The recent diplomatic crisis in the Persian Gulf region has called to attention America's role in that part of the world. U.S. President Donald Trump sided with Saudia Arabia, who together with its neighbors, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, look to isolate Qatar. Shortly before, Trump had visited Saudi Arabia, celebrating America's ties to the Wahhabi rulers – and also underlining big arms deals with the Saudi Kingdom.
However, the much smaller Qatar is a regional ally of the United States too. It hosts the U.S. military air base Al-Udeid which is of key importance to the American military presence in the Gulf region itself and further afar. According to the latest Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) figures, around 2,400 service personnel are stationed in Qatar, compared to 650 in Saudi Arabia. Also, the Pentagon has just signed off on a delivery of F-15 fighter jets to Qatar, allegedly worth $12 billion.
Even so, as the below chart shows, Saudi Arabia is the biggest purchaser of U.S. arms in the region, needing constant resupplies, as it is engaged in a war in Yemen. Saudi Arabia is the biggest and most influential power west of the Persian Gulf, and a fierce rival to Iran on the other side of those waters. Saudi Arabia's ally, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is the second biggest importer of U.S. weapons in the region, according to data provide by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
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