Less than a week after President Trump called Qatar “a funder of terrorism,” his administration authorized the sale to the country of more than $21 billion in U.S. arms.
This startling contradiction in words and policy occurred in a period of days. The president voiced his criticism of Qatar on June 9, calling on the Qataris to “end its funding.”
On June 14, Qatar’s defense minister met with U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis in Washington to sign the portion of the $21 billion agreement that includes $12 billion for 36 F-15QA fighter jets.
The Qatari defense minister predicted that this part of the deal “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."
The following day Newsmax asked the White House if this meant Qatar had ceased its funding of the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups the president considers unacceptable.
”The common security between all the regions is obviously our top priority,” deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders told me. “Qatar plays an important role in the region by hosting our forces, which are fighting ISIS and other extremist groups.”
Focusing specifically on the $21 billion arms deal between the U.S. and Qatar, Sanders said that this agreement “has been years in the making.”
“[The agreement] is the tangible show of support for our defense relationship and Qatar's commitment to the U.S.,” she said.
Responding quickly to the White House’s comments on the agreement was Patrick Theros, president of the U.S. Qatar Business Council and U.S. ambassador to Qatar under President Clinton.
"We welcome news of final signature for defense contracts binding the United States and Qatar even closer in the struggle to maintain peace and stability in the Middle East region,” said Theros, who had been highly critical of Trump’s “funder of terrorism” remark. “These contracts bring with them huge benefits for American workers and businesses. We estimate they represent 50,000 jobs over 10 years spread over almost all the states of the Union.
"John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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