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

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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.

 

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.

 

This contradiction raises the question about whether this is a U.S. - Qatari mutual collusion or it is really a conflict of interests; the Obama administration during his second term has to draw the line which would give an explicit answer.

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*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.
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