US relations with Qatar

Authored by: Jill Crystal

Handbook of US-Middle East Relations

Print publication date:  September  2009
Online publication date:  May  2014

Print ISBN: 9781857434996
eBook ISBN: 9780203859377
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780203859377-29

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Abstract

The United States and Qatar have a close although sometimes complicated relationship. Qatar is an important US military ally. Its al-Udaid base, south of the capital of Doha, serves as a logistical hub for US operations in Afghanistan as well as a key command and basing center for on-going operations in Iraq. Qatar’s Camp al-Sayliyah, near Doha, is the US military’s largest pre-positioning base abroad. The US and Qatar have a defense agreement and co-operate in joint military operations. For both countries, this co-operation is largely driven by security needs. Qatar has the world’s third largest natural gas reserves and, with a population of just under a million and a half, has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. Qatar, although wealthy, is militarily weak. It has a history of tension with its neighbors, notably Saudi Arabia. For Qatar, the US presence is protection against regional threats. For the US, Qatar is one part of a larger strategy to ensure the free flow of petroleum and gas from the region and to secure US interests in the Gulf.

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