Qatar, USA agree on $11 billion arms deal

Qatar will buy 11 billion dollar worth of Patriot missiles (Raytheon) and Apache attack helicopters from the United States, announced Pentagon officials on Monday. The Defence Minister of Qatar, Hamid bin Ali Al-Attiyah, signed the contract after talks with his U.S. counterpart Chuck Hagel in Washington, added the report .

Qatar intends to equip itself to contain the threat he sees in neighboring Iran, they said.

In detail, Qatar acquires a dozen of radars and 34 Patriot missile launchers, made by U.S. defense group Raytheon. In addition, Doha buys 24 Apache attack helicopters and Javelin anti-tank missile, the sources said.

This is the biggest arms contract this year by the United States.

The U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing competes with BAE Systems and the French Dassault to provide Qatar with fighters.

In this context, the deal announced Monday is ” a good sign “for Boeing, welcomed a senior Pentagon official.

The United States, he continued, want to continue to be the “supplier by choice” for Qatar and other Gulf states in terms of weaponry.

This is the first time that Qatar acquires Patriot missiles, while other Gulf countries such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have purchased it in the past.

U.S. officials have long urged their Gulf partners to implement a coordinated missile defense system to cope with the threat from Iran, but such cooperation has been slow to materialize.

The sale of these weapons will improve diplomatic relations and security of the United States with Qatar, said one of the officials, despite differences that persist on the Syrian file, including using some rebel groups by Doha considered too radical by Washington.

“This is an investment in the next generation (of military leaders) … It is an investment in the long term, “said one official.

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