President Donald J. Trump has sold $12 billion worth of F-15 fighter jets to Qatar. The sale arrives less than one week after the President accused the country of being a “high-level” sponsor of terrorism.
Qatar’s defense minister met with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in Washington, D.C. ahead of the sale.
The White House praised the sale, stating that the F-15QA fighter jets production will create 60,000 new jobs in 42 states across the United States
The Trump administration sold the fighter jets just days after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar for supporting terrorism and regional unrest.
Qatar is a crucial ally to Washington in the Middle East and is currently home to 10,000 American troops and a major American military base used for U.S. operations in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
The Trump administration has sent murky messages about its attempts to slow terrorism in the Middle East and beyond.
The president called Qatar a “funder of terrorism at a very high level,” and said the country had to “do more” to combat terrorism.
“The time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding” of extremist ideology, he said. “Stop teaching people to kill other people, stop filling their heads with hate.”
Trump met with Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, during his visit to Saudi Arabia last month.
“We are friends, we’ve been friends now for a long time, haven’t we?” Trump asked at that meeting. “Our relationship is extremely good.”
Qatar for its part has promised to fight terrorism alongside U.S. troops. Qatari Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah said the purchase of the F-15s “underscores the longstanding commitment of the state of Qatar in jointly working with our friends and allies in the United States.”
He added that the deal would form a “closer strategic collaboration in our fight to counter violent extremism and promote peace and stability in our region and beyond.”
Trump isn’t alone in this type of sale, in the waning days of the Obama administration, it was revealed that $21.1 billion or 72 F-15QA fighters would be sold to the country.
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