OpEdNews Op Eds

Qatar and U.S.: Collusion or Conflict of Interests

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It


Become a Fan
  (4 fans)
- Advertisement -

By Nicola Nasser**

In his inaugural address on January 21, U.S. President Barak Obama made the historic announcement that "a decade of war is ending" and declared his country's determination to "show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully," but his message will remain words that have yet to be translated into deeds and has yet to reach some of the U.S. closest allies in the Middle East who are still beating the drums of war, like Israel against Iran and Qatar against Syria.

In view of the level of "coordination" and "cooperation" since bilateral diplomatic relations were established in 1972 between the U.S. and Qatar, and the concentration of U.S. military power on this tiny peninsula, it seems impossible that Qatar could move independently apart, in parallel with, away or on a collision course with the U.S. strategic and regional plans.

According to the US State department's online fact sheet, "bilateral relations are strong," both countries are "coordinating" diplomatically and "cooperating" on regional security, have a "defense pact," "Qatar hosts CENTCOM Forward Headquarters," and supports NATO and U.S. regional "military operations. Qatar is also an active participant in the U.S. -- led efforts to set up an integrated missile defense network in the Gulf region. Moreover, it hosts the U.S. Combined Air Operations Center and three American military bases namely Al Udeid Air Base , Assaliyah Army Base and Doha International Air Base , which are manned by approximately 5,000 U.S. forces.

Qatar , which is bound by such a most intimate and closest alliance with the United States, has recently developed into the major sponsor of Islamist political movements. Qatar appears now to be the major sponsor of the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, which, reportedly, disbanded in Qatar in 1999 because it stopped to view the ruling family as an adversary.

The Qatar --Brotherhood marriage of convenience has created the natural incubator of Islamist armed fundamentalists against whom the U.S., since September 11, 2001, has been leading what is labeled as the "global war on terrorism."

The war in the African nation Mali offers the latest example on how the U.S. and Qatar, seemingly, go on two separate ways. Whereas US Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, was in London on January 18 "commending" the French "leadership of the international effort" in Mali to which his country was pledging logistical, transportation and intelligence support, Qatar appeared to risk its special ties with France, which peaked during the NATO -- led war on Libya, and to distrust the U.S. and French judgment.

On January 15, Qatari Prime and Foreign Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, told reporters he did not believe "power will solve the problem," advised instead that this problem be "discussed" among the "neighboring countries, the African Union and the (U.N.) Security Council," and joined the Doha -- based ideologue for the Muslim Brotherhood and their Qatari sponsors, Yusuf Abdullah al -- Qaradawi -- the head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars who was refused entry visa to U.K. in 2008 and to France last year -- in calling for "dialogue," "reconciliation" and "peaceful solution" instead of "military intervention."

- Advertisement -

In a relatively older example, according to WikiLeaks, Somalia's former president in 2009, Sharif Ahmed, told a U.S. diplomat that Qatar was channeling financial assistance to the al-Qaeda -- linked Shabab al-Mujahideen, which the U.S. listed as "terrorist."

In Syria, for another example, the Brotherhood is the leading "fighting" force against the ruling regime and in alliance with and a culprit in the atrocities of the terrorist bombings of the al-Qaeda -- linked Al-Nusra Front, designated by the United States as a terrorist organization last December; while the Brotherhood -- led and U.S. and Qatar -- sponsored Syrian opposition publicly protested the U.S. designation, the silence of Qatar on the matter could only be interpreted as in support of the protest against the U.S. decision.

Recently, Qatar has, for another example, replaced Syria, which has been on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism since 1979, as the sponsor of Hamas, whose leadership relocated from Damascus to Doha, which the U.S. lists as a "terrorist" group, and which publicly admits being the Palestinian branch of the Brotherhood.

Qatar, in all these examples, seems positioning itself to be qualified as a mediator, with the U.S. blessing, trying to achieve by the country's financial leverage what the U.S. could not achieve militarily, or could achieve but with a much more expensive cost in money and souls.

In the Mali case, the Qatari PM Sheikh Hamad went on record to declare this ambition: "We will be a part of the solution, (but) not the sole mediator," he said. The U.S. blessing could not be more explicit than President Obama's approval of opening the Afghani Taliban office in Doha "to facilitate" a "negotiated peace in Afghanistan," according to the Qatari Foreign Ministry on January 16.

- Advertisement -

However, a unilateral Qatari mediation failed in Yemen, a Qatar -- led Arab mediation in Syria has similarly proved a failure two years on the Syrian crisis, the "Doha Declaration" to reconcile Palestinian rival factions is still a paper achievement, the Qatari mediation in Sudan's Darfur crisis has yet to deliver, the Qatari "mediation" in Libya was condemned as intervention in the country's internal affairs by the most prominent among the post -- Gaddafi leaders, and in post -- "Arab Spring" Egypt Qatar dropped its early mediation efforts to align itself publicly to the ruling Brotherhood. But in spite of these failures, Qatar's "mediation" efforts were successful in serving the strategy of its U.S. "ally."

Hence the U.S. blessing. The Soufan Group's intelligence analysts on last December 10 concluded that " Qatar continues to prove itself to be a pivotal U.S. ally, " Qatar is often able to implement shared U.S.-Qatari objectives that Washington is unable or unwilling to undertake itself."

The first term Obama administration, under the pressure of "fiscal austerity," blessed the Qatari funding of arming anti -- Gaddafi Islamists in Libya, closed its eyes to Qatar's shipment of Gaddafi's military arsenal to Syrian and non -- Syrian Islamists fighting the regime in Syria, "understood" the visit of Qatar's Emir to Gaza last October as "a humanitarian mission," and recently approved to arm the Qatar -- backed and Brotherhood -- led Egypt with 20 F-16 fighter jets and 200 M1A1 Abrams tanks.

Next Page  1  |  2


*Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist in Kuwait, Jordan, UAE and Palestine. He is based in Ramallah, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -
Google Content Matches:

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The endgame of the US 'Islamic State' strategy

U.S. opens up to Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, Syria, and Iran

Syria, Egypt Reveal Erdogan's "Hidden Agenda'

Israeli Factor in Syrian Conflict Unveiled

A Peace Process That Makes Peace Impossible

Fighting 'Islamic State' is not the Israeli priority


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
No comments