OpinionMiddle East

Qatar is the Trojan horse in Washington, DC

Qatar is providing a service to Russia, China and Iran: ongoing instability directed against America. Will the administration ever realize this?

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken with Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Doha, Qatar on Feb. 6, 2024. Credit: Chuck Kennedy/U.S. State Department.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken with Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Doha, Qatar on Feb. 6, 2024. Credit: Chuck Kennedy/U.S. State Department.
Yigal Carmon. Credit: MEMRI.
Yigal Carmon

Qatar has failed U.S. President Joe Biden again: Hamas’s answer to a proposed hostage-release deal was—as the immediate reactions from the president and Secretary of State Antony Blinken showed—”over the top” and an “absolute non-starter,” respectively. This happened because Qatar was not pressuring Hamas. The Gulf state sees itself as a mere go-between. Qatar isn’t pressuring Hamas despite the fact that in reality, Qatar is the lifeline of Hamas—its hope, its future, its power to continue to fight and to hold the hostages.

Qatar built Hamas from a small organization into a military and political power. It took pride in its training of “Hamas security officials.”

Attempting to justify its pro-terrorist policy, Qatar said that it was the Americans who had asked it to maintain lines of communication with Hamas. However, Qatar did something different, and above and beyond what it was asked: It opened an office and headquarters in Doha for Hamas, and gave Hamas leaders safe haven in the country.

Without Qatar, Hamas is doomed. But why should Qatar pressure Hamas? The Biden administration is happy with it anyway.

Biden needs a political victory for his re-election: One such victory would be to finish the war with a peace process that begins with a new hostage release deal and allows for Biden’s plan to take off with the participation of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

This is the plan that The New York Times’ Thomas L. Friedman and The Washington Post’s David Ignatius are promoting. However, the administration and veteran journalists such as Friedman and Ignatius all seem oblivious to the fact that this formula cannot work with Qatar as the pillar of American foreign policy and presence in the Middle East.

The administration is even ignoring the violations of U.S. law by Qatar, which hired a former CIA official, Kevin Chalker, to spy on U.S. lawmakers Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) and Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), former chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, due to their opposition to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The administration believes that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt will join in a process in which Qatar is the leader. This will never happen. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are Qatar’s sworn adversaries. In 2017, they declared a full boycott of Qatar in an attempt to stop its pro-Iran and pro-terror policies. America saved Qatar from that boycott.

Qatar is the ticking bomb that will blow up any peace process because it stands for Hamas. In fact, it is part of another bloc—the anti-U.S. bloc comprising Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, Iran, Russia and China (even on the issue of Taiwan, Qatar sides with China).

How can Qatar be regarded as a non-NATO U.S. ally with its record of supporting terrorist Islamic organizations and movements?

The other bloc—Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt and Israel—does not even know it constitutes a bloc. Frustrated by America’s alliance with Qatar and its building of its policy with it—Saudi Arabia and the UAE are gradually moving toward the anti-American bloc, BRICS, which includes Russia and China. Why would Saudi Arabia and the UAE stand by America when America is repeatedly betraying them?

Qatar is the ticking bomb in Biden’s hands. And even though his election campaign is focusing on other matters, the Israel-Hamas war and its regional repercussions are a major issue that can contribute significantly to either success or failure. Continued reliance on Qatar could tip the scale towards failure.

This is not a political assessment. It is a Middle East studies assessment, and it is built on the Middle East Media Research Institute’s work over 25 years. Qatar is the Wahhabi sponsor of all Islamist terrorist organizations and movements, and of the Muslim Brotherhood, in particular.

Surely, Biden and Blinken have heard this in private from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt.

Biden can ask Richard Clarke, a counterterrorism adviser to former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush, who revealed Qatar’s role with regard to 9/11 through its hiding of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad (KSM), the future mastermind of those attacks, in Doha in 1996. When the FBI came to arrest him and told only the Emir, KSM disappeared within hours.

He can ask David Cohen, the former U.S. Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, who said that financiers of terrorism are in Qatar and ask also the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), whose records show that Qatar is financing Islamist terrorism.

He can ask Egypt, where Qatar’s tool of foreign policy, its Al-Jazeera network, brought down President Hosni Mubarak, to be replaced by the Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi.

He can look at who Qatar stands with in Libya (the Islamist side). He can see who Qatar stands with in Tunisia (Tunisia’s Muslim Brotherhood-linked Ennahda Movement). He can check where Qatar stands in Sudan (on the side of the pro-Muslim Brotherhood general). He surely remembers who stood by the Taliban in 2021—Qatar, up to the very day in August 2021 when the Taliban took over Afghanistan and brought down the regime of the democratically elected non-Islamist President Ashraf Ghani, and also killed 13 U.S. soldiers. Even Islamist militias in northern Mali are supported by Qatar.

It is mind-boggling that the U.S. administration is ignoring Qatar’s record of criminal support for Islamist movements and terrorist organizations. How can it possibly consider Qatar an ally?

The only one that Biden should not ask about Qatar is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who shrewdly allowed Qatar to build Hamas with billions of dollars over a decade. He did this to allow the growth of a power that would counter the P.A. so that he himself would not need to negotiate with it.

Netanyahu said as much in his speeches to his own party: “Whoever objects to the creation of a Palestinian state should support the funneling of money from Qatar to Hamas.” He violated Israeli and international anti-terrorism laws by allowing the money from Qatar, a state sponsor of terrorism, to reach Hamas, recognized as a terrorist organization across the West—thereby transforming this violation into a policy—until it exploded in his face.

Indeed, Netanyahu is now fighting Hamas—but until Oct. 7, he was in a semi-alliance with Hamas via Qatar, allowing the Qatari billions to flow to Hamas and deluding himself that he was buying off Hamas’s leaders and creating a political arrangement (hasdara in Hebrew) with them.

This myth about an arrangement with Hamas (hasdara) came from the prime minister. Current Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Herzi Halevy, at the time commander of IDF Southern Command, went to Qatar with Mossad director Yossi Cohen to ask for more money for the entity that was to kill his soldiers. Little did Halevy realize the consequences of what he was doing.

The entire Israeli administration, political and military, bought into this delusion, that today is called “the conception,” and it came from the prime minister on down. That is, until it ended on Oct. 7, 2023. (MEMRI documented this alliance and attacked it in many articles. I personally wrote a piece warning of “The bloody wedding of Netanyahu and Qatar,” and in another piece, published Aug. 31, 2023, I issued an early warning about the war coming in September or October.)

By keeping Qatar as a player, Netanyahu is deceiving the Biden administration and blowing up its hopes for a peace process, as well as the minimal hope for another hostage deal. Netanyahu is fighting Hamas but allowing the absolutely necessary humanitarian aid to be seized by Hamas operatives.

President Biden will fail, not because of Netanyahu but because of Qatar, which is retaining Hamas as a player for the future as well. Because no Israeli will agree to any peace plan with Hamas, whether officially or unofficially, even if and when Netanyahu is replaced as prime minister.

Many think that the United States is giving Qatar this major role because CENTCOM is based there, and that if Qatar is pressured, CENTCOM’s freedom to operate will be impacted. This is not true. CENTCOM is totally independent, and all it would take is for the U.S. to hint that it has other potential locations for CENTCOM in order to scare the Qataris into really helping the United States—which until now they have been betraying. The U.S. should have applied such pressure at least to save the American hostages—after 32 Americans were killed on Oct. 7 by the Hamas-Qatar alliance.

Without stripping Qatar of any ability to play a role in the crisis in the Middle East, the war will not end anytime soon, and Islamist terrorism will continue to flourish in the West even more than in the Middle East. Moreover, Qatar’s continued involvement in Middle East politics will raise the chances of turning the Gaza war into a regional war. And there will be no “day after.”

This is the service that Qatar is providing to Russia, China and Iran: ongoing instability directed against America.

Qatar is the Trojan horse in the U.S. administration. It is winning the global battle for Russia, China and Iran. Will the administration ever realize this?

Originally published by The Middle East Media Research Institute.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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