The U.S. Must Pressure Qatar to Free the Hostages

Along with Iran, Qatar is a major backer of Hamas, but, unlike Iran, it is an American ally apt susceptible to diplomatic pressure from Washington. Yigal Carmon examines the problem, and notes that Doha’s support for terror goes far beyond Gaza:

The story of Afghanistan is the most telling. For years, Qatar had funded the Taliban, all the way up to its takeover of Kabul in August 2021, which involved the killing of thirteen U.S. military personnel—only to be praised by the U.S. administration for its help in transferring Americans from Afghanistan to Qatar, after Qatar was responsible for the entire tragedy.

With regard to Israel, it is a double tragedy. For over a decade, Qatar funded Hamas in Gaza. For over a decade, and throughout the wars—culminating in the current one—Qatar supported Hamas’s buildup of its military force.

The U.S.’s pleading with Qatar to obtain the release of the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, instead of pressuring it to do so, shows that the U.S. government does not realize that only massive pressure on Qatar could most quickly bring the American and other hostages home.

Just one comment by the U.S. administration that it is considering relocating its Al Udeid Air Base from Qatar (without which Qatar would cease to exist within a week) to the UAE will set the Qataris running to bring all the American hostages back home.

Read more at MEMRI

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Qatar, Taliban, U.S. Foreign policy

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security