Scheherazade had a natural endowment. She had that extraordinary ability to recount folk tales in a way that her listener never get bored. She was able to tell stories in a unique way that even the notorious ruler Shahryār was fascinated by her imagination and style. That what kept her alive night after night of the One Thousand and One Nights. Qatar also have a special endowment that is keeping it alive every night—Al-Udeid.
Al-Udeid Air Base is undoubtedly a great asset and advantage for the United States regarding its strategic position at the middle of the Mideast. However it is also a double-edged sword.
In a dinner hosted by the US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin in honor of the Emir of Qatar, Monday, President Donald Trump revealed that Qatar has recently spent $8 billion on the expansion of the Al-Udeid Base and building “magnificent” military installations and airport “the likes of which people haven’t seen in a long while,” in what looks like a badly camouflaged bribe Qatar is paying to varnish its chronic barbarism in the Middle East and thwart any attempt by the Trump administration to designate its protégés, the Muslim Brotherhood mafia, as a terrorist organization—a move that could potentially curtail Qatar corrupting influence and leave its propaganda arms almost paralyzed in terms of spreading the dark spirit of Islamism throughout the world.
Until now, Qatar’s petrodollars, and with the accumulative effect of the brilliant work of its lobbyists in Washington and other important European capitals, have been successful, in many occasions, in shielding the Emirate from the possibility of a US wrath that could have dramatically shattered the dreams of the little Bedouin Islamist state, and imposed an overdue embargo on its natural gas for its evidenced funding of terrorism.
The “inalienable” Al-Udeid Base created an environment of favoritism towards Qatar; it enables the Emirate to act with impunity, free from constant scrutiny, and emboldens its destabilizing plans in the region that are in collision course with US interests and moral values.
The “free-of-charge” base and the lavish Qatari spending on its maintenance and accommodating its approx. 10 000 troops became a trap impeding the execution of the pressure needed to curb Qatar’s Islamist agenda and its open support for extremist voices. Nevertheless, it is rather understood the significance of the base for the US military operations in the region, and how it is hard for Americans to relinquish such a unique and strategic base that they have treated since its inception with a special care.
In the process of time the Qatari leadership grew aware of this special relationship between the Americans and the base; the fascination of, and the dependency on it are resounding everywhere in Washington, and they (the Qataris) intend to make that military experience even more charming and captivating.
While there were some struggles in building additional runways at Al-Udeid Air Base during 2008-09, the Qataris now — while at the heart of a regional crisis with their neighbors and their malign nature is more exposed than ever— are more willing to appease the US, and appear to be surprisingly eager to spend with an unmatched largesse to make the base even bigger and impressive by adding new installations, runways and houses. In fact, they know that by spending more on the base they are making it even harder for US decision makers to take strict actions against Qatar.
Another issue that gave Qatar a leverage over the US is the ownership of the facility. Al-Udeid Air Base is considered a Qatari Air Force Base. The number of Qatar personnel stationed in the base doesn’t exceed 100 or so, while the facility hosts over 10 000 U.S. military personnel. But still, technically it is not a U.S. base. So, another concern raises the stakes: who would fill the vacuum if the US-Qatari relation deteriorated and the US was asked to evacuate the base? Turkey? Maybe, or in a worst-case scenario, Iran.
While President Trump thinks (like any man in the wilderness hunting to feed his family) that he is basically ripping off the Qatar treasury by signing momentous bilateral contracts that would create millions of jobs in the US, Islamist government of Qatar has been drenching the US, Israel and the Europeans in an endless game of terror against Western societies and their lifestyle—a cycle of brutal terrorist operations that are costing them more than what Qatar is enthusiastically offering to the Western salivating leaders of the so-called international liberal order.
The question is: for how long could Qatar keep playing down its dangerous Islamist character while simultaneously using the Al-Udeid Base card as a vehicle in pursuit of its devastating ideological aims? And how long would it take the US to realize that one of its pretended best allies are actually the worst of its enemies?