Gulf crisis a "blessing in disguise" for Qatar seaport
Jun 20 2017 by Johnny Bowman
Qatari Minister of Defence Khalid Al Attiyah and his U.S. counterpart Jim Mattis completed the formalities for the purchase of the fighter jets in Washington on Wednesday, Al Jazeera reported citing QatarNews Agency (QNA).
The Middle-Eastern country has been hit with an embargo by several of its Gulf neighbours, which has continued into its second week after Saudi Arabia and its allies in the region accused Qatar of supporting the groups.
The US position was further muddied last Friday, when Mr Tillerson called on Saudi Arabia to ease the blockade, only to have Mr Trump saying hours later that the move had been the right one.
The sale "will give Qatar a state of the art capability and increase security cooperation and interoperability between the United States and Qatar", the Defence Department said in a statement. Bloomberg News reported the deal was for 36 jets.
It's still business as usual for Qatar as Washington signed a preliminary agreement to sell it $12 billion in Boeing (BA) F-15 fighters Wednesday despite President Trump accusing Doha of funding terrorist groups.
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"We want to hear the views of Saudi Arabia regarding possible solutions and will share with them our views in a transparent way".
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.
Qatar long has been trying to secure its relations with the USA, whether through hosting the American military base or an office for the Taliban, said David B. Roberts, an assistant professor at King's College London who recently wrote the book "Qatar: Securing the Global Ambitions of a City-State". "It is quite natural that Qatar buys the weapons it needs for its defense in the same way as the UAE, Kuwait and Egypt do", Cavusoglu said at a press conference in Kuwait, where he arrived from a visit to Qatar, as quoted by Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas.
Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed with Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz the worsening situation with Qatar, which does not lead to uniting efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis. 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. Al Udeid Air Base is home to more than 11,000 USA and coalition troops.
The Pentagon meanwhile deployed two warships to carry out joint manoeuvres with the Qatari navy in the Gulf. "We pay a great attention to our relations with them", he said.