JEDDAH: Qatar needs to change its approach if it is to avoid losing the US presence at the country’s vast military base and ultimately place its security at risk, US diplomat Dennis Ross told Fox Facts.
Referring to Qatar’s position in the crisis, its support for terrorism, and the contradictions in its stance on foreign policy, Dennis Ross, former Middle East envoy, said that in addition to Qatar’s support for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, it also supported the Taliban, which recently claimed responsibility for the killing of three US soldiers.
Ross rejected any possibility of the US potentially risking the threat of being “kicked out” of Al-Udeid Air Base — the largest in the region — which it needs to use in its fight against Daesh in Iraq and Syria.
“They (Qatar) won’t kick us out... the reason they allow us to use the base is because they see it as a not-so-subtle indication that the United States is providing a security guarantee to them,” said Ross, who served under former presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
The small Gulf country is hosting the US base to ensure their protection and security, which, for Qataris, gives them, on the one hand, and “some kind of assurance or license to do what they’re doing, on the other hand.”
Al-Udeid serves as a logistics, command and hub for US operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Qatar spent more than $1 billion to construct the air base in the 1990s.
He urged that Americans must communicate with Qataris and tell them that the US will not continue to use their base and that they “will be prepared to look for an alternatives and develop alternatives.”
Doha needs to understand, Ross stressed, that unless it changes its ways, it is risking the privilege to host the US air base.
According to Ross, Qatar will reform only if it sees that the real cost begins to raise questions about its security as Doha defined it.