Qatar and its Weapon Purchasing Policy
Qatar and its Weapon Purchasing Policy
Qatar's recent military deals are enough to protect a state ten times its size and population.
Since the crisis began, Qatar bought 24 British Typhoon fighter jets, 15 US F-15 fighter aircraft worth $12 billion, 24 French Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft, seven Italian warships worth $6 billion, 62 German military for $2 billion and $2 billion military equipment from Turkey.
Most of these deals have political goals aiming to win over major governments against the four countries boycotting Qatar: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE.
However, since the first military deal and till now, this didn't result in terminating any of the anti-terror quartet’s measures. Aside from few statements that urge reconciliation and call for lifting the boycott, they didn't serve Qatar politically either and these calls fell on the other party's deaf ears.
Unfortunately for Qatar, these purchased weapons will eventually serve the four countries within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and they only serve Doha within a collective and defensive framework.
Therefore, Qatar’s rush into purchasing and stockpiling weapons do not frighten Riyadh and the other boycotting countries. These weapons will actually come in handy if the crisis with Qatar ends during the upcoming four years.
I assumed it will take four years because this is the duration to produce and deliver the weapons, and not the time it takes for the dispute to end.
I cannot predict the way the rift will be solved whether friendly or dramatically, but the sure thing is that Qatar is the party damaged by this crisis, while the four countries consider it a “small problem.”
The anti-terror quartet does not need Qatar even if the severed ties lasted for long years. Doha is suffering on all levels, and it does not have enough air space to train the fighter aircraft it bought, just like there are not enough lands for camels to graze and it had to transfer them via ships to Kuwait and other countries.
As long as these deals are part of a political solution, one must ask what has the Qatari government achieved so far? It has achieved very little and what Doha invested in Washington was not enough and it had to sign a security memorandum of understanding with the US.
Under the memorandum, Doha made several concessions, including allowing US to monitor its financial activity. Qatar also had to provide US officials with information about people and institutions from other countries and that are linked to it, imprisoned some wanted men and expelled others from the country.
Qatar tried to evade doing all this in the past, until its crisis with the four countries erupted and the Qataris rushed to the US offering to cooperate as they fear the crisis will escalate.
During the first few days of the crisis, we noticed how the Arab quartet embarrassed Doha when they added the US wanted-lists in Qatar to their demands.
In the end, those military deals didn't grant Qatar much if the aim was to mobilize major countries into forcing Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE to put an end to the crisis.
Qatari ships are still transporting camels to Kuwait and planes are still transporting cows from the UK and Australia. Meanwhile, borders between Qatar and the quartet are still closed.
If the purpose of such deals was to provide military protection, then this is an underestimation of the problem and its possibilities. Even if major countries are involved in these military deals, Qatar’s purchases are no match to that of the Arab quartet.
We must keep in mind that major countries may postpone their decisions, meaning the time is not in Qatar’s favor.
As for the four Arab countries, they are not under any pressure and actually consider closing their borders with Qatar and cutting ties have deprived Doha from creating internal problems in their countries.