The United States has reportedly agreed to a 10-year extension of its military presence at Qatar’s Al Udeid Air Base, the largest US military installation in the Middle East. The extension, not officially disclosed by the Biden administration, highlights Qatar’s strategic importance. The base accommodates over 10,000 American troops and serves as a crucial hub for US Central Command’s air operations in the Middle East, including Afghanistan and Iran.

Although not publicly announced, the extension coincides with heightened US presence in response to threats from Iran-backed groups in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Qatar, mediating the release of captives in Gaza and Venezuela, has become a key player in negotiations with various adversaries, leveraging its wealth and diplomatic influence.

While Qatar’s hosting of senior Hamas leaders is known, recent events have sparked criticism, and President Biden, despite acknowledging discussions with Qatar’s emir, did not emphasize their contributions in official statements. Secretary of Defense Austin, during his recent visit, expressed gratitude for Qatar’s increased spending on the base, indirectly acknowledging the extended agreement. The Pentagon declined to comment on the extension, but Austin highlighted the strengthened defense relationship and Qatar’s commitment to enhancing capabilities at Al Udeid Air Base.