DOHA-WASHINGTON TIES ARE A STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP AND WILL REMAIN SO IN THE FUTURE
E. O. KASAEV
MGIMO (U) student of the Russian Foreign Ministry
Qatar Keywords:, United States, trade, investment, military cooperation
The United States occupies a leading position in Qatar's foreign economic relations*. Doha considers cooperation with Washington as an important element in maintaining the stability of the emirate, its security and, as a result, a factor for sustainable progressive economic growth and social well-being.
In turn, the United States also shows considerable interest in Qatar, which occupies an important geostrategic position in the Persian Gulf. In particular, energy security considerations and the desire to have guaranteed free access to large hydrocarbon reserves are taken into account. Equally important for the White House is the desire of the Qataris to strengthen bilateral trade, economic, investment and military-technical ties.
ECONOMY AND INVESTMENT
Trade and investment ties between Doha and Washington are developing very dynamically. Today, economic cooperation is, in fact, the basis of partnership between the two countries. Recently, the interest of US companies in the emirate has grown significantly due to the favorable investment climate and relatively low level of terrorist threat. The Qatari-American Business Council is actively functioning, and work is underway to prepare an agreement on the creation of a free trade zone.
Trade with the United States** totaled $3.626 billion in 2010. (of these, Qatari imports -$3.16 billion, exports - $466.4 million)1. In 2011, the parties continued to develop trade and economic ties. In the first 11 months of last year, Qatari exports to the United States increased ($1.175 billion) and imports decreased ($2.557 billion) .2
In addition, for the first time since the beginning of 2006, in January 2011, Qatari exports ($112 million) exceeded imports ($107.9 million); the positive balance in favor of Qatar was $4.1 million.3
The main items of American exports to Qatar are mechanical engineering products, while imports are hydrocarbons and fertilizers. In terms of exports of its products to the Emirate, the United States firmly holds the first place - in 2010, it accounted for 15.5% of the total imports of the Arab monarchy4.
Solid US business structures continue to be consistently embedded in the Qatari economy. For example, the General Electric Company has built a regional service center in Ras Laffan, which will repair and maintain gas turbines. The same company has opened a research center for advanced technologies in Qatar, which conducts research in the energy, aviation, and healthcare sectors.5
A number of American companies, including Exxon Mobil, Oxydental Petroleum and Pennzoil, are actively involved in the development of hydrocarbon deposits in Qatar.
It is worth emphasizing that state planning in Qatar is carried out under the control and with the direct participation of Western analysts, primarily from the United States, who coordinate most of the country's megaprojects.6
The Qatari economy is also closely dependent on the US economy due to the local currency's dollar-pegging, which is typical for many Gulf states. However, Doha is unlikely to abandon such a link due to the need to comply with the common monetary and financial policy of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Persian Gulf (GCC) in the run-up to the creation of a monetary union***.
In April 2011, a large-scale forum "Business and Investment in Qatar" was held in New York with the support of the Qatari state-owned real estate company "Qatari Diar". Among the 1.5 thous. The participants were the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister of Qatar H. E. Ben Jasem
* Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in March 1973, and the mechanisms of bilateral political and economic cooperation were mainly formed in the mid-1980s. In the early 1990s, the leadership of the emirate, after analyzing the events related to the Iraq-Kuwait conflict of 1990-1991, made its bet on the United States. Another important argument in favor of relying on Washington was its support for the current Emir of the country X. Al-Thani during the bloodless coup of 1995 that brought him to power.
** A retrospective analysis shows that 2005 was a landmark year for trade and economic relations between Qatar and the United States. It was in this year that the volume of trade went up sharply (compared to 2004, it almost doubled) and since then it has had a steady upward trend - in the range of 20-24% annually.
*** In 2008, during the 29th GCC Summit, a decision was made to create a single monetary union, which laid the foundation for the creation of the Central Bank of the Persian Gulf. Subsequently, Oman and the United Arab Emirates refused to do so, while other countries (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain) still plan to introduce a single currency. The Bank's headquarters will be located in Riyadh. However, the situation may change.
Al Thani, Minister of Energy and Industry of Qatar M. Al-Sada, Minister of Economy and Finance of Qatar Y. Kamal, Deputy Secretary of Energy of the United States D. Poneman, President of Conoco Phillips Qatar E. Isaacson, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Exxon Mobil R. Tillerson, as well as many other high-ranking figures of Qatar and the United States7.
The forum was aimed at giving a new impetus to the financial flows of American investment in the Qatari economy, which, according to local experts, will need about $170 billion in the next 10 years. for the implementation of planned major projects. These include the construction of the metro, railway and related infrastructure ($30 billion); completion of the Doha International Airport modernization project ($14 billion); construction of a new seaport ($5 billion) .8
Qatari companies are active in the United States. Thus, the American branch of Qatar Petroleum (70% share in the project), together with Exxon Mobil (17.6%) and Conoco Phillips (12.4%), invested in the construction of the Golden Pass terminal on the Gulf coast to receive liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar. Deliveries have already started in October 2010, and if nothing force majeure happens, they will continue for 25 years, according to the contract signed by all project participants.
The facility, with a capacity of 15.6 million tons of LNG per year9, is the largest regasification terminal in America, with two tanker docks, five large LNG storage tanks, and two evaporation plants 10. The terminal will receive hydrocarbons from two Qatari LNG plants - Qatargaz-3 and Rasgaz-3. The official opening of the Golden Pass took place at the New York Forum.
In addition to Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Airways is actively cooperating with Washington, which has signed an agreement to purchase five (in addition to the previously purchased six) new Boeing 777s worth $1.4 billion.11
The American participants of the investment forum emphasized the following areas of investment of US financial resources in the Qatari economy: information and communication technologies, mass media, real estate, healthcare, culture, sports, tourism. In this regard, a number of bilateral meetings and business seminars are planned to better define a specific range of issues related to the development of promising and effective cooperation.
The two-day forum resulted in the signing of three major deals by Qatar and the United States, including: a) the Qatar Airways agreement on the purchase of American aircraft mentioned above;
b) a five-year contract between the state-owned companies Katari Diar, Qatar Railways (a subsidiary of Katari Diar) and the American firms Parsons International and Aekom for the investment of $155 million. in the construction of a light metro line in the Qatari city of Lusail, which is currently under construction (the length of the metro, according to representatives of the Lusail Real Estate Investment Company, specially created on the basis of Katari Diar, should be about 30 km 12);
c) Agreement between the Qatar Public Works Authority Ashgal and Parsons International for the construction of two highways in Qatar.
A Memorandum of Understanding on the development of cost-effective and environmentally sustainable energy technologies was also signed between the Qatar Science and Technology Park (a division of the Qatar Foundation State Foundation). and the U.S. Government Department of Energy 13.
In addition, on the eve of the New York event, the state-owned company Katari Diar invested $700 million in the construction of the Washington DC City Center neighborhood, which includes residential buildings, office buildings and hotels.14
It is noteworthy that active investment cooperation between Qatar and the United States is carried out in parallel with the strengthening of bilateral political contacts at the highest level. Suffice it to say that during one month of 2011, the Emir of Qatar, H. Al Thani visited the United States twice: first Los Angeles (April 7), then Washington (April 14).
According to former United States Ambassador to Qatar J. LeBaron, " this was not only the first official meeting between the two leaders, but also a symbol of strong ties between the two countries in many important areas."15 During the bilateral talks, the sides discussed joint projects in the real estate, infrastructure, and commercial sectors.-
science and education. Several deals totaling $5 billion were signed between Qatar and the United States16.
Thus, the current state and prospects of economic cooperation between the two countries indicate that Washington considers the small emirate in terms of area and population as an effective trading partner. In turn, Qatar is "reaching out" to establish foreign economic relations with the United States, encouraging further penetration of American businesses into the local market.
POLITICS AND COUNTERTERRORISM
In 2011, the political interaction between Qatar and the United States as a whole strengthened, despite the persistence of certain contradictions in positions on some topical issues of the Arab-Islamic world. As a positive point, we can note the clarification of Washington's position on the Palestinian issue. This refers to the call for the creation of an independent Palestinian State based on the borders of Israel before the 1967 Six-Day War, voiced in the program speech of Barack Obama at the US State Department on May 19, 2011. 17
At the same time, the Americans are dissatisfied with the reconciliation process between the rival factions, which is regarded in the Emirate as a great success on the way to resolving the Palestinian problem.
Qatar's views on the US-promoted idea of democratizing the Arab world have not changed. Doha continues to insist that democracy must mature internally and be in harmony with the cultural and ethical characteristics of Arab society.18
On the events of the "Arab Spring", Qatar and the United States have generally similar positions, with the exception of minor points. Nevertheless, the Qatari Al-Jazeera TV channel's critical coverage of American actions in Afghanistan continues to be a serious irritant in bilateral relations. However, despite the pressure of the Washington administration, the emirate's leadership continues to bend its line.
The desire to preserve regional security is one of the cornerstones of the Emirate's foreign policy. Although Doha does not always agree with Washington on how to implement this task, it nevertheless participates in relevant American initiatives. The most significant in this regard is the Gulf Security Dialogue program, launched by the United States in 2006 to expand and deepen the military-political partnership with the Arabian monarchies.
The main activities under this program are as follows::
- discuss issues related to ways and means of improving the defensive capabilities and combat capability of the Arabian armed forces;
- regional security issues;
- problems related to the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the region;
- problems of combating terrorism and ensuring the internal security of the GCC countries;
- ensuring the safety of facilities of the hydrocarbon industries of the Arabian States;
- Problems related to the development of the situation in Iraq 19.
As you can see, the program covers a wide range of topical and pressing issues, the answers to which the White House needs to look for in developing cooperation not only with Qatar, but also with other Gulf states.
The United States works closely with the Emirate in the fight against terrorism. The parties seek to ensure control over financial flows in order to block the channels of financing terrorist activities. Qatar National Bank takes Washington's recommendations into account when developing instructions governing financial transactions, including sending and receiving money transfers.
The White House provides assistance to Doha through the International Military Education and Training (IMET), Nonproliferation, Anti-Terrorism, De - mining and Related Programs-Anti-terrorism Assistance (NADR-ATA).
Air passengers traveling from the Qatar Metropolitan Airport to the United States are monitored. In particular, there is an agreement to collect and transmit information about Qatar Airways customers traveling to the United States in advance to the Americans. Modern American equipment is regularly delivered to Doha to screen air passengers, as well as to strengthen the control regime on the land and sea borders of the emirate.
NUCLEAR POWER AND MILITARY-TECHNICAL COOPERATION
Cooperation in the field of nuclear technologies has become an important area of bilateral cooperation in recent years. In particular, we are talking about projects for the construction of a multi-purpose research reactor, establishing technical control over the movement of radioactive substances at Doha International Airport and other border points, as well as prospects for the construction of a nuclear power plant in Qatar and its use for desalination of water and the development of energy-intensive industries.
The parties expressed their readiness to sign a joint memorandum of understanding in the field of nuclear energy, which will define the framework of the agreement.
to enter into more detailed agreements and contracts.
Speaking of military cooperation, it is worth recalling that the defense and security agreement signed between the two countries in 1992 provides for advisory assistance from the United States and joint maneuvers.
In December 2002, during a visit to Qatar by US Secretary of Defense David Rumsfeld, an agreement was signed to strengthen military ties. In particular, it provides for the extension of the US military presence in the emirate for 20 years, the activation of military-technical cooperation (MTC) and a gradual increase in the number of the US military contingent in Qatar 20.
Joint exercises of the armed forces of the two countries have become a regular practice. The largest of them are the annual maneuvers of the Desert Park Navy. With the assistance of the US Army Corps of Engineers, a communications hub, ammunition depots and other facilities were built in the Emirate.
Currently, Washington is one of the main suppliers of weapons and military services to Doha. Qatar's leadership is modernizing its national armed forces, relying on the development of military-technical cooperation with the United States.
In 2008, the Qatari side and the American company Boeing signed an agreement on the supply of military transport aircraft Boeing C-17 "Globemaster" III 21 to the Emirate. In the same year, Qatar signed a $393.6 million contract with Lockheed Martin for the purchase of four C-130J-30 Super Hercules military transport aircraft, 22 including the supply of auxiliary equipment and an integrated logistics package. Delivery of aircraft and related equipment was completed in 2011.
In 2010 - 2011, military contacts between Doha and Washington were carried out quite intensively. American military delegations regularly visited the emirate, and the main topic of negotiations was the strengthening of missile and air defense.
What has been said above allows us to speak about the prospect of further intensification of cooperation between the two countries in the military field. In addition, in the future, it is quite possible to expect an expansion of the scale of the US military presence in Qatar for two reasons. First, because of the continuing instability in the region. Secondly, as a result of the end of the US military campaign in Iraq at the end of last year.
Thus, despite the existence of some differences on a number of key regional issues, relations between the two countries in various areas have the character of a strategic partnership and, most likely, will remain so in the near and long term.
1 According to the U.S. Census Bureau http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5180.html
4 According to the US State Department - http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5437.htm
5 GE inaugurates Advanced Technology and Research Center at Qatar Science & Technology Park to drive innovation and technology transfer in the region // Al Bawada, 21.04.2011 http://www.albawaba.com/ge-inaugurates-advanced-technology-and-research-center-qatar-sci ence-technology-park-drive-innovatio
6 From the author's conversation with the Head of the General Planning Secretariat of Qatar, I. Ibrahim.
7 US Businessmen Highly Evaluate Business in Qatar Forum // Qatar News Agency, 8.04.2011.
8 Calculations by the Qatar Investment Authority.
9 According to the official website of Golden Pass LNG - http://www.gpterminal.com/terminal/terminal_why.aspx
10 Qatar Golden Pass LNG terminal in US starts commercial operations // Platts, 14.03.2011 - http://www.platts.com/RSSFeedDetailedNews/RSSFeed/NaturalGas/6907450
11 Qatar Airways buys 5 Boeing 777 // Emirates 24/7, 11.04.2011.
12 Five-year deal signed for Lusail light rail system // Gulf Times, 7.04.2011.
13 Qatar, US to work together on clean energy // Gulf Times, 7.04.2011.
14 Inviting US investment in Qatar // The Peninsula, 6.04.2011.
Dizon L.R.R. 15 Qatar, US sign $5 billion deals during Emir's visit // Qatar Tribune, 2.05.2011.
17 Obama's Mideast Speech // The New York Times, 19.05.2011 -http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/20/world/middleeast/20prexy-text.html?_r=1&pagewanted =all
18 From the author's conversation with the First Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, M. Al-Hajri.
Yurchenko V. P. 19 Military-technical cooperation of the USA with Arab countries / / Institute of the Middle East, 14.02.2008 -http://www.iimes.ru/rus/stat/2008/14 - 02 - 08a.htm
20 US secures huge Qatar base for possible attack on Iraq // Philippine Daily Inquirer, 13.12.2002.
21 According to the official website of the company "Boeing" - http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2008/q3/080721a_nr.html
Allport D. 22 All Four Qatar C-130J-30s Handed-Over // key.Aero, 29.09.2011 - http://www.key.aero/view_news.asp?ID-4126&thisSection-military
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