Behind Qatar’s World Cup, The Hidden Shame of US Bases

December 15th, 2022 - by The Institute for Public Advocacy

After the World Cup, the US Isn’t Leaving Qatar

The Institute for Public Advocacy

(December 14, 2022) — With all the outrage over Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup given the ruling regime’s human rights record, few have asked why the US government has been such a supporter of that very regime for decades.

When World Cup teams, fans, and journalists go home, the United States won’t be leaving: at least two US military bases and thousands of US troops and foreign contractors will remain in the country.

The issue of US bases and troops in Qatar and US support for the Qatari government has been supremely overlooked during reporting on the World Cup. If this is a World Cup ‘soaked in blood,’ as many have said, what does it mean that the US government has been one of the Qatari government’s biggest backers for decades?

The presence of US bases in Qatar means the US government and US taxpayers have been supporting and helping prop up the Qatari regime, including its undemocratic rule and human rights abuses including its systematic labor exploitation and discrimination against LGBTQ people.

US bases in Qatar are an outrage. They should be closed and US troops should come home.

With all the attention to labor conditions and the deaths of thousands of foreign workers during the construction of World Cup stadiums and other infrastructure, few have asked who built US bases in Qatar. And who is working on these bases now?”

The US Government appears to be supporting similarly appalling labor conditions as foreign workers face elsewhere in Qatar. A recent Washington Post exposé showed that some workers at Al Udeid Air Force Base make as little as $1.52 to $3.70 an hour.

Current and former workers report being effectively trapped in their jobs and required to obtain release letters from their employers to move to another job or to leave the country for medical treatment.

US bases in Qatar helped launch and wage the catastrophic US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, while also participating in disastrous US and Qatari-backed wars in Libya and Yemen. These wars likely have resulted in millions killed and tens of millions injured and displaced.”

In addition to Qatar, US bases can be found in at least 37 more “non-democratic countries and colonies,” according to a report Vine helped co-author, “Drawdown: Improving US and Global Security Through Military Base Closures Abroad.”

Vine added: “In total, the US government maintains an estimated 750 bases outside the 50 states and Washington, DC, which is at least three times as many overseas bases as every other country combined.”

David Vine is a professor at the American University in Washington, D.C. His books includeBase Nation: How US Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World.”

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