US sells $12bn worth of fighter jets to ‘terrorist funder’ Qatar
Qatar has signed a $12-billion contract to buy F-15 fighter jets from the US, the country’s defense ministry reported. The deal was announced just days after US President Trump accused Doha of supporting terrorism.
The contract was apparently sealed after a Wednesday meeting between US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Qatari Minister of State for Defense Affairs Khalid al-Attiyah, Reuters reported citing a source.
According to Bloomberg News, Qatar bought 36 warplanes produced by McDonnell Douglas, a subsidiary of Boeing.
The US approved the possible sale of up to 72 F-15QA aircraft to Qatar for $21.1 billion in November.
News of the deal comes less than a week after US President Donald Trump lashed out at the Gulf kingdom, saying it has “historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level.”
Trump’s criticism emerged amid a diplomatic row between Qatar and other Arab nations, which demand that Doha stopped supporting the pan-Arabic movement Muslim Brotherhood and severed ties with Iran.
Qatar is a key American ally in the Middle East and an important exporter of natural gas. It also hosts the largest US military base in the region.