It was a little over a year ago when the "Mystery Sponsor Of Weapons And Money To Syrian Mercenary "Rebels" Was Revealed" as none other than the uber-wealthy Qatar (also known as the tiny but filthy rich state in the Persian Gulf that hosts the US Fifth fleet, better known as infinite leverage vis-a-vis the United States), which effectively had been pulling the US interventionist strings in hopes of taking out the Assad government and installing a puppet regime, one which would be helpful in facilitating the passage of a natgas pipeline beneath the country, which would then proceed into Turkey and all the way into Europe, as a means of bypassing Europe's reliance on Russia (which as recent events have shown has all the leverage when it comes to Europe). It failed.
As a result it had to redirect its puppetmastery skills elsewhere. That "elsewhere" appears to be none other than Hamas, which is now embroiled in a landwar with Israel in a conflict that has claimed the lives of over 800 people. And while we did find the revelation reported by the Times of Israel as surprising, it is certainly not shocking in a world in which moneyed interests fund militants across nations in what has become an explosion of proxy wars around the globe (see Syria, Ukraine, etc).
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, shakes hands with Hamas leader
Khaled Mashaal, right, as the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, center,
looks on, after signing an agreement in Doha, Qatar, Monday, Feb 6, 2012
(photo credit: AP/Osama Faisal)
According to the TOI, Israel president Shimon Peres "accused Qatar on Wednesday of becoming “the world’s largest funder of terror” due to its financial support for Hamas in Gaza."
A spokesman for Peres would not comment on the information on which the president was basing his accusation, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former security adviser said Qatar was relentlessly financing Hamas terror.
Qatar’s recently attempted to transfer funds for the salaries of Hamas civil servants in Gaza, following the formation of a Palestinian unity government, but was blocked by the United States, which pressured the Arab Bank not to process them. But former national security adviser Maj. Gen. (res) Yaakov Amidror told The Times of Israel that the emirate’s funding for the organization’s terror apparatus, including tunnel diggers and rocket launchers, has continued unabated.
“Hamas currently has two ‘true friends’ in the world: Qatar and Turkey,” Amidror said. The small Gulf state is currently Hamas’s closest ally in the Arab world, after the movement’s relations with Egypt soured following the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi in June 2013. Qatar, which has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in reconstruction and infrastructure projects in Gaza, is also home to the movement’s political leader Khaled Mashaal in Doha.
“The one supporting this organization financially, almost alone, is Qatar,” Amidror said.
Qatar isn’t only being accused of funneling funds to Hamas. Israel and Egypt are also blaming it for blocking Egypt’s efforts to broker a ceasefire in Gaza. On July 17, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri said that Qatar and Turkey were undermining Egypt’s quiet-for-quiet ceasefire initiative, a position echoed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.
Bloomberg admits as much in its latest sweep of the land:
Qatar and, to a lesser extent, Turkey are providing Hamas with alternative channels. Erdogan “has taken a very vocal and emotional pro-Palestinian line,” said Sabra. “It’s good for him domestically, but it limits his ability to play a regional diplomatic role.” After Qatari-backed rebels in Syria lost ground to the rise of more radical forces, “it’s not a surprise that they’re leaping at an opportunity to try to play this role,” said Sabra.
Israel, looking to its traditional partner Egypt, rejects mediation by Qatar and Turkey, particularly after Erdogan said Israel’s “barbarism has surpassed even Hitler’s,” according to an Israeli official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss diplomatic developments.
Hamas is looking at the prospect that Qatar would sweeten a cease-fire deal with financial aid for its Gaza government, including the salaries owed to about 30,000 employees, Elmenshawy said.
Israel also has objections against the Qatar-backed news channel Al Jazeera, whom it has accused of spreading "incitement against the state of Israel":
Another aspect of Qatar’s destructive influence, Israel believes, is state-backed news channel Al-Jazeera. Communications Minister Gilad Erdan requested of the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council this week that it stop broadcasting Al-Jazeera due to its “extremely severe incitement against the State of Israel as well as enthusiastic support for Hamas and its terrorist actions.” Liberman said his ministry was examining the possibility of shutting Al-Jazeera’s offices in Israel, Israeli news site Walla reported.
In the meantime, the diplomatic tensions as a result of the US breakdown of influence in the mid-east have managed to drag even largely netural regional superpowers as Saudi Arabia and the UAE into a conflict:
A diplomatic tug of war has been underway in the Arab Gulf between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — both staunch supporters of the new Egyptian regime — on the one side and Qatar on the other. On Tuesday, Qatari emir Tamim bin Hamad arrived in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, to discuss the Palestinian situation with Saudi King Abdullah. No details of the meeting were immediately available.
And so on. The problem as we showed last week with the following chart, is that international relations in the middle east are so complicated, virtually everyone hates, if not is engaged in outright conflict with everyone else.
So while the grand vision that US-backed Qatar (and hence Hamas) has in the middle east is still unclear, what is even more confusing is just what its energy intentions are (because in the middle east it is all about energy trading and/or the Petrodollar until its replacement with some other reserve currency of course) with Hamas, and Gaza are: after all the sliver of land is landlocked on the east by Israel and shares a small border with Egypt on the south: an Egypt whose allegiance so far lies with Israel, and thus will hardly assist Gaza in any capacity.
We hope to find out more clues about what quite confounding chessgame Qatar is playing shortly.