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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Pentagon Agrees to F-15 Fighter Arms Deal Worth $12 Billion with Qatar

Amid the ongoing diplomatic crisis between Qatar and a number of its Gulf neighbors, the US has agreed to sell $12 billion worth of American F-15 fighters to the country.

The sale of US combat aircraft represents a major signal of US support for Qatar as it faces regional isolation and the severing of travel and trade links.

 The announcement comes after a week of somewhat mixed messages from the Trump administration regarding the spat between Doha and number of Arab nations. 

After three Sunni Gulf countries -- Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE -- along with Egypt moved to cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar, host to the one of the Pentagon's largest military bases in the Middle East and a linchpin in the fight against ISIS, President Donald Trump seemed to back the move, saying last week that Qatar had to do more to combat the funding of terrorism. 

But other officials in the administration including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have called for the situation to be deescalated and on Wednesday while appearing before the House foreign affairs committee Tillerson played down any suggestion the President is on a different page stating: "there is no daylight between he and I" on the issue of Qatar.

 Speaking to the House armed services committee Monday, Mattis called the diplomatic situation "very complex," acknowledging the large US military presence and close US-Qatar military relationship.

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