Beyond the latest cooperations, Qatar hosts the largest American military base in the Middle East, the Al-Udeid Airbase, which is used extensively by the US for its operations in the region.
Qatar and the US also signed an agreement during the latest Strategic Dialogue between the two countries, enabling the former to represent Washington’s interest in Afghanistan in light of the US closing it’s embassy following the Taliban takeover in August this year.
Previous reports stated that the US Defense Department is reportedly encouraging the sale of over $500 million worth of drones to Qatar despite a delay from the State Department’s end.
While the Pentagon favours the sale, the US State Department has yet to approve the request despite green lighting similar applications from other allies, including the United Arab Emirates.
Officials at the State Department said it is wary about the sale due to its fear of angering other Gulf allies, namely Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Qatari officials previously told the Wall Street Journal [WSJ] that they want to use the drones to keep their eye on giant natural-gas facilities and to monitor terrorist threats in the region.
Qatar’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup next year was also attributed in the nation’s request for drones, with officials believing that the mega-event will need protection against potential attacks.
After Saudi Arabia, Doha is the second largest buyer of US military equipment, with more than $26 billion in proposed purchases via Washington’s foreign military sales programme.