Washington, DC. Proving that no deal is a bad deal, President Trump has berated Qatar for sponsoring terrorism at the highest levels, and he is simultaneously authorizing Qatar to purchase over $21 billion of US weapons systems from American defense corporations.
Just one portion of that deal was $12 billion dollars for 36 F-15QA fighter jets that was signed Wednesday in Washington, when Qatar’s Defense Minister met with Defense Secretary James Mattis. Qataris say the deal demonstrates the “long standing commitment” Qatar has to working with the USA.
“We are pleased to announce today the signing of the letter of offer and acceptance for the purchase of the F-15QA fighter jets, with an initial cost of $12 billion dollars,” read the Qatari Defense Minister’s statement on Wednesday afternoon. “We believe that this agreement will propel Qatar’s ability to provide for its own security while also reducing the burden placed upon the United States military in conducting operations against violent extremism.”
The Qataris had scheduled Wednesday’s trip to formalize portions of the arms deal with the American government about two months ago, according to Qatari and State Department officials. They want these weapons. So, despite growing tensions and Mr. Trump’s repeated hardline stance against their support of Iran and regional terrorist groups, the Qataris came because they want the weapons.
Qatar’s full arms purchase package, of over $20 billion for 72 F-15QA fighter jets, was approved back in November 2016. This means it had already been authorized by congress and the executive branch, when President Obama was in office, before the Trump administration came into office.
With rapidly escalating tensions Qataris came to Washington with a large entourage expecting to break ground on the escalating regional standoff. But there is no sign of progress.
The State Department has yet to extend an official request for a joint meeting between representatives that are in the nation’s capitol from Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Qatar says they have still not received the list of demands that the countries have for them. The US has not played a role in passing along requests either.