The US Seals $12 Billion F-15 Deal With Qatar Amid Gulf Crisis [Infographic]
Despite being shunned by U.S. President Donald Trump and its Gulf neighbors, Qatar has just signed a massive new arms deal with Washington. U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis and his Qatari counterpart Khalid Al-Attiyah, penned a $12 billion agreement for the purchase of up to 36 F-15 fighter jets. In an emailed statement yesterday, the Pentagon said the sale “will give Qatar a state-of-the-art capability and increase security cooperation and interoperability between the United States and Qatar”.
Congress approved the sale of as many as 72 F-15s last November in an agreement valued at up to $21 billion. The $12 billion deal comes after President Trump denounced Qatar as being a “high-level” sponsor of terrorism on Friday, causing confusion about the U.S. stance on the crisis. In advance of Trump’s comments, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had earlier attempted to calm heightening tensions by calling on Saudi Arabia to ease the blockade of its neighbor.
Amid the blockade and growing food shortages, Qatar is home to an estimated 10,000 American troops and the largest U.S. base in the Middle East. Qatar’s Defense Ministry said the F-15 deal would create 60,000 jobs in 42 U.S. states in addition to easing the burden on U.S. forces in the region. As can be seen by the following infographic created with Sipri data, the U.S. has made several lucrative arms deals with Qatar over the past decade. They include the 2008 sale of C-17 and C-130 transport aircraft and a high-profile deal in 2014 to supply the country with Apache attack helicopters, Patriot surface-to-air missiles and Javelin anti-tank missiles. Even though the partnership between Washington and Doha is still going strong judging by the F-15 sale, Trump’s confusing stance and comments are likely to test it to its limit.
Notable U.S. arms deals with Qatar over the past decade