During the recent visit of Qatari Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, to Washington, he unveiled Qatar’s expansion plans of spending $8 billion on Al-Udeid Base, the US military base in Qatar. Doha has been trying to woo Trump administration by proposing to transform the base in a “magnificent” military installation, “the likes of which people haven’t seen in a long while”.
It is nothing more than Tamim’s attempt to wrap bribe intelligently in form of diplomatic ties to silence the voices in west who are criticising the Gulf nation for sponsoring terrorism, money laundering, enslaving migrants labours, corruption, and, above all, destabilising the Middle East region.
Qatar has always tried to cover-up it’s cruelty and barbarism with display of vanity, be it building World Cup stadiums or a military base.
Tamim is trying to win US decision makers through Trump, by blinding their eyes and deafening their ears with Qatari riyal’s clink. It would shield Emirate from any possibility of US embargo, for promoting extremists Islamic ideology and sheltering members of various terror outfits including Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Al Qaeda and Taliban.
Qatar needs US support now, more than ever as its economy is shrinking, since it got hit by regional blockade in 2017.
Though it looks like a win-win case for both the nations but US needs to be wary of Qatar’s ostentatious ‘base’ plans as it is a lavish trap. Doha understands the significance of the strategic location of ‘free-of-charge’ base. By perking it up, Qatar is actually helping itself, not Pentagon. The base which carries the most crucial US military operations in the region, given its location, providing close access to Iran, would be hard for Americans to relinquish. It builds US dependency over Qatar. Besides, another important aspect to note is that the facility hosts over 10,000 US military personnel. Technically it is not a US base, but Qatari Air Force Base with 100 Qataris being deployed there. If in future US-Qatar relationship takes a down turn, the Gulf country can ask US to vacate the base. The base will then be occupied by either Turkish or Iranian forces.
Besides Al-Udeid base refurbishing, Doha also lured US with its investment plan of putting $45 billion in US economy over the period of next two years. Qatar has already spent billions of dollars on creating a strong Qatari lobby in Washington. According to Centre for Responsive Politics, Qatar spent about $24 million in past two years on its lobbying efforts in US and spent $16.3 million alone in 2017.