Less than one week after publicly reprimanding Qatar, President Trump appears to have changed his tune, as he signed off on the sale of $12 billion in weapons to the country he referred to as a “funder of terrorism.” This move, in Trump’s own stance, makes him a de facto funder of terrorism now.
Qatari Defense Minister Khalid Al Attiyah met with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis on Wednesday, to sign one part of the deal that is supposed to result in the purchase of over $21 billion in U.S. weapons overall.
Al Attiyah called the agreement one that would help Qatar help the U.S. combat “violent extremism.”
“We are pleased to announce today the signing of the letter of offer and acceptance for the purchase of the F-15QA fighter jets, with an initial cost of $12 billion dollars,” Al Attiyah said in a statement. “We believe that this agreement will propel Qatar’s ability to provide for its own security while also reducing the burden placed upon the United States military in conducting operations against violent extremism.”
In a statement, the Pentagon claimed that the sale “will give Qatar a state of the art capability and increase security cooperation and interoperability between the United States and Qatar.”
Meshal Hamad Al Thani, Qatar’s ambassador to the U.S., posted a photo of the signing on Twitter, and noted that the deal includes “the purchase of the F-15QA fighter jets creating 60,000 new jobs in 42 states across the United States.”
Qatar signs LOA for the purchase of the F-15QA fighter jets creating 60,000 new jobs in 42 states across the United States pic.twitter.com/tnOAC3KGma
— Meshal Hamad AlThani (@Amb_AlThani) June 14, 2017
The timing of the sale is interesting, given the fact that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Yemen and the Maldives all announced that they were severing diplomatic relations with Qatar on June 5.
While Saudi Arabia’s state-run news agency initially accused Qatar of “harboring a multitude of terrorist and sectarian groups that aim to create instability in the region,” Qatar’s foreign ministry called the measure “unjustified,” and said it was “based on claims and allegations that have no basis in fact.”
Trump appeared to be fully in support of the decision at the time. He even told reporters at the White House last Friday that he “helped plan the Qatar action with Arab leaders” after his recent trip to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
“The nation of Qatar unfortunately has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level,” Trump said. “So we had a decision to make, do we take the easy road or do we finally take a hard but necessary action. We have to stop the funding of terrorism. I decided … the time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding.”
The practice of condemning a country for a certain action, and then giving it access to the supplies it needs to continue carrying out the same action you just condemned it for, is not new for the United States, and it’s not new for Trump.
As The Free Thought Project has reported, Trump’s current support for Saudi Arabia is a far cry from his rhetoric before he was in office.
When Trump was on the campaign trail, he spoke out in support of holding Saudi Arabia responsible for its involvement in 9/11. He promised that if he was elected, Americans would “find out who really knocked down the World Trade Center.”
The fact is, when it comes to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the U.S. condemning one another for funding terrorism, it is nothing more than a game of “the pot calling the kettle black.” After all, even Hillary Clinton admitted that the three governments were complicit in providing “clandestine financial and logistic support” to ISIS.
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