Saudi-led Isolation of Qatar May Impact US Military Activity In The Country

  • Our Bureau
  • 04:07 PM, June 5, 2017
  • 2921
Saudi-led Isolation of Qatar May Impact US Military Activity In The Country
Al Udeid Air Base

The escalating confrontation between Qatar and Saudi-led Arab states may impact the United States' massive military presence in the country.

Qatar is home to three US airbases and plays a role in collective defense efforts for the region.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, Yemen and Maldives suspending ties with the US ally will bring unwanted complication for the US military. Especially the cancelling of commercial flights to Dona and blockading the Saudi-Qatar border could immediately impact the movement of some US personnel and goods to and from Qatar.

US Forces have important commands distributed across the feuding nations. Qatar hosts the US Force’s largest military base in the region in Al Udeid Airbase, from where the United States carries out airstrikes against militants in the region. Qatar is also the host for the forward headquarters of the United States Central Command, which oversees all American military operations in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Bahrain hosts US Navy’s fifth fleet and UAE provides air bases that are used by the America-led coalition.

US defense companies in Qatar eyeing it as a center for maintenance; repair and overhaul and a gateway to other Arab nations will also face hurdles due the boycott Qatar is facing.

Qatar’s closeness with Turkey might have further strained its relations with its neighbors. A Turkish defense and Software company, Havelsan will soon open its first Middle East office in Qatar.

Havelsan Executive Vice President Lütfü Özçakır had said, "We will conduct business development and project management services in the Middle Eastern countries, especially in Qatar through our office, where 15 to 20 engineers and technicians will work." mThe company had said that it would cater project management services in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan and the UAE.

Turkey is set to establish its first foreign military base in the Middle East in Qatar.

In 2014 Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from Doha to protest against Qatari support for the Muslim Brotherhood, which some regard as an existential threat to the absolute rule of the Gulf ruling families.

US officials have also become increasingly vocal in criticizing Qatar — which hosts the US’s regional military headquarters — expressing deep concern about allegations that it finances Islamist extremist groups in Syria.

Robert Gates, the former US defence secretary was quoted by Financial Times as saying Tuesday that the US should demand that Doha should be more aggressive in shutting down terror financing, or risk a downgrading of the US’s military presence in the country.


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