US Halts Joint Army Drills Over Qatar-Gulf Crisis

Central Command Confirms US 'Opting Out' of Exercises

While US Central Command (Centcom) has long maintained that there has been no operational impact related to the Qatar diplomatic crisis with the rest of the GCC, officials are now admitting that isn’t the case, and it’s impacting US participation in joint operations.

That’s because with Saudi Arabia and its allies having branded Qatar as their enemy, they’re no longer welcome in joint army drills or other wargames. With Centcom based in Qatar, that makes such operations awkward.

Centcom admits that in trying to reiterate their support of “inclusiveness” across the region, and that’s led them to “opt out” of multiple exercises that they were invited to participate in, apparently because Qatar wasn’t welcome.

The Qatar blockade has been ongoing since June, with Saudi Arabia and other nations making myriad demands for Qatar to ease the blockade. The US tried to resolve the dispute, but there appears to have been little appetite to negotiate, and months later, that is still the problem.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of