The Emir of Qatar’s Dissimulation about the Muslim Brotherhood

For years, Qatar has used its vast fossil-fuel wealth to fund Islamist groups throughout the Middle East and beyond, especially those affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood—including Hamas. This policy, together with Doha’s maintenance of friendly relations with Tehran, has repeatedly stirred the ire of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. Yet in a recent interview with a French magazine, the country’s ruler, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, flatly denied any relationship between his government and the Brotherhood, adding that “there are no active members of the Muslim Brotherhood, or any groups related to it, on Qatari land.” Alberto M. Fernandez comments:

One thing I learned from decades of government service is that there are many ways for government officials—all of them, including Western ones—to lie that skirt outright falsehood in some technical fashion while covering up an inconvenient reality. . . . It may well be that Sheikh Tamim is absolutely right that at the precise moment of his remarks there were no card-carrying Muslim Brotherhood members being hosted in Doha, no one who was waiting on a check or a bag of money from Qatar, or whose work was being facilitated in some way by the Qatari state.

The remarks [ignore the fact that] the two Muslim Brotherhood-type governments in the world, the ones in power in Ankara and Gaza, very much do receive billions in Qatari support. [There is also] another Qatari favorite, the Islamist Nahda party of Tunisia, which held power until recently in that country.

Tamim’s remarks also [require] a carve-out for his mentor Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a longtime Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader but for many years now a Qatari citizen and connected to Islamist organizations created for him and funded by Qatar. . . . And while the Al Jazeera Arabic television network funded by Qatar and based in Doha is chock-full of Islamists, who is to say whether or not they are “active” Brotherhood members, perhaps just inactive ones who think exactly like them?

Interestingly, one place where it seems you did not see the emir’s words about the Muslim Brotherhood highlighted was in Al Jazeera itself. An Arabic-language news article on the . . . interview in Al Jazeera was headlined “Emir of Qatar: Doha’s Foreign Policy Aims at Bringing Views Closer Together.” The article included no mention whatsoever of Tamim’s remarks [about the Brotherhood].

Read more at MEMRI

More about: Al Jazeera, Hamas, Islamism, Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar

What Israel Can Achieve in Gaza, the Fate of the Hostages, and Planning for the Day After

In a comprehensive analysis, Azar Gat concludes that Israel’s prosecution of the war has so far been successful, and preferable to the alternatives proposed by some knowledgeable critics. (For a different view, see this article by Lazar Berman.) But even if the IDF is coming closer to destroying Hamas, is it any closer to freeing the remaining hostages? Gat writes:

Hamas’s basic demand in return for the release of all the hostages—made clear well before it was declared publicly—is an end to the war and not a ceasefire. This includes the withdrawal of the IDF from the Gaza Strip, restoration of Hamas’s control over it (including international guarantees), and a prisoner exchange on the basis of “all for all.”

Some will say that there must be a middle ground between Hamas’s demands and what Israel can accept. However, Hamas’s main interest is to ensure its survival and continued rule, and it will not let go of its key bargaining chip. Some say that without the return of the hostages—“at any price”—no victory is possible. While this sentiment is understandable, the alternative would be a resounding national defeat. The utmost efforts must be made to rescue as many hostages as possible, and Israel should be ready to pay a heavy price for this goal; but Israel’s capitulation is not an option.

Beyond the great cost in human life that Israel will pay over time for such a deal, Hamas will return to rule the Gaza Strip, repairing its infrastructure of tunnels and rockets, filling its ranks with new recruits, and restoring its defensive and offensive arrays. This poses a critical question for those suggesting that it will be possible to restart the war at a later stage: have they fully considered the human toll should the IDF attempt to reoccupy the areas it would have vacated in the Gaza Strip?

Although Gat is sanguine about the prospects of the current campaign, he throws some cold water on those who hope for an absolute victory:

Militarily, it is possible to destroy Hamas’s command, military units, and infrastructure as a semi-regular military organization. . . . After their destruction in high-intensity fighting, the IDF must prevent Hamas from reviving by continuous action on the ground. As in the West Bank, this project will take years. . . . What the IDF is unlikely to achieve is the elimination of Hamas as a guerrilla force.

Lastly, Gat has some wise words about what will happen to Gaza after the war ends, a subject that has been getting renewed attention since Benjamin Netanyahu presented an outline of a plan to the war cabinet on Thursday. Gat argues that, contrary to the view of the American and European foreign-policy elite, there is no political solution for Gaza. After all, Gaza is in the Middle East, where “there are no solutions, . . . only bad options and options that are much worse.”

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, Israeli Security