The U.S. Just Granted Qatar Another Undeserved Concession

January 23, 2024 | Yigal Carmon
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Earlier this year, CNN reported that the U.S. has reached an agreement for CENTCOM (the Pentagon’s Middle Eastern command) to continue using the Al Udeid airbase outside of Doha for the next ten years. Yigal Carmon documents Qatar’s support of Hamas and several other terrorist groups and explains why Washington should start using its leverage on this small authoritarian country, instead of letting it use the airbase as a source of leverage over the U.S.

The Qataris, realizing that their very existence is threatened if the U.S. relocates its CENTCOM operations to the UAE or Saudi Arabia, hastened to nail down the U.S. for another decade in Qatar. This happened despite Qatar’s support of both Sunni and Shiite terrorist organizations worldwide, and despite its open alliance with Iran, including joint Qatari naval training with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. And the fact that it is standing with the Houthis, with whom the U.S. is currently engaged in military conflict to ensure free passage of shipping in the Red Sea.

Without CENTCOM in Qatar, the ruling family will be unable to continue ruling Qatar. Yet it seems like the U.S. did not demand that Qatar reverse its policies of sponsoring terrorism—let alone demand the release of American hostages held by its proxy Hamas in Gaza, after it killed 32 U.S. nationals on October 7.

Yet, argues Carmon, Israel need not be beholden to America’s mistakes:

The surest and fastest way to bring about the release of American and Israeli hostages held in Gaza is by massively pressuring Qatar, the way Israel is acting against Iran, rather than appealing to it. Once Qatar realizes that its own existence is at stake, it will exert maximum pressure on Hamas to release the hostages.

For Hamas, Qatar is its lifeline. It is the hope, the future, and the continuation of the fight to eradicate Israel and to kill all the Jews, as set out in its charter. Once Hamas realizes that Qatar can no longer assist it, it will have no choice but to comply with Qatar’s demands. Hamas has no friends or allies in the Arab and Muslim world, with the exception of Iran and its proxies.

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