Qatar, a Major Sponsor of Terrorism, Shouldn’t Be a U.S. Ally

Feb. 22 2022

For years, Washington has maintained good relations with Doha, in part because this oil- and gas-rich emirate is home to a key U.S. air-force base. On February 1, President Biden officially designated Qatar a “major non-NATO ally.” Yigal Carmon, in an interview by Ariel Ben Solomon, argues against the decision:

The relationship between Qatar and the United States is bizarre, and makes no strategic sense. . . . For decades, Qatar has provided financial and political support, directly and indirectly, to virtually every anti-American Islamic terrorist organization. . . . Qatar funded the Taliban throughout America’s presence in Afghanistan, yet the American administration is eagerly thanking Qatar for its “help” in preventing an even greater disaster during the withdrawal last August.

If it weren’t for Qatar, the September 11 attacks might not have taken place. . . . In 1996, the terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammad [KSM] had been under Qatari protection in Doha. When the U.S. government notified the Qatari emir that they were coming to arrest KSM for his involvement in terrorist plots, KSM disappeared within hours, only to reappear in 2001 as the mastermind behind 9/11.

Then there is the matter of Al Jazeera, which is owned by the Qatari government and is one of the world’s greatest fomenters of anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism, and jihadism:

The Qatari-based channel has . . . aired calls for terror attacks against American oil installations. It even hosted a birthday party—complete with a large cake, fireworks, and a band—for the released terrorist Samir al-Kuntar, who brutally murdered a four-year-old [Israeli] girl and her father in 1979.

The lesson, says Carmon, is that “crime pays.”

Read more at JNS

More about: Al Qaeda, Qatar, Terrorism, U.S. Foreign policy

Russia’s Alliance with Hizballah Is Growing Stronger

Tehran’s ongoing cooperation with Moscow has recently garnered public attention because of the Kremlin’s use of Iranian arms against Ukraine, but it extends much further, including to the Islamic Republic’s Lebanese proxy, Hizballah. Aurora Ortega and Matthew Levitt explain:

Over the last few years, Russia has quietly extended its reach into Lebanon, seeking to cultivate cultural, economic, and military ties in Beirut as part of a strategy to expand Russian influence in the Middle East, while sidelining the U.S. and elevating Moscow’s role as a peacemaker.

Russia’s alliance with Hizballah was born out of the conflict in Syria, where Russian and Hizballah forces fought side-by-side in an alliance with the Assad regime. For years, this alliance appeared strictly limited to military activity in Syria, but in 2018, Hizballah and Russia began to engage in unprecedented joint sanctions-evasion activities. . . . In November 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury exposed a convoluted trade-based oil-smuggling sanctions-evasion scheme directed by Hizballah and [Iran].

The enhanced level of collaboration between Russia and Hizballah is not limited to sanctions evasion. In March 2021, Hizballah sent a delegation to Moscow, on its second-ever “diplomatic” visit to the country. Unlike its first visit a decade prior, which was enveloped in secrecy with no media exposure, this visit was well publicized. During their three days in Moscow, Hizballah representatives met with various Russian officials, including the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. . . . Just three months after this visit to Moscow, Hizballah received the Russian ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Rudakov in Beirut to discuss further collaboration on joint projects.

Read more at Royal United Services Institute

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Lebanon, Russia