Qatar frustrated with US slow-walking request to buy drones: report

 Qatar frustrated with US slow-walking request to buy drones: report
© Getty

Qatar is voicing their frustration toward the Biden administration for allegedly slow-walking a request to buy advanced drones from the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

Qatar’s government has made a formal request to buy four-armed MQ-9B Predator drones from the U.S., which they say will be used for surveillance of natural gas facilities and to keep an eye on terrorists in the region. 

“The frustration from our perspective 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 proves that Qatar always stands ready to support its allies and for the purposes of security and stability.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Qatar has been a key ally during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, hosting thousands of evacuees and acting as an interlocutor with the Taliban. 

Qatari and U.S. officials said the drones, which cost an estimated $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 U.S. military equipment through its foreign-military sales program, right behind Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. hopes to preserve its influence in the Gulf region despite its military pullback, especially amid China’s influence in the region. Qatar rejected China’s overtures for closer cooperation in 2018, in an effort to align itself with U.S. interests.