Emirates Ambassador to the U.S. Yousef al-Otaiba said Tuesday the U.S. should rethink having an airbase in Qatar and use it as leverage to further pressure the sovereign country over alleged support for extremism, The Hill reported.
Saudia Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain on June 5 cut diplomatic, trade and transport ties with Qatar and suspended Doha-bound flights after accusing Doha of supporting terrorists, a charge Qatar denies. Jordan and Djibouti also downgraded diplomatic relations with Qatar.
The U.S. airbase in Qatar houses 10,000 troops and is a staging point for campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.
"The air base is a very nice insurance policy against any additional pressure," Otaiba said. "Maybe someone in Congress should have a hearing and just say, you know, 'Should we consider moving it?' And maybe not moving the entire base. Maybe just distribute to various countries, so you don't have all your eggs in one basket."
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