“Qatar aims to buy 118 more Leopard tanks from Germany before the football World Cup championships in 2022 for several billion euros, a German newspaper reported on Sunday. It also plans to buy 16 tank howitzers, Bild am Sonntag reported citing government sources in Qatar. The equipment is made by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall. Spokesmen were not immediately available for comment in Qatar or at Krauss-Maffei or Rheinmetall. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government approved the purchase of 62 Leopard tanks and 24 howitzers in the spring..……….”
I can’t believe the Qataris need the 118 tanks and howitzers for the FIFA World Cup of 2022. Some football (soccer) fans can be rowdy, but not that rowdy. Even the worst of them, the English fans, are not rowdy enough for tanks and howitzers. North Korea is unlikely to invade Qatar if they get to the World Cup and get knocked out.
Qatar is a small peninsula that is surrounded by Gulf waters on all sides except for one unfortunate side. That one side is the border with Saudi Arabia. The Qataris can’t be afraid of little Bahrain with whom they have had offshore territorial disputes (which they won). The Bahrain regime can’t even put down its own people’s uprising without foreign mercenaries and Saudi troops. The other Gulf GCC states are too far for any border disputes with Qatar. The Qataris share a huge offshore natural gas field with Iran, but they seem to get along with that. The Iranian mullahs, contrary to Saudi and some Western propaganda are not likely to storm across the Gulf and attack Qatar. Besides, they would have to deal with the huge American armada in the Persian Gulf before crossing the water. Not easy, going through the U.S. Navy.
Which brings me back to the Qatari border with Saudi Arabia.
Of course Gulf GCC countries often purchase expensive weapons that they could never use. They do that partly for the fat commissions (kickbacks) some of their influential potentates get. Or maybe they like having the most advanced weapons sit in their warehouses.
Or maybe in case they need their Panzers to liberate Syria from the Al Assad regime, single handed and without any help from NATO.