extraordinary escalation of the diplomatic row with one America’s most important military partners in the Middle East,” Trump said.
The CNN quoted Trump as saying, “I decided, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, our great generals, and military people, the time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding, they have to end that funding and its extremist ideology.” Meanwhile, it looks like that Trump and Tillerson are not on the same page as the latter has said that the Gulf nations’ property and air blockade of Doha are harming the operation against Islamic State (ISIS). This appraisal has been just halfway confirmed by the Pentagon. Without providing internal details, Tillerson said that the blockade is blocking US military activities in the region and the battle against ISIS.
Tillerson said the US, “expectation is that these countries will immediately take steps to resolve the situation.” In spite of Tillerson’s appraisal that the fight against ISIS had been affected, the Pentagon officials said there has been no rapid stoppage. On the other hand, they cautioned that their capability to make longer-term plans was being affected. The Qatar is home to 11,000 US troops and the Al Udeid Air Base, the main local center for air operations against the terrorist groups.