most of what's going on in Washington would seem like an absurd joke if
it weren't actually happening. Take the $12 billion sale to Qatar of
36 F-15QA fighter jets inked by Defense Secretary James Mattis and the
Qatari defense minister just the other day. In other words, the U.S. is
now offering major arms to a country its president has just denounced
as little short of a terrorist nation and which is being blockaded by
the Saudis with his support. How apt! How sensible! How totally
Trumpian! What could possibly go wrong? Tom
Trump berates Qatar for sponsoring terrorism at the highest levels, he
is simultaneously authorizing the country to purchase over $21 billion
of U.S. weapons.
"One portion of that deal -- $12 billion for 36
F-15QA fighter jets -- was inked on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., when
Qatar's Defense Minister met with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis.
"'We are pleased to announce today the signing of the letter of offer
and acceptance for the purchase of the F-15QA fighter jets, with an
initial cost of $12 billion dollars,' read the Qatari Defense Minister's
statement on Wednesday afternoon. 'We believe that this agreement will
propel Qatar's ability to provide for its own security while also
reducing the burden placed upon the United States military in conducting
operations against violent extremism.' The Qatari ambassador to the
U.S. tweeted a photo of the signing.
"The State Department
describes this sale as fermenting U.S. efforts to 'strengthen the
security and defense architecture of the region.' They point out that it
does not directly conflict with the current regional dispute as it will
take years to complete and fill the sale in full.
confident that Qatar can address its remaining issues within this
timeframe, prior to delivery,' explains a State Department official.
"Qataris had scheduled Wednesday's trip to formalize portions of this
arms deal with the U.S. government about two months ago, according to
Qatari and State Department officials. They want these weapons. So,
despite growing tensions and Mr. Trump's repeated hardline stance
against their support of Iran and regional terrorist groups, the Qataris
came because they want the weapons... Qataris say the deal demonstrates
the "long standing commitment" Qatar has to working with the U.S.
"The full arms sale, of over $20 billion for 72 F-15QA fighter jets,
was notified in November 2016. This means it had already been authorized
by congress and the executive branch, when President Obama was in
office, before the Trump administration came into office. During Mr.
Trump's recent visit to Riyadh, he made a point of telling reporters
during a photo spray with the Qatari emir that he was going to sell
Qatar 'big beautiful weapons.' In the wake of the diplomatic crisis --
and Mr. Trump's public statements raising concern about alleged Qatari
funding of terrorism -- there were questions about whether the arms deal
would go through. However, on Wednesday, in Washington, Defense
Secretary James Mattis formally signed the letter of offer and
acceptance for the purchase...."