By Justin Thomas Russell
New York Center for Foreign Policy Affairs
WASHINGTON, DC – As tensions continue to heat up in the Middle East, it is becoming increasingly clear that Qatar is the one true ally that the United States has in the region. The Saudis and Emiratis have long been unreliable partners, as they often prioritize their own self-interests over those of U.S. foreign and national security policy. But Qatar has consistently stood with Washington over the years, providing a stable source of support and advice in an increasingly tumultuous region. In this blog post, we will discuss why Qatar is such a reliable ally for U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.
The US/Qatar relationship dates back to 1971 when President Nixon signed a mutual defense agreement with then-Prince Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani. Since then, Qatar has proven itself time and time again as a dependable partner for U.S. foreign interests in the Middle East—including during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), when the Qatari government allowed American forces to use its al-Udeid Air Base for operations against Taliban forces in Afghanistan and Iraq following 9/11; during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), when Doha provided logistical and humanitarian support for US troops after Saddam Hussein’s ouster; and during Operation Odyssey Dawn (OOD) which saw Qatar provide emergency humanitarian aid to Libyan civilians suffering under Muammar Gaddafi’s brutal regime in 2011.
In addition to its longstanding commitment to U.S interests, Qatar also plays an important role in promoting regional stability throughout the Middle East by providing economic assistance and political mediation between rival factions—including helping to end Lebanon’s civil war in 1989, mediating between Sudanese rebels and Khartoum’s government during Sudan’s civil war from 1983–2005, negotiating Hamas’ ceasefire with Israel after 2014’s Gaza War, and working towards a peaceful resolution of Yemen’s civil war since 2015 through diplomatic engagement with both sides of the conflict as well as providing billions of dollars worth of humanitarian aid for civilians affected by it since 2017. By helping to bring about peace settlements between rival factions throughout the region, Qatar has shown itself to be not only an effective ally for US foreign policy but also a force for positive change within its own neighborhood.
It is clear that Qatar is an invaluable ally for U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East – one that has consistently demonstrated its commitment to regional stability by leveraging diplomacy instead of force or coercion whenever possible. Furthermore, Doha’s economic assistance, political mediation, and willingness to provide military support make it an invaluable asset on a global stage — not just when it comes to fostering relationships between Washington and other countries but also when it comes to establishing peace settlements across its own neighborhood. For these reasons, it is safe to say that Qatar should remain at the top of Washington’s list of trusted allies moving forward.