Qatar frustrated with US over delay in drones as they are prerequisite for FIFA World Cup
Qatar– The US Defence Department is reportedly encouraging the sale of over $500 million worth of drones to Qatar despite a delay from the State Department’s end.
The comments by three American officials and a congressional aide familiar with discussions come just days after Doha reportedly expressed its frustration over the delay in a purchase request for four MQ-9b Predator drones from the US made more than a year ago. While the Pentagon favours the sale, the US State Department yet to approve the request despite green lighting similar applications from other allies.
Qatari official mentioned that the frustration from our perspective is that there is no clear indication as to why there is a delay on our request, pointing to Doha’s recent evacuation operations in Afghanistan as proof of its reliability as an ally, especially in matters concerning security and stability.
Doha’s anger has been exacerbated by the fact that Washington has approved purchased requests made by other Middle Eastern states. Another factor is that Qatar served as the primary transit point for US’ evacuation operations in Afghanistan and also helped its counter-terrorism missions.
Notably, Qatar is hosting the FIFA World Cup next year, and officials for safeguarding the territory against possible terror attacks have deemed the drones as crucial. The current drone deal is estimated to be roughly worth $600 million.
Qatar has served and played a tremendous role in USA’s difficult time in terms of monetary support and technology. Qatar was amongst the gulf countries, which allowed the US, and NATO states to use their transit points for airlift operations.
Meanwhile, Washington has ramped up efforts to increase its stronghold in the Middle East and central Asia, especially following the pullout of its troops from Afghanistan.