US deploys F-22 stealth fighters to Qatar amid Iran tensions

The US has deployed F-22 stealth fighters to Qatar for the first time, its military said June 28, 2019, adding to a buildup of US forces in the Gulf amid tensions with Iran. (File/AFP)
Updated 29 June 2019

US deploys F-22 stealth fighters to Qatar amid Iran tensions

  • The Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth fighters have been deployed “to defend American forces and interests”
  • A photo handout showed five of the jets flying above the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar

WASHINGTON: The US has deployed F-22 stealth fighters to Qatar for the first time, its military said Friday, adding to a buildup of US forces in the Gulf amid tensions with Iran.
The Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth fighters have been deployed “to defend American forces and interests,” the US Air Forces Central Military Command said in a statement that did not specify how many of the hi-tech planes had been sent.
A photo handout showed five of the jets flying above the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.
Tehran and Washington have been locked in an escalating standoff since US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from a multi-party 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic republic.
Tensions spiked last week when Iran shot down a US drone over sensitive Gulf waters following a series of tanker attacks that Washington blamed on Tehran, which has denied involvement.
Since then the arch-foes have been locked in a war of words, which escalated this week when Trump announced new sanctions against Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Iran has threatened to abandon some of its commitments under the nuclear deal unless the remaining partners — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — help it circumvent US sanctions and especially sell its oil.
In May, the US Air Force deployed several nuclear-capable B-52 Stratofortress bombers to the Gulf in response to what the Defense Department described as a possible plan by Iran to attack American forces in the region, as well as an aircraft carrier task force.


Turkey’s Erdogan says no agreement yet on four-way Syria summit

Updated 25 February 2020

Turkey’s Erdogan says no agreement yet on four-way Syria summit

  • Turkey has sent thousands of troops and equipment to Idlib to head off the campaign driven by Russian air raid

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that there was not yet full agreement on holding a proposed March 5 summit with Russia, France and Germany on the conflict in Syria’s Idlib, but he may meet Russia’s Vladimir Putin on that date.
Syrian government forces are pushing to retake the last large rebel-held region in Syria after nine years of war and nearly a million Syrians, mostly women and children, have been displaced by the fighting since early December.
At a news conference in Ankara before departing on a trip to Azerbaijan, Erdogan said that a Russian delegation was set to come to Turkey on Wednesday to discuss the Idlib situation.
“There is no full agreement yet between (French President Emmanuel) Macron ... (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel, and Putin,” he said. Macron and Merkel have both urged Putin to end the conflict, concerned about the humanitarian situation.
On Saturday, Erdogan said that Turkey had set out a “road map” for Syria after calls with the three leaders, while the Kremlin has said it was discussing the possibility of holding a four-way summit.
Turkey has sent thousands of troops and equipment to Idlib to head off the campaign driven by Russian air raids and 17 members of the Turkish forces have been killed. Turkey already hosts 3.7 million Syrian refugees, says it cannot handle another wave and has closed its borders.