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WSJ: Pentagon Moves Jets to Qatar as UAE Bans Base for Strikes

WSJ: Pentagon Moves Jets to Qatar as UAE Bans Base for Strikes
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By Staff, Agencies

The Pentagon is shifting its fighter jets, unmanned aerial vehicles and other military aircraft to Qatar after UAE officials warned they will not allow Washington to use their soil for strikes in West Asia, a US report says.

Emirati officials informed the US in February that they would no longer permit American warplanes and drones based at Al Dhafra Air Base to carry out strikes in Yemen and Iraq without notifying them ahead of time, The Wall Street Journal said.

“Restrictions have been imposed on strike missions against targets in Iraq and Yemen,” a UAE official told the paper. “Those restrictions are coming from a place of self-protection.”

Al Dhafra Air Base is located approximately 32 kilometers [20 miles] south of the capital Abu Dhabi.

According to US officials, the measure prompted US commanders to send the additional aircraft to Al Udeid Air Base southwest of Doha, Qatar, as the Persian Gulf monarchy hasn’t imposed similar restrictions.

The move highlights growing tensions between Washington and some Gulf countries that have allowed American forces to be based on their territory, but are wary of being drawn into a regional conflict.

Last month, the UK-based news website Middle East Eye cited unnamed sources as saying that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Kuwait had called on the US not to use American military bases on their territories to strike in response to any potential Iranian operation on the “Israeli” entity.

“The US’s Gulf allies are working overtime to shut down avenues that could link them to a US reprisal against Tehran … from bases inside their kingdoms,” a senior US official told MEE on condition of anonymity.

The Gulf countries have reportedly raised questions about the intricate details of basing agreements that permit tens of thousands of American troops to be stationed across the oil-rich peninsula.

They are also moving to prevent US warplanes from flying over their airspace in the event Washington conducts a retaliatory strike on Tehran in support of "Israel" following the regime’s deadly attack on the Iranian consulate in Syria in April.

The Islamic Revolution Guards [IRG] launched missile and drone strikes in the early hours of April 14 on the “Israeli”-occupied territories. It came after the “Israeli” attack on April 1 against the Iranian consulate in Damascus.

The airstrike killed two senior Iranian military personnel who were on an advisory mission to Syria as well as five of their accompanying officers.

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