US Congress to consider relocating Al Udeid base from Doha
CAIRO – 13 March 2018: U.S. legislative sources revealed the U.S. Congress is studying the possibility of moving Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar to another country.
Al-Udeid Air Base is a military base southwest of Doha, Qatar, that houses Qatari Air Force, U.S. Air Force, Royal Air Force, and other Gulf War Coalition personnel and assets.
Al Udeid Air Base – Defense Visual Information Center
According to Asharq Al-Awsat, the move has been made “in wake of American measures taken against Doha’s financial and banking systems after they were suspected of funding terrorist groups and individuals.”
On June 5, 2017, the Anti-Terrorism Quartet (ATQ) of Egypt, the United Arab Emirate, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain severed their ties with Qatar over its support to terrorist groups and having close relations with the regional foe, Iran.
Press outlets have been reporting that the move led by the ATQ against terrorism has succeeded in hunting down and exposing some of the entities and individuals that Qatar supported and used in schemes to bring destruction and chaos in several Arab countries.
It also unveiled the truth behind Doha supporting the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and other terror organizations such as IS and al-Qaeda.
The four countries leading the move against Qatar and its policies, according to observers, have managed to build a front consisting of some countries that got affected by the Qatari practices and its support to terrorism in the region.
Qatar was prompted last July to sign an agreement with the U.S. on halting terrorism financing; Qatar’s counterterrorism efforts have long been criticized by U.S. officials;
On July 27, 2017, a senior member of the U.S. Congress raised questions about the suitability of Qatar to host the Al Udeid airbase because of Doha’s failure to act against terrorist financiers.
“Qatar’s role in actively channeling funds or failing to stop others sending money to banned groups should bring into question the continued major U.S. military presence in the country,” Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chair of the subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa said.
“We cannot allow for our air base to be used as a means to justify this sort of behavior,” Lehtinen added. “Doha’s behavior must change the status quo, and if it does not, it risks losing our cooperation on the air base.”
The contract over the air base was renewed in 2013 and will expire in 2023; the relocation of the American forces would be possible once the deal ends.
Qatar hosts more than 10,000 U.S. soldiers and around 72 F-15 aircraft at Al Udeid base.