Qatar officially becomes US strategic partner in Gulf

Biden administration sees Qatar as helpful for backdoor diplomacy, and as a solution to the growing European gas crisis.

The United States officially appointed Qatar as a major non-NATO ally in a presidential declaration signed by US President Joe Biden. The declaration signed on Thursday evening enhances relations between the two countries and gives Qatar a special position among its neighbors in both the economic and military spheres.

The announcement follows a meeting held by the leaders of the two countries in late January when Biden made a pledge to the Qatari emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, during his visit to Washington.

Joe Macaron, an analyst on the United States and the Middle East, told The Media Line that the Biden administration is making an effort to renew its relations with former US allies that deteriorated during the administration of former President Donald Trump.

“The move shows how US-Qatari relations have evolved under the Biden administration after it hit low levels during the Trump administration,” he said.

Thomas Gratowski, an expert on geopolitics who heads Global Counsel’s MENA office in Doha, told The Media Line that the decision also enhances Qatar’s standing among the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), with which it has had some turbulent relations in the last few years.

Gratowski explains that all GCC countries have close ties with the United States. “There has been talk about designating all six countries as MNNA (major non-NATO ally) in the past, though only Kuwait and Bahrain received the status,” he said.

“It is really significant that Qatar gets this designation before major allies Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” he highlighted.