What does it mean if Qatar is a “major non-NATO ally”? And did Qatar really get such a prestigious promotion in its relationship with the United States?
The US State Department defines a major non-NATO ally as “a powerful symbol of the close relationship that the United States shares with those countries and demonstrates our deepest respect for the friendship with the countries to which it extends.”
Many American writers have denounced the action of the President of the United States and his classification of Qatar as a major non-NATO ally. This classification is not merely political rhetoric; it gives Qatar many important political and military privileges, some of which include the ability to purchase depleted uranium ammunition, to purchase surplus military equipment at a reduced price, the opportunity for joint military training, and more.
“The relationship between Qatar and the United States is strange and has no strategic meaning because of Qatar’s extensive history of supporting terrorism and extremism,” said Yigal Carmon, founder and president of the Middle East Media Research Institute. Qatar supported the list of anti-U.S. terrorist groups including Al-Qaeda, Hamas and ISIS, to name but a few.
In his book Warnings, Richard A. Clark, the former National Coordinator for Security and Counter-Terrorism in the Clinton and Bush Administrations, said that the 1996 attempt to arrest terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed failed because of Qatar. The terrorist Khaled is the man who masterminded the September 11 attacks, the most dangerous terrorist alive. United States intelligence had located him in Qatar, where he was an employee of the Doha Water Department, but the terrorist Khalid disappeared hours after meeting with US Ambassador Emir Al Qatar, asking for his arrest, because shortly afterwards, the Qataris informed the US that they believed he had left the country.
Clark said that “Khalid went on to organize the September 11 attacks, the Bali bombing in Indonesia, the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl, and other attacks. If the Qataris had handed him over to us as required in 1996, the world would have been in a different place.”
Qatar Charity Association is also one of the largest and most connected charities in Qatar and has been accused of financing terrorism on numerous occasions.
In September 2001, the same month as the 11 September terrorist attacks, Qatar Charity published this headline in its official newsletter: “Jihad is the solution!” According to a recent article on the charity’s website, “Handouts are also in the public interest of Muslims, such as building mosques when needed, spending in the area of jihad for God’s sake.”
In addition to assisting in the financing of terrorism, Qatar has sheltered several terrorist leaders; It allowed the Government-run Al Jazeera television channel to be used to market terrorist organizations and supported the Taliban to ensure that its fighters received better salaries from the United States-funded Afghan National Army. Carmon also noted that “Qatar financed the Taliban throughout America’s presence in Afghanistan.”
Qatar is also the biggest sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood. When the Brotherhood came to power for a year in Egypt, Qatar lent them $7.5 billion. Qatar also pledged $250 million to the Muslim Brotherhood’s largest branch, Hamas, after a year of taking control of the Gaza Strip in 2008, and Al Jazeera offered several programmes to host and support the Muslim Brotherhood.
Qatar’s continued support for the Muslim Brotherhood and other extremist groups was the main cause of the diplomatic crisis it suffered in June 2017, when several Arab countries severed relations with it, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, before relations resumed following the 2021 Al-Ula agreement. However, the fundamental issue of Qatar’s support for terrorism remains unresolved.
This is just a spot of light on a veritable mountain of evidence that reveals the diplomatic duplication of Qatar. Paradoxically, one of the privileges now granted to Qatar is the opportunity to participate in counter-terrorism initiatives.
As Carmon said, giving Qatar the designation of a “major ally non- NATO” from a foreign policy perspective is completely meaningless.
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