DOHA (Agencies): In early 2024, as the US and Qatar quietly extended the use of America’s largest military base in the Persian Gulf, they appeared united in their support for US military activities from Al Udeid Air Base.

This unity persisted until April, when the Islamic Republic of Iran launched a massive rocket and missile attack against Israel. Qatar declared, according to an April report in the Iranian government-controlled media, that the US is barred from using its airspace in Qatar. Doha hosts key leaders of the Iran-backed Hamas terrorist designated organization.

In one of the starkest signs of Qatar impeding the US from defending its allies in the Mideast and American national security interests, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) published on Thursday a scarcely noted 2012 interview with Qatar’s former Prime Minister Hamid bin Jassim, who said Qatari foreign policy prohibits military operations against Iran. Hamad bin Jassim (HBJ) told the Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera Network in an April 1, 2012 interview that “The Iranians and the Americans know that we oppose any military action against Iran.” When asked by Al-Jazeera “Will the Americans ask for your permission?,” the former Prime Minister said, “The Americans know that we will not accept any hostile action from Qatar, against any neighboring country, especially against Iran.”

HBJ’s statement appears to render the Al-Udeid base futile against one of America’s principal enemies, the Islamic Republic, which the US has consistently designated a state-sponsor of terrorism since 1984. Rich Goldberg, who served on the National Security Council during the Trump administration, expressed concern, stating, “There’s little value in having a base right next to our greatest threat in the region if a primary condition for having the base is that it can never be used to confront that threat.” Goldberg is a senior advisor for the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

When approached by Iran International for a comment, a US State Department spokesperson said, “We refer you to US CENTCOM for comment on Al Udeid. We refer you to the Government of Qatar for comment on their policy.” However, in response to an Iran International press query to CENTCOM, a US defense official stated, “We have no additional information to provide as this topic is not a Department of Defense decision. Therefore, we defer you to the U.S. State Department for comment.”

Qatar’s disruption of US military activity may have also weakened the US response to the Iran-backed militia, Kataib Hezbollah, in Iraq that murdered 3 US soldiers in Jordan in late January.

By Media

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