US Defense Minister Miller visits Qatar and Bahrain over recent tensions

QATAR / BAHRAIN – Despite the upcoming handover of power and ministries to the new Democratic US government, acting US Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller made an unannounced visit to Bahrain and Qatar, in what is his first foreign visit since taking office.

On Wednesday, Miller visited the US Naval Base in Bahrain, and met with Samuel Paparo, Commander of the US Navy Fifth Fleet. The next day Miller to Qatar where he visited al-Udeid base, which hosts about 8,500 American soldiers, and met with the Qatari Minister of State for Defense Affairs, Khalid Attiyah.

Analysts believe that the visit came in order to resolve the dispute and tensions between Qatar and Bahrain, after the Qatari navy anchored two Bahraini coast guard boats in the Arabian Gulf. Qatar and Bahrain are considered essential US allies in the Middle East as they include some of the largest American bases on their soil.