Just days after President Donald Trump publicly scolded Qatar for being a "high level" exporter of regional terrorism in the Middle East, its government announced Wednesday the signing of a deal to buy $12 billion worth of F-15 fighter jets from U.S. weapons makers.
Pointing towards the glaring hypocrisy, journalist Jeremy Scahill quipped, "Ah yes. Take that, Qatar! Feel the wrath of the Trump..."
Last Friday, Trump told reporters at a White House press conference that "Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level." The president then said he had decided to take a harder line with the country.
Oil-rich Qatar is home to a major U.S. airbase in the region and a longtime ally, but the latest weapons sale comes amid boiling tensions in the region centered around ongoing wars in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen as a well as a diplomatic crisis between members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
And NBC News notes:
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar last week and accused it of supporting terrorism and regional unrest.
Despite these allegations, Qatar is a crucial ally to Washington in the Middle East. It is home to 10,000 American troops and a major American military base that acts as the center of U.S. operations in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Like Scahill, historian and Middle East expert Vijay Prashad, said the weapons sale in this context, if not surprising, is telling:
US agrees with KSA/UAE that Qatar is a 'state-sponsor of terrorism', and then sells Qatar $12 billion in arms. Credibility gap is wide.— Vijay Prashad (@vijayprashad) June 15, 2017