Qatar’s emir is persona non grata to four U.S.-allied Arab states that accuse his wealthy Gulf nation of sponsoring extremists, but he recently received a warm welcome at the sprawling military base his troops share with thousands of American soldiers.
Qatar’s al-Udeid Air Base, a crucial staging ground for U.S. operations in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, is one of several American military outposts across the Gulf that are intended to serve as a bulwark against Iran, but now put Washington in a delicate balancing act.
Yet even before the Qatar crisis began on June 5, some in Washington questioned the U.S. military’s reliance on a base in a country whose leadership has supported Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. The UAE and Saudi Arabia view the Brotherhood as a threat to their nations’ hereditary rulers. Egypt considers the group a terrorist organization.
However, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s visit to the base on Sept. 11 added new tension. He posed with troops in front of warplanes, some American-made, and met with senior U.S. officials. One photograph at the base released by state media showed a stenciled poster of Sheikh Tamim, an image now seen across Doha as a sign of support for the ruler amid the boycott.
Source Credit: ABC News
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