Just one week after President Donald Trump accused the country of funding terrorism, the United States has agreed to sell Qatar $12 billion worth of F-15s.
“Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis met today with Qatari Minister of State for Defense Affairs Dr. Khalid al-Attiyah to discuss concluding steps in finalizing the Foreign Military Sales purchase of US-manufactured F-15 fighter aircraft by the State of Qatar. The $12 billion sale will give Qatar a state of the art capability and increase security cooperation and interoperability between the United States and Qatar,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Roger Cabiness told CNN.
Which is odd! Because our president tweeted this on June 6th:
This is strange given Trump’s efforts to position Washington as a key ally of Saudi Arabia in the fight against terrorism. That’s why his major announcement of securing a $110 billion arms sale to the Kingdom at the end of May was such a big deal for him. He could be seen by the world as Riyadh’s protectorate of sorts by ensuring it had the most sophisticated U.S. hardware available to protect itself.
Then, as always the case with the Trump White House, confusion follows.
Yesterday, the Pentagon OK’d a deal to sell top-tier fighter jets to Qatar, a state that Saudi Arabia has cut ties with because it believes country is funding terror. But it isn’t just Saudi Arabia that has made the accusation.
Last week, nine countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar because they believe it is funding terrorism that’s destabilizing the region. Three of those states come from the Gulf Cooperation Council, one of the most powerful councils in the Middle East.
To show you Trump knew of these concerns, he doubled down on the move to isolate Qatar.
“We had a decision to make,” Trump said, describing conversations with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, according to CNN. “Do we take the easy road or do we finally take a hard but necessary action? We have to stop the funding of terrorism.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson contradicted his boss moments before his remarks, saying isolating Qatar is hampering American military efforts to fight ISIS. Well, that may have to do with the fact that the U.S. has the largest military post in the region. There are more than 11,000 troops deployed or assigned to aA-Udeid airbase and some 100 aircraft are located there, according to Al Jazeera. In fact, two U.S. Navy vessels arrived in Qatar Wednesday for joint military drills.
And just after Trump tweeted his accusations of terror funding against Qatar, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis praised the country’s leadership at a press briefing.
“We continue to be grateful to the Qataris for their longstanding support for our presence and their enduring commitment to regional security,” he said.
When asked why there was a disconnect between his words and that of the president’s, he told a reporter, “I can’t help you with that.”
I don’t know, it’s almost like this president doesn’t know anything about the military he commands.