Why Qatar Is a Problematic Ally

Sept. 29 2020

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

The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy