The enigmatic Gulf emirate of Qatar, which is obscenely wealthy due to its fortuitous location above the world’s largest natural gas field, has a longstanding problem with Sunni jihadism. The wealthy petrochemical sheikh minority of the majority slave state Qatari populace is, along with Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey, disproportionately responsible for funding and exporting more radical Sunni Islamism than any other cloistered clerisy the world over. The Qatari ruling class proudly hosts Islamist cleric Yusuf Al Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood‘s de facto global caliph, and has long been the preeminent state bankroller of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Pro-terror network Al Jazeera also serves as a state-run Qatari propaganda outfit, and it is the evil bile spewing from Al Jazeera’s airwaves that led more moderate Sunni Gulf states, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to boycott and embargo Qatar in 2017. Counter-jihadist activist David Reaboi put it well at The Washington Times in February:
Al Jazeera is the world’s most successful, sophisticated and influential state-directed information operation.
It is remarkably aggressive in service of Qatar’s foreign policy interests, which include four key elements: (1) undermining the stability of its neighbors, especially Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates; (2) promoting Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood in vulnerable, Western open societies; (3) financially and diplomatically supporting violent terrorist groups like Hamas, al Qaeda and the Taliban; and (4) assisting the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, Iran, in evading US sanctions as it seeks to develop nuclear weapons.
Now, according to an exclusive Fox News report from this past weekend, Qatar — which, despite alienating its fellow Sunni Gulf states, maintains a cozy relationship with the terror-supporting Iranian mullahs — has once again revealed its true colors for the world to see. As reported by Benjamin Weinthal, Fox News obtained a report alleging that “Qatar had advance knowledge on an Iranian attack on four commercial vessels in the Gulf of Oman in May and may have failed to warn its U.S., French, and British allies.” In other words, Qatar duplicitously sided with the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism over its purported Western “allies.”
The only thing that is surprising about such Qatari duplicity is that anyone in the West is still surprised by it. Qatar has long been the proverbial “weakest link” of the Sunni world, utilizing aggressive governmental lobbying, outlandish flaunting of its petro-infused wealth to sic more A-list politicos onto its dole, and intensive funding of American think tank and higher education institutions to inculcate an insidious pro-Qatar message. As reported by the Daily Caller, Qatar was the number one foreign state funder of U.S. institutions of higher education from 2011 t0 2016 — surpassing some states even hundreds of times its size, such as China.
Weinthal’s report ought to serve as a much-needed wakeup call for the more sclerotic elements of our bipartisan foreign policy ruling class. That ruling class is oftentimes overly deterred from meaningfully cracking down on Qatar by the U.S. military presence at Qatar’s Al Udeid Air Base. But it is ultimately myopic to permit our military’s presence at Al Udeid to pose an impregnable barrier to attempt to rein in this tiny but destructive nation. It is long past time for policymakers and the chattering class alike to arrive at the conclusion that Qatar is not our friend — at all.