The defence deal between Doha and Washington this week signals the Qatari emir’s desire to build his country’s small military into a force capable of playing a role in regional multinational missions, analysts say.

The two sides agreed to an US$11 billion (Dh40.4bn) deal for Patriot missile defence systems, Apache attack helicopters and Javelin anti-tank missiles on Monday.

Qatar, whose 11,800-member force make is the second smallest army in the Middle East, ahead of Bahrain, has relied on the presence of a major US airbase near Doha, which co-ordinates US operations across the region, for protection and deterrence against adversaries such as Iran. […]