Why Qatar Is a Problematic Ally

On September 14, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his Qatari counterpart met and signed an agreement on cultural exchange, followed by an official statement from Foggy Bottom about “shared ideas of tolerance.” Since then, there have also been reports that the U.S. is considering awarding the peninsular monarchy the status of a major non-NATO ally, and even that Doha will be next in line to normalize its relations with Israel. The fact remains, however, that the Qatari educational system is rife with anti-Semitic indoctrination. Moreover, argues Efraim Inbar, it would be strategically foolish for Washington to reward Qatar with upgraded relations:

American consideration of [major-ally] status for Qatar probably also reflects . . . the desire to sell arms to one of the richest countries in the world. But this privileges domestic considerations over longer-term foreign-policy considerations, namely the importance of bolstering allies against foes.

Qatar spends enormous amounts of money in systematic support for the nefarious activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and its branches all over the world. The Muslim Brotherhood is an anti-Western and anti-democratic organization. Qatar also funds numerous jihadist groups, and many Qatari citizens have been convicted of regional terrorist activities. Qatar also uses its influential Al Jazeera television network to undermine the stability of its pro-Western Arab neighbors.

Seeking short-term stability, Israel has allowed Qatar regularly to provide funds to sustain Hamas rule in Gaza. Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization intent on destroying Israel. (This Israeli policy is short-sighted and foolish.)

There are [also] indications that radical Sunnis [like Qatar and its allies] are moving closer to the radical Shiites led by Iran. Qatar has been cozying up to Iran for quite some time. . . . Therefore, one has to be concerned that U.S. weapons sold to Qatar might be made available to Iran, thereby threatening American troops in the area.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Al Jazeera, Anti-Semitism, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar, U.S. Foreign policy

Why the White House’s Plan to Prevent an Israel-Hizballah War Won’t Work

On Monday, Hizballah downed an Israeli drone, leading the IDF to retaliate with airstrikes that killed one of the terrorist group’s commanders in southern Lebanon, and two more of its members in the northeast. The latter strike marks an escalation by the IDF, which normally confines its activities to the southern part of the country. Hizballah responded by firing two barrages of rockets into northern Israel on Tuesday, while Hamas operatives in Lebanon fired another barrage yesterday.

According to the Iran-backed militia, 219 of its fighters have been killed since October; six Israeli civilians and ten soldiers have lost their lives in the north. The Biden administration has meanwhile been involved in ongoing negotiations to prevent these skirmishes from turning into an all-out war. The administration’s plan, however, requires carrots for Hizballah in exchange for unenforceable guarantees, as Richard Goldberg explains:

Israel and Hizballah last went to war in 2006. That summer, Hizballah crossed the border, killed three Israeli soldiers, and kidnapped two others. Israel responded with furious airstrikes, a naval blockade, and eventually a ground operation that met stiff resistance and mixed results. A UN-endorsed ceasefire went into effect after 34 days of war, accompanied by a Security Council Resolution that ordered the UN Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to assist the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in disarming Hizballah in southern Lebanon—from the Israeli border up to the Litani River, some 30 kilometers away.

Despite billions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer support over the last seventeen years, the LAF made no requests to UNIFIL, which then never disarmed Hizballah. Instead, Iran accelerated delivering weapons to the terrorist group—building up its forces to a threat level that dwarfs the one Israel faced in 2006. The politics of Lebanon shifted over time as well, with Hizballah taking effective control of the Lebanese government and exerting its influence (and sometimes even control) over the LAF and its U.S.-funded systems.

Now the U.S. is offering Lebanon an economic bailout in exchange for a promise to keep Hizballah forces from coming within a mere ten kilometers of the border, essentially abrogating the Security Council resolution. Goldberg continues:

Who would be responsible for keeping the peace? The LAF and UNIFIL—the same pair that has spent seventeen years helping Hizballah become the threat it is today. That would guarantee that Hizballah’s commitments will never be verified or enforced.

It’s a win-win for [Hizballah’s chief Hassan] Nasrallah. Many of his fighters live and keep their missiles hidden within ten kilometers of Israel’s border. They will blend into the civilian population without any mechanism to force their departure. And even if the U.S. or France could verify a movement of weapons to the north, Nasrallah’s arsenal is more than capable of terrorizing Israeli cities from ten kilometers away. Meanwhile, a bailout of Lebanon will increase Hizballah’s popularity—demonstrating its tactics against Israel work.

Read more at The Dispatch

More about: Hizballah, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden