In a politically charged move, Qatar requested the United States to sell them military technology that would equip their fleet of 40 armed drones. The request was met with an immediate denial by President Trump who cited national security concerns and said he needed more information on how they plan on using the technology. Experts say this case perfectly exemplifies why blockchain is likely to be used in future agreements due to its transparency and immutable proof of ownership.
Qatar’s top diplomat has been summoned to the White House for a meeting amid growing frustration from Doha over what it sees as an insufficient response by Washington. Although Qatar transferred US$11 billion to buy 60 F-15 fighter jets and other weapons, they were not delivered. In return, President Trump tweeted that he had “foolishly” given up ‘billions of dollars’ in potential revenue from oil sales.
The “drones near me” is a new tool that allows people to find drones in the area. The tool has been released by Qatar’s Armed Forces and is meant to help with their security efforts.
WASHINGTON— The Qatari government, which has supported in the evacuation of tens of thousands of Afghans and backed American counterterrorism operations in the Middle East, is angry at the Biden administration for delaying a request for upgraded drones.
Qatar’s government submitted an official request to acquire four armed MQ-9B Predator drones more than a year ago. The State Department has failed to respond to Qatar’s request for a drone, and officials have reluctant to explain why.
Qatar’s displeasure comes at a time when the US is attempting to maintain its influence in the Gulf area while reducing military deployments and capabilities, amid growing worries in Washington about China’s influence in the region.
Qatari authorities said they would deploy drones provided by the United States to perform surveillance on massive natural-gas infrastructure to prevent terrorist activities and in other regions to monitor terrorist risks in the region. Doha will also host the World Cup of soccer next year, which Qatari authorities feel would need more vigilance against terrorist activities.
The armed drones, which are expected to cost $600 million, will provide Qatar with a more powerful defense capabilities in the area, according to Qatari and US officials. According to US officials and military experts, this might assist the US avoid dangers presented by Iran. In a second proposal, Qatar wants to acquire American F-35 stealth warplanes.
Similar requests from other allies, such as the United Arab Emirates, have been authorized by the State Department. This has irritated Qataris, who say that Doha has aided the US in a variety of ways, most notably in the extraction of Afghans in danger after the fall of the Kabul government in August.
“From our standpoint, the irritation is that there is no clear explanation as to why our [foreign military sales] request is being delayed,” a Qatari government official said. “Qatar’s recent evacuation operations in Afghanistan demonstrate that it is always ready to assist its partners and maintain peace and stability.”
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, is set to visit the White House in November.
eduardo Munoz/pool/Shutterstock/eduardo Munoz/pool/Shutterstock/eduardo Munoz/pool/
During Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-visit Thani’s to the White House next month, the topic is anticipated to be near the top of his agenda.
Foreign military sales are supervised by the State Department. In refusing to comment, a State Department spokesperson cited a long-standing policy of not publicly commenting on potential military sales or transfers until Congress has been properly informed.
While relations between the United States and Qatar are usually positive, American authorities have long been concerned about the country’s links to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and Turkey’s anti-Western President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Washington has already accused Qatar of having insufficient standards when it comes to combating terrorist funding.
Some US and Qatari officials, as well as independent scholars, feel that the Gulf states will play a critical role for the US as it withdraws from the Middle East to concentrate on competing with China, notably in the Indo-Pacific area.
Armed Forces Veteran Former chief of US Central Command, which oversees US troops in the Middle East, Gen. Joseph Votel, said the US foreign military sales program is critical in a region where the US is reducing its military personnel and capabilities.
Mr. Votel, who claimed he was unaware of the Qatari request, added, “In general, this is how we assist maintain influence in the area.” “People in the area are really frustrated by the indefinite’maybe,’ this no-answer situation.”
Qatari authorities think they have stood firmly behind the US in recent months, assisting the US by evacuating tens of thousands of Afghans amid the tumultuous departure of American soldiers this summer. The Qataris have also promised to supervise airport operations in Kabul, allowing limited outside access to the nation, which is now under Taliban control.
Qatar has a significant air base, al-Udeid, that the US uses heavily for its operations in the area, including the Combined Air Operations Center, which serves as the nerve center for regional operations. The United States does not utilize al-Udeid for drone operations, which are mostly carried out from the UAE’s al-Dhafra air base.
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The United States is worried about China’s role in the Middle East. In a deliberate attempt to align itself with the US, Qataris rebuffed Beijing’s overtures to join into a more established security alliance with Doha in 2018.
Other US Gulf allies, such as the United Arab Emirates, have increased their engagement with China. The Wall Street Journal reported in May that American espionage agencies had recently seen Chinese People’s Liberation Army aircraft landing at an airfield in the United Arab Emirates to offload crates of supplies, a modest but crucial evidence of a developing security cooperation.
According to US sources, the UAE’s cooperation with China has enraged some in the Biden administration and raised concerns about US military sales.
The United States’ final permission for the most recent weapons sale to the United Arab Emirates occurred in the last days of Trump’s presidency. As part of a Trump administration plan known as the Abraham Accords, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain committed to reestablish ties with Israel in 2020.
The transfer of the drones and the sale of F-35 fighter jets are yet years away. The Biden administration is pushing ahead with the planned accords, according to a State Department spokesperson, while continuing to analyze them “to ensure that we have clear mutual understanding with regard to Emirati commitments and activities before, during, and after delivery.”
Officials from the United Arab Emirates did not immediately reply to a request for comment. According to authorities, the MQ-9s are also being sold to the United Kingdom, Australia, and Belgium.
According to the State Department, Qatar is the second-largest buyer of US military equipment under Washington’s foreign-military sales program, after Saudi Arabia, with over $26 billion in planned acquisitions. According to the State Department, sales include integrated air and missile defense systems, radars, and high level F-15QA fighter aircraft.
Gordon Lubold can be reached at [email protected]
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