The current state of Qatar and extremism

Qatar has been seeking a purchase of more than 75 F-15s from the United States, but the deal has not materialized over the past two years and hangs in balance. The United States has not been able to make any decisions on selling what Qatar wants while Qatar still is the favourable ally in fights against terrorism. But there are reasons to delay the sales, as although Qatar fights terrorism, it also harbors and supports terrorism.

Israel, which has a major say in the deal, has reservations, citing Qatar has major relationships with Islamists such as the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Qatar also has an office of Al-Qaeda on their territory, which makes a compelling case of warming relationships between them. Qatar also has warm relationships with Tehran, which Israel is concerned about. Qatar, on the other hand, wishes to increase its military powers while making a case of a power broker in the region. Like the Saudi Arabia, Qatar also wishes to be engaged in making key strategic decisions in the Middle East and the Gulf. Moreover, Qatar also wishes to enhance their airforce and military bases used by the US armed forces to engage with Islamic State.

Qatar has a dual relationship here. US Treasury in 2014 imposed sanctions on some citizens in Qatar, who have been exposed of being involved in funding the Al-Nusra Islamists in Syria, Pakistan, and Sudan. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) says Qatar needs to show a change in behavior if they wish to be a special ally, for now, they have tolerance for extremists in Syria, who many of their own citizens funds through proxy business. However, Qatar has always denied allegations as a state sponsor of terrorism. In contrast to the Saudi Kingdom, Qatar has also openly supported and funded the Muslim Brotherhood movement, termed extremists themselves. In recent times, US has turned to Qatar, to ensure prisoner swaps and release of American hostages with both Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Qatar, citing these delays has turned to 24 Rafale fighters from France for $7 billion, making the US think over their own relationships.

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