The government of Qatar has made an official request for the purchase of four weapons The United States’ MQ-9B Predator drones, which they claim will be used for monitoring natural gas installations and keeping an eye out for terrorists in the area.
“The frustration from our point of view is that there is no clear indication as to why there is a delay on our request,” a Qatari official told the Journal. “The recent evacuation operations in Afghanistan prove that Qatar is still ready to support its allies and for the purposes of security and stability.
Qatar was a key ally during the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, welcoming thousands of evacuees and acting as an interlocutor with the Taliban.
Qatari and US officials said the drones, which cost around $ 600 million, would make Qatar a stronger defensive unit in its region, according to the Journal.
According to the State Department, Qatar is the second largest buyer of US military equipment through its foreign military sales program, just behind Saudi Arabia.
The United States hopes to maintain its influence in the Gulf region despite its military withdrawal, especially amid China’s influence in the region. Qatar rejected China’s overtures for closer cooperation in 2018, in a bid to align with US interests.