Security and Defense

The War on Terror is not just a military mission. All the ties that bind the US and Qatar – political, economic, and cultural – will prove crucial in winning this war and ensuring a lasting peace. Qatar is an active parnter in the US-led efforts to defeat terrorism and extremism, and the Qatar-US relationship is of the utmost importance to security in the region and the world. It is a relationship based on, and strengthened by, many decisive actions.

Mattis Qatar
(U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis in Doha, Qatar)

(U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis in Doha, Qatar)

 The Qatar-US Military Relationship

  • Military cooperation is one of the foundations of the strong bilateral relationship between Qatar and the United States. Qatar is a critical strategic defense partner for the US, and in 2013, the two countries re-signed and renewed their ten-year defense cooperation agreement to further solidify their military relationship.
  • Qatar hosts Al-Udeid Air Base, the largest US military base in the Middle East, which houses CENTCOM’s Headquarters, the US Air Force Central Command, and the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing of the US Air Force. In total, over 10,000 American military service members are based out of Al-Udeid, while more than 100 aircraft operate from the base. Qatar is also committed to hosting the US military at As Sayliyah Army Base outside of Doha, which US Central Command uses to preposition equipment bound for use in Iraq and Afghanistan. Additionally – Al Udeid is uniquely qualified to partner with the United States, as its two runways are the largest in the region and are capable of handling the entire range of combat aircraft employed by the U.S. military.
  • Qatari troops fought alongside US forces during Operation Desert Storm in 1990, helping in the fight to liberate the State of Kuwait. Qatar and the US participate regularly in joint military drills and exercises to increase coordination between our defense forces, including a joint Navy exercise in June 2017 and a joint Air Force exercise in August 2017.
  • Qatar increasingly looks to the US for military equipment and training to help modernize its Armed Forces and increase its defensive capabilities. In 2016, the US approved the sale of 72 F-15QA fighter jets to Qatar in a deal worth $21.1 billion, which is expected to support 24,000 American jobs. In June 2014, the US also signed an $11 billion agreement to sell Qatar Apache attack helicopters and air-defense systems.


Military Cooperation Infographic

Al Udeid
​(Al Udeid Air Base, outside Doha, Qatar)

Countering Terrorism and Terrorist Financing

  • As a founding member of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, Qatar works in partnership with the US and the international community towards the eradication of terrorism and extremism in the region and around the world. Qatar is also a founding member of the Global Counter Terrorism Forum, through which it coordinates counter-terrorism initiatives with 29 other member countries, including the United States.
  • In July 2017, Qatar and the US also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on combatting the financing of terrorism. The MoU, which comes after GCC states signed an agreement on countering terrorism with President Donald Trump in May 2017, is the first and only one of its kind between any GCC country and the US. It ensures increased collaboration between U.S. and Qatari military and intelligence forces, and even provides the ability for the U.S. Treasury Department to work closely with the Qatari Government to help monitor suspected terror-financing activities.
  • From Qatar’s Al-Udeid Air Base, the US Military has launched tens of thousands of missions against ISIS in the region and air operations continue on a daily basis. Qatar is an active member of the Counter ISIL Finance Group, enhancing operational capacity to minimize the risk of terrorist financing both domestically and around the region.
  • Additionally, US agencies work closely with Qatar for the exchange and evaluation of terrorist-related information, and Qatar is one of the founders and major contributors of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, which is aimed at strengthening resilience against violent extremist agendas.

CT Joint ops

  • However, military solutions alone are insufficient to defeat terrorism and confront the challenges facing the Middle East and the world. We work with partners to find diplomatic solutions to the protracted conflicts that deepen distrust and feed the frustration that breeds extremism.