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Friday, January 28, 2022

Qatar, US ink new bilateral military agreement


Doha has the largest US military base in the country and the agreement further enhances bilateral relations between the two allies.

Qatar and the US have signed a military agreement to manage marine activities, Qatar News Agency [QNA] announced on Tuesday.

“The State of Qatar and the United States of America signed a military agreement within the executive arrangement framework between the ministries of defense of both countries,” QNA reported.

Read also: US Space Force deploys first ever squadron to Qatar

“The agreement pertains to marine activities and port calls to the State of Qatar,” it added.

It was signed on behalf of Qatar by Commander of the Amiri Naval Forces Nautical Major General Abdullah Hassan Al Sulaiti, and by Commander of US Naval Forces Central Command in the Middle East Vice Admiral, Samuel Paparo.

Also attending the signing was Chief of Staff of the Qatari Armed Forces Lieutenant-General (Pilot) Ghanem bin Shaheen Al Ghanem, the President of the International Military Cooperation Authority Brigadier, General Abdulaziz Saleh Al Sulaiti, and Charge d’Affairs of the US Embassy in Qatar, Greta C. Holtz.

Doha-Washington relations

Qatar and the US have shared a long history of military agreements that have served as the foundations of bilateral relations.

Back in 1990, Qatari troops fought alongside US forces during Operation Desert Storm to liberate Kuwait.

The two states also hold a ten-year defence cooperation agreement, which was renewed in 2013 to further secure their military ties.

More recently, the newly-formed United States Space Force deployed a squadron of 20 airmen to the Khor Al Udeid air base in Qatar where at least 10,000 US military members are based, with over 100 aircrafts operating from its grounds.

Airmen from the base were sworn into the Space Force in a ceremony on September 1, 2020. 

“The military is very reliant on satellite communications, navigation and global missile warning,” said Capt. Ryan Vickers, a newly inducted Space Force member at Al-Udeid.

Al-Udeid is the biggest American military outpost in the MENA region.

In September, an Al Jazeera documentary revealed UAE plans to withdraw the air base from Qatar.

Qatar’s Minister of State for Defence, Khalid Al Attiyah responded saying “Qatar’s relations with the US is beyond moving the state’s air base. Rather it is built on mutual respect and cooperation.”

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