Times of Israel, Jan. 13, 2024
“Qatar is a story of American negligence that has brought terrorism to America itself and to the rest of the world.”
The tiny petrostate of Qatar has been making daily headlines since October 7 for its role as a mediator in the conflict between Hamas and Israel, with negotiations resulting in the release of over 100 of the about 240 hostages taken by the terror group in its onslaught.
As the intelligence community has attempted to figure out how the horrific attack of October 7 could have been plotted under Israel’s nose, the oil- and gas-rich Gulf monarchy has also come under increasing scrutiny as one of the most prominent sponsors of Hamas.
While Qatar has harbored top Hamas leaders in luxury hotels in the capital Doha and contributed billions of dollars to maintain the terror group in power in Gaza, it is increasingly also seen as a player punching above its weight on the diplomatic scene, including in negotiations for the return of Ukrainian children from Russia.
Today, “Doha has become an influential player. It’s the go-to mediator for the big powers, mainly in the West,” said Ariel Admoni, a Qatar expert and a doctoral student at Bar-Ilan University. “It has facilitated talks between Washington and Tehran before October 7, and recently mediated between the US and Venezuela.”
Qatar — unlike “rogue state” Iran, which has armed, trained and bankrolled Hamas — is fully integrated into the Western capitalist system. Since the mid-1990s it has used its fabulous wealth to acquire recognition and prestige, for example by hosting the World Cup in 2022, an event marred by graft allegations.
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