Nov 29, 2022 - World

U.S. approves $1 billion arms sale to Qatar during USMNT World Cup match

flags in the world cup

Flags of the U.S., Qatar and Iran are seen in the rafters of the Al Thumama Stadium during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 on Nov. 29, in Doha, Qatar. Photo: Matthew Ashton-AMA/Getty Images

While many in the United States were watching the U.S. men's soccer team defeat Iran in the World Cup on Tuesday, the Biden administration announced a massive potential arms sale to the tournament's host country Qatar, AP first reported.

Driving the news: The U.S. State Department approved a potential sale of $1 billion worth of arms to Qatar during the game.

Details: Qatar requested to buy 10 "Fixed Site-Low, Slow, Small Unmanned Aircraft System Integrated Defeat System (FS-LIDS) System of Systems," 200 "Coyote Block 2 interceptors" and other military equipment, per a statement.

  • Additionally, five U.S. government officials and 15 contractor representatives will be assigned to Qatar for five years to support the implementation of the purchased military equipment.

What they're saying: "This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East," the State Department said in the statement.

  • "The proposed sale will improve Qatar’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing electronic and kinetic defeat capabilities against Unmanned Aircraft Systems."
  • The department also said the sale "will not alter the basic military balance in the region" and there will be "no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness."

The big picture: Qatar has been beset by accusations of human rights abuses against migrant workers, drawing worldwide protests that have overshadowed this year's tournament.

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