The sale of at least 36 US-F-15 hunters is expected. Signature comes amid heightened tensions between Doha and Saudi Arabia and after sale of $ 400 billion in arms to Riyadh. Pentagon: an "agreed" sale to "increase security cooperation”.
Doha (AsiaNews / Agencies) - US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and his Qatar Khalid al-Attiyah counterpart yesterday signed a letter of intent for the sale of F-15 US fighter jets to the Arab country for a total value of $ 12 billion. Pentagon sources confirm the billion dollar contract signed with Doha which is locked in a fierce dispute with Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations in the region.
Doha stands accused of supporting Islamist terrorist movements and, above all, maintaining diplomatic and commercial ties with Iran, the number one enemy of the Saudis in the Middle East.
Recently, US President Donald Trump has strengthened his support for Saudi Arabia, while backing, albeit silently, the war waged by Riyadh against Tehran. In this context, the signing of a pharaonic ten-year economic agreement of about $ 400 billion recently with Saudi Salman, aimed at the purchase of high-tech military supplies.
In a note, the Pentagon stressed that "$ 12 billion" worth of sales will ensure Qatar's "cutting-edge" media and strengthen "co-operation" with a view to "security and interoperability" between the United States and Doha.
Mattis and al-Attiyah also discussed issues of mutual interest in security. Among them, the struggle with the Islamic State (IS) and "the importance of defusing tension, so that all partners in the region can focus on the next steps to achieve common goals."
The US Defense chief did not want to explain the details of the agreement between Washington and Doha. However, according to the Bloomberg agency in the contract there would also be the sale of 36 hunter jets.
Last year the State Department sold 72 F-15 fighters to Qatar. An agreement, according to some estimates, worth about 21 billion dollars.