Joe Roberts

Qatar’s blood-stained billions: Financing the machinery of terror

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The horror of the October 7th massacre in southern Israel is one the world will not soon forget. But as Hamas is rightly vilified for its monstrous acts, the eyes of those in positions of power must also turn to another player, lurking in the shadows of this macabre theater – their Qatari patrons.

Qatar’s masquerade as the peacemaker with extremist factions all over the Middle East and North Africa, while using its financial power to bankroll these very same agents of chaos, is not just double-dealing; it’s a masterclass in sheer audacity. For the US and its allies, the message must be clear: stop sponsoring terror, or face the wrath of a world that’s had enough.

Isn’t there a level of hypocrisy that while Qatar often plays the role of the world’s mediator with terrorist organizations, it simultaneously showers them with financial and material support? What kind of mediator actively funds one side of a conflict and can be impartial?

Perhaps the same kind that allows its state-run media, Al-Jazeera, to brazenly spew propaganda that undermines the very essence of global peace efforts. This state-owned enterprise, under the charade of objective journalism, is a propaganda machine designed to subvert US interests and whitewash the brutalities of terrorist outfits like Hamas. It is so effective in its misinformation that Secretary of State Anthony Blinken asked the Qataris to rein it in just weeks ago.

The tales of Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh, two of Hamas’ most prominent figures, lounging in the opulence of Doha while their compatriots face strife and devastation in Gaza, is a bitter testament to Qatar’s two-faced diplomacy. As suitcases brimming with Qatari cash find their way into the hands of terrorists, the anguished cries of a million displaced Palestinians, eking out an existence in squalor, fade into the background.

From the comfort of Doha, Hamas was busy planning violence reminiscent of the Islamic State, brutalizing thousands of Israeli civilians in a horrifying spectacle that must have taken even the Qataris aback.

Isn’t it a bit rich for Qatar to feign ignorance now? They knew precisely who Hamas was, and yet, instead of curbing their power or promoting peace, Qatar chose to feed the beast. For how long will the world turn a blind eye to these patrons of terror who have indicated they have no interest in changing their ways?

To say that Qatar’s dalliance with terror funding is a secret would be redundant. The country has been accused of directly or indirectly giving financial support to not only Hamas, but also Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusrat, and the Muslim Brotherhood. Not to mention serving as host to the Taliban, providing the organization with real estate for their political office in Doha.

Qatar’s dance with deadly ideologies isn’t a recent endeavor; it’s a legacy. The UAE and other Gulf States have been sounding the alarm for years, going so far as a years-long boycott by the Arab League which ended in 2021.

The time has come for us to act. How many more tragedies, like the one on October 7th, need to occur before the global community takes a stand?

The Qatari strategy is clear: throw around enough money, and the world will look the other way. But the massacre of October 7th has ripped the veil off this charade. The sheer nihilism of the violence, however, and Qatar’s role as benefactor, cannot be ignored.

The US, for all of Qatar’s strategic importance, has a decision to make. The Al Udeid Air Base, America’s military jewel in the desert (built, paid for, and maintained with Qatari cash), sits uncomfortably close to the very coffers that fund its enemies. It’s high time the US asks itself: is strategic convenience worth turning a blind eye to a state that funds the very forces the US finds too often itself combating? Is this the behavior of a major non-NATO ally? Decidedly not.

Qatar must be held accountable for its actions and the role it played in the October 7th massacre. The US must compel the Gulf State to expel the leaders of Hamas, staunch the flow of funds to extremist outfits, and demonstrably commit to regional peace and stability or risk losing their favored status in Washington – or worse.

If Qatar refuses to halt its support for extremist entities, it should face the consequences and be treated as an international outcast, just like its terror-funding counterpart, Iran.

Strategic alliances be damned; moral integrity demands that the US wield not just its soft power but its economic might. It’s time to downgrade relations, sanction them, and speak the only language that Qatar truly understands by freezing their sizeable assets in the United States.

In this high-stakes game of geopolitical chess, Qatar has long played the role of the kingpin, untouchable and sly. But every game has its end, and for Qatar, checkmate looms large. The White House must decide: will it be a pawn in Qatar’s grand design or take a stand against this den of deceit? The blood of October 7th cries out for an answer.

About the Author
Joe Roberts is a foreign policy analyst with a focus on MENA, a veteran political strategist in both the US and Canada, Board Chair of JSpaceCanada—the pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy voice of Canadian Jewry, and Chair of Meretz Canada. Roberts spent 10 years in executive positions in the Jewish Federation system across North America. He has completed studies at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, London School of Economics and Political Science, and the Harvard Kennedy School.
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