According to a leaked report from a Western intelligence agency, Qatar had prior knowledge of Iran’s May 12 attack on Saudi, Norwegian, and United Arab Emirates ships in the Persian Gulf, and kept the information to itself. The incident puts into high relief a longstanding problem: that Doha maintains good relations with the West, and is home to a major U.S. airbase, but simultaneously remains on friendly terms with Iran and is a major supporter of Hamas and other Islamist groups. Julie Lenarz comments:
The latest development . . . is of a different nature [from the other forms of bad behavior]. It raises the prospect of Qatar’s having had specific, prior knowledge of an imminent attack against Western and allied forces that threatened the safety of innocent sailors, and doing nothing about it. . . . Qatar’s failing to warn international allies suggests the mullahs now have a complicit partner, or at least a nation that won’t stand in their way.
It also fits with Doha’s wider duplicitous approach to diplomacy: professing to fight terrorism while funding and protecting extremists; seeking to improve relations with the global Jewish community while financing an explicitly anti-Semitic Al Jazeera documentary about the “Israel lobby”; pursuing close relations with America while cozying up to Tehran.
Doha has come down to the belief that their support for designated terrorist organizations and tyrannical regimes does not appear to be hindering its flourishing relationship with the West. . . . However, almost all European governments have dismissed those concerns. . . . One hopes that the revelation that Qatar has been silently complicit in Iranian attacks against Western and allied assets will wake some governments up. The evidence is there for all to see.