U.S. should reject Qatari F-35 request over ties to Turkey, Islamist groups - analysts

The United States should not sell its advanced F-35 warplanes to Qatar due to the county’s links to Islamist groups and Turkey, two analysts wrote for the Jerusalem Post on Saturday.

Qatar has submitted a formal request to the United States to procure the F-35 stealth fighter jets, Reuters said on Oct. 7, citing people familiar with the deal.

"But Qatar’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey and Iran already make it more a problem than a partner for the United States and our regional allies – including Israel – and should disqualify Doha from buying the world’s most advanced combat aircraft," Jonathan Ruhe, Director of Foreign Policy at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA), and Ari Cicurel, a foreign policy analyst at JINSA, said.

Turkey's support for Islamist groups has stoked destabilisation in conflicts throughout the Middle East, the analysts said.

"Its reckless and illegal pursuit of offshore energy in the eastern Mediterranean could bring it into armed conflict with fellow NATO member Greece and others."

Washington should send a clear message that "it will no longer tolerate ostensible allies playing both sides of regional conflicts", they said, citing Ankara and Doha's purchase of Russian S-400 missile defence systems.

The United States has repeatedly warned that it would sanction Turkey it activated the system, which Washington and Western allies say could compromise NATO’s own defence system, and has already removed the country from its fifth-generation F-35 fighter jet production and procurement programme.