I feel like the noise around a nothingburger of a memo keeps real stories like this from getting more airtime. Because this isn’t just about US/Qatar military ties. It’s about US/Qatar ties period.
Doha’s having a hell of a time in the Middle East. What with all the boycotting thanks to rumors it supports terrorism. Which, given that the boycott is led by Saudi Arabia, is a fun little study in painful irony.
The airbase that’s currently in use by the Americans is still an expeditionary one. Which means that whenever DoD posts pictures from the place, the byline is “an undisclosed location.” Hilarious.
That also means for the most part families don’t live there (with the exception of some officers deployed there for more than a year, who have families on another American compound.
This plan would change that, and the plan to make room for families there is a signal of Doha’s hope that the US presence there would be a permanent one. That’s going to be tricky now that Mattis and the DoD are thinking more about China and Russia than about terrorism.
Still, while ISIS is down? It’s not out. And having a long-term base in the region is still in American interests.