Qatar’s Increasingly Tenuous Alliance with Iran

Feb. 25 2019

Home to the largest U.S. air base in the region, Qatar now finds itself in conflict with its Gulf neighbors over its refusal to support their efforts to contain Iran—with which it shares the world’s largest natural-gas field—and its continued backing of the Muslim Brotherhood, which these countries have turned against. Jonathan Spyer examines the contradictory position in which Doha finds itself:

Qatar’s support for the Sunni political Islam of the Muslim Brotherhood does not make it an automatic fit for Iran, whose main support is among Shiite and minority communities and which promotes its own brand of Shiite political and revolutionary Islam. Common enmity toward Israel formed the basis of the strong relations, built up since the early 1990s, between Tehran and Hamas, which emerged from the Palestinian branch of the Brotherhood. But during the Arab Spring, the Brotherhood and Iran found themselves on separate sides, as the former, with Qatari financial aid and media support, sought to establish a rival, Sunni Islamist regional power bloc. This [tension] led, for example, to Iran and Qatar backing different sides in the Syrian civil war.

But now, with the Muslim Brotherhood significantly weakened on the regional level, the Syrian rebellion close to defeat, and Doha facing repercussions from its fellow Gulf Cooperation Council countries for its support of radicalism, Qatar has been moving over the last eighteen months sharply in the direction of closer relations with Teheran. . . .

Qatar’s regional strategy is based on precarious and contradictory foundations. The emirate suppresses Islamist activity within its own territory, while partnering with Islamist forces elsewhere—not because of a deep or genuine affiliation, but in order to inflate Qatari regional influence.

This approach is now creating major contradictions and problems for Qatar: specifically, as the U.S. seeks to build a regional response to Iranian aggression and hegemonic ambitions, Qatar finds itself in the untenable position of wishing neither to cooperate with the U.S., nor to ally with anti-U.S. regional forces. The contradictions and implausibility of this stance are currently manifesting themselves.

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Read more at Middle East Forum

More about: Arab Spring, Hamas, Iran, Middle East, Muslim Brotherhood, Politics & Current Affairs, Qatar, U.S. Foreign policy

 

The Palestinian Authority Deliberately Provoked Sunday’s Jerusalem Riots

Aug. 16 2019

On Sunday, Tisha b’Av—the traditional day of mourning for the destruction of the two Jerusalem Temples—coincided with the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. While the Israeli government had initially banned Jews from the Temple Mount on that day, it later reversed its decision and allowed a few dozen to visit. Muslim worshippers greeted them by throwing chairs and stones, and police had to quell the riot by force. Just yesterday, an Israeli policeman was stabbed nearby. Maurice Hirsch and Itamar Marcus place the blame for Sunday’s violence squarely on the shoulders of the Palestinian Authority:

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Read more at Palestinian Media Watch

More about: Palestinian Authority, Temple Mount, Tisha b'Av