Qatar has allegedly expressed its frustration with Washington’s delay in approving a purchase request for sophisticated drones by the Gulf state.
Doha had requested four MQ-9b Predator drones from the US more than a year ago, but the US State Department, which regulates foreign military sales, has refused to act, despite granting previous requests.
Officials from the Gulf state have stated that they will employ US-supplied drones to keep a watch on massive natural gas facilities, monitor terrorist threats in the region, and prevent terrorist activity in other locations.
Qatar’s request for drones was also ascribed to the country’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup next year, with officials feeling that the mega-event will require security from any assaults.
Officials from Qatar and US claimed the $600 million contract will provide Doha with stronger defense capabilities in the area. Qatar has also requested American-made F-35 stealth combat fighters in a separate request.
“The disappointment from our point of view is that there is no clear indication as to why our work is being delayed,” a Qatari government official expressed.
The US State Department’s spokesperson declined to comment, citing a policy of not publicly commenting on potential military sales or transfers.
However, during Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s November visit to Washington, the problem of delayed operations is anticipated to be at the top of his agenda.
The new developments occur as the US seeks to preserve its strength and influence in the Gulf while retreating from the area due to rising worries about Chinese rivalry and power.