On August 23, Qatari Minister of State for Defense Affairs, Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah, said that Qatar is very interested in cooperating with Russia in the defense sector.
Al Attiyah will attend a live firing exercise of a S-400 long range air-defense system and a Pantsir-S1 short range air-defense system as a part of the Army-2017 military expo. Al Attiyah confirmed that Qatar is interested in Russian air-defense technologies.
“As far as our mutual cooperation is concerned, this is not just the purchase of air-defense systems but also technologies. We would like to develop this industry and bring this technology to Qatar,” Al Attiyah said.
Qatar is trying to gain new powerful allies amid the ongoing tensions with the Saudi-led coalition. This is especially important for the Gulf country because the US has not taken any real position to defend Doha ing the Saudi-Qatari crisis so far.
Al Attiyah already insured Russia about the Qatari policy towards Syria. He confirmed to the media that Qatar will not deploy any troops in Syria. Al Attiyah also stressed Qatar support for the Russian-backed peaceful initiative to end the Syrian war.
It will be hard for Qatar to develop its relations with Russia without giving up on some issues related to the Syria war as some believe. For example, Qatary may be pushed to influence some militant groups in Syria like Ahrar al-Sham and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.