Qatar draws US in closer with promise of more defence spending

Published in GSN, 8 February 2018

A combination of deft diplomacy and a willingness to spend heavily on military equipment and training appears to have secured firm US support for Qatar, judging from statements made at the first US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue in Washington on 30 January. The outcome of the meeting – which is destined to become an annual affair – will provide a boost to confidence in Doha as it continues to look for ways to ensure its security in the face of the dispute with the GCC-3 of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and in the face of President Donald Trump’s ‘bromance’ with the Al-Salman leadership in Riyadh.

Doha has pursued a policy of spending freely from multiple sources since June 2017 to draw its allies in closer. That has seen it order fighter jets from the US, France and the UK worth more than $20bn (GSN 1,050/9). It has also entered talks with Russia to buy its increasingly popular S-400 air defence system.

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