Transfer Udeid Air Base Out of Qatar
Abdullah Al Alami*
July 19, 2017
US President Donald Trump confirmed last week that Washington would not hesitate to transfer the Udeid military base from Qatar. This is not the first time Trump has called on Doha to stop supporting, financing and embracing terrorism, especially as Trump said, "Doha has a history of supporting extremism at the highest level". I guess we all know what he meant by "at the highest level".
Foreign Policy magazine report details and documents Qatar's support for terrorist organizations throughout the world. The Center for Strategic and International Studies classifies Qatar as a "safe haven for extremists deported from other countries", and The US State Department's 2014 Report calls on Qatar to stop terrorist activities.
As the United States is convinced that Qatar sponsors and finances terrorism, this is an opportunity for Washington to consider relocating its base to another country. I mean more specifically the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing (379 AEW), one of the largest, most diverse expeditionary wings in the Air Force, providing combat airpower and support for the Global War on Terrorism.
Former US Treasury Secretary Daniel Glaser confirmed in February 2017 that " designated terrorist financiers are operating openly and notoriously in Qatar." Furthermore, Newsweek published a comprehensive report on May 28, 2017, proving Qatar's sponsorship of "armed terrorist groups". We all know by now that Qatar's support to al-Qaeda, the Taliban, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas is proven and documented.
The logical conclusion is the need to transfer the 100 US military aircraft, including B-1 fighter jets, as well as aircrafts dedicated to intelligence missions out of Qatar to another safe and friendly location.
It is clear that Qatar's circumvention of the actions taken by the United States against terrorism is no longer acceptable to Washington or the free world. Some members of US Congress have already asked the Pentagon to study a number of alternatives to move the base outside Qatar.
The Newsweek report, which I referred to earlier, strongly suggests moving the Udeid military base out of Qatar. Many members of Congress and officials in the US administration also believe that friendly relations with Qatar cannot be maintained with its current "disgraceful" behavior.
US Retired Admiral James G. Stavridis wrote in the Daily News on June 28, 2017, that Washington “should quietly explore alternative plans to move air operations from Qatar to the United Arab Emirates, a move that puts our forces in a more stable environment.”
It is time for the United States to make a decisive decision to protect its interests in the region and to protect the world from terrorism. The whole world should stop Qatar from sponsoring and financing terrorism.