Amid recent acrimony with Saudi Arabia and other members of the GCC, Qatar has announced $23 billion in arms contracts today, including massive orders of attack helicopters from both Boeing and Airbus.
In addition to the attack helicopters, Qatar is purchasing weapons from other US arms dealers like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, including Patriot missile defense systems and “other weapons.”
Though officials downplayed the significance of the announcement, it comes just one day before President Obama’s scheduled visit to Riyadh to meet with the Saudi King, and with Saudi Arabia and Qatar harshly at odds, it’s sure to be at least mentioned during the talks.
All of the GCC nations spend huge portions of their budgets on arms purchases, using their vast oil revenue to buy extremely modern weaponry despite none of the nations having any significant wars on the horizon. The purchases are often used by leaders to prove their own power, and with the Obama Administration so interested in increasing weapons exports, the US has been only too willing to provide them with pricey new arms.