This contradiction raises the question about whether this
Seemingly nowadays, Doha and Washington do not see eye to eye on Islamic and Islamist movements, but on the battle grounds of the "war on terror" both capitals could hardly argue that in practice their active roles are not coordinated and do not complement each other.
Drawing on the historical experience of an Iranian similar "religious" approach, but on a rival "Shiite" sectarian basis, this Qatari "Sunni" Islamist" connection will inevitably fuel sectarian polarization in the region, regional instability, violence and civil wars.
Given the U.S. -- Qatar alliance, the Qatari Islamist connection threatens to embroil the U.S. in more regional strife, or at least to hold the U.S. responsible for the resulting strife, and would sustain a deep -- seated regional anti -- Americanism, which in turn has become another incubator of extremism and terrorism and which is exacerbated by the past "decade of war," which President Obama in his inaugural address promised to "end."
Traditionally, Qatar, which stands in the eye of the storm in the very critical geopolitical volatile Gulf region, the theatre of three major wars during the last three decades, did its best to maintain a critical and fragile balance between the two major powers which determine its survival, namely the decades -- old U.S. military presence in the Gulf and the rising regional power of Iran.
In 1992 it signed a comprehensive bilateral defense pact with the United States and in 2010 it signed a military defense agreement with Iran, which explains its warming up to closer ties with the Iran -- supported Islamic anti -- Israel resistance movements of the Hezbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Israeli -- occupied Palestinian territories and explains as well Qatar's "honey moon" with Iran's ally in Syria.
However, since the eruption of the bloody Syrian crisis two years ago, the Qatari opening up to regional pro -- Iran state and non-state powers was exposed as merely a tactical maneuver to lure such powers away from Iran. In the Syrian and Hezbullah cases, the failure of this tactic has led Qatar to embark on a collision course with both Syria and Iran, which are backed by Russia and China, and is leading the country to a U-turn shift away from its long maintained regional balancing act, a shift that Doha seems unaware of its threat to its very survival under the pressure of the international and regional conflicting interests as bloodily exposed in the Syrian crisis.
During the rise of the massive Pan-Arab, nationalist, socialist and democratic movements in the Arab world early in the second half of the twentieth century, the conservative authoritarian Arab monarchies adopted the Brotherhood, other Islamists and Islamic political ideology and used them against those movements to survive as allies of the United States, which in turn used both, spearheaded by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, against the former Soviet Union and the communist ideology, to their detriment after the collapse of the bipolar world order.
However history seems to repeat itself as the U.S. -- backed Arab monarchies, spearheaded by Qatar, are resorting to their old tactic of exploiting the Islamist ideology to undermine and preempt an Arab anti -- authoritarian revolution for the rule of law, civil society, democratic institutions and social and economic justice in Arab countries on the periphery of their U.S. protected bastion in the Arabian peninsula, but they seem unaware they are opening a Pandora's box that would unleash a backlash in comparison to which al -- Qaeda's fall back on the U.S. will prove a minor precedent.
* Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Bir Zeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.