Op-Ed: Qatar – Funding terror, threatening US interests in the Gulf(Wikimedia)
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The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) labeled Qatar a “safe haven for religious extremists expelled by other countries.” CSIS cited Qatar’s history of providing refuge for Palestinian, Sudanese and Algerian fugitives. The State Department 2016 Terrorism Report pointed out deficiencies in Qatar’s fight against terrorism.
Qatar has been funding and enabling jihad throughout the Middle East and the world for decades, all the while playing a double game by hosting U.S. forces in the Gulf. Obviously, this serious problem needs to be addressed head on by our National Command Authority to protect our security from the terrorist scourge that has killed thousands of Americans globally. However, the consequences of Qatar’s playing both sides of the fence in this civilizational struggle goes deeper than that.
The Islamic theocracy of Iran, the real Islamic State, has been an archenemy of the American people for four decades. Tehran has voiced its stated goal of defeating and destroying the United States and the Jewish State repeatedly: the Friday prayer chant in Teheran is “Death to America, death to Israel!”
Iran is developing nuclear weapons; their stated denials to the contrary are not credible. They are buying billions of dollars in weaponry from Russia with the money that the Obama Administration released, some of it arriving in Tehran at midnight on a chartered plane in the form of pallets full of cash. Since the fall of the Shah in 1979, Iran is funding terror, and supporting Shia militias such as Hezbollah and others all the way to Lebanon.
The story in the Middle East is not so much the Arab Spring, which Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood caused. The story is the insertion of these radical Shia Iranian militias from the Fertile Crescent to the Levant that will threaten Israel and other American allies for decades to come. After a trillion dollars and thousands of American lives sacrificed in Iraq, the four powers hostile to the U.S. are threatening the Middle East: Russia, Iran and the Shia, and Qatar.
As we see Saudi Arabia signing a $100 billion arms deal with the United States to counter the growing Iranian threat, the danger of an arms race in the region becomes all the more clear. When you combine the close relationship Qatar enjoys with Tehran with weapons in the region growing exponentially, stability in the Gulf has become outdated. Qatar’s deceitful actions have brought this to fruition.
I’ve flown missions in the Persian Gulf in the past. Forty percent of the world’s crude still makes its way through this tiny passage. America and Iran have already come to blows before in the Strait of Hormuz during a naval engagement in the 1980s.
Tragically, many civilians were killed during the tension as an American warship, the USS Vincennes, mistakenly shot down a civilian airliner, thinking it was an Iranian F-14. The area is dangerous and bad things can happen. Today Iran is once again harassing U.S. ships in the area while Qatar pleading innocence. Freedom of navigation is critical to American interests; Qatar has significantly harmed our economic future by aiding and abetting the Muslim Brotherhood, other terrorist groups, and Iran.
To the north and west, Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood coming to power in Egypt, violent overthrow of the Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi and the collapse of the state, and the attempted takeover of Syria has shredded America’s historic alliances and security arrangements. Qatar’s financing for radical Islamist rebels in Syria actually strengthened the Iran- and Russia-allied Bashar Assad regime. As the dominoes fell, in Cairo, then Benghazi, Qatari fingerprints were all over them.
Qatar’s funding for terrorists, including the Islamist factions that eventually killed American Ambassador Stevens was the beginning of other Gulf States severing ties with the emirate. The UAE actually directly engages Qatari supported factions in Libya to this day, attempting to fill the vacuum created by Qatar’s destructive actions.
The bottom line is that the American government should be looking out for American vital alliances in the Gulf. Due to it’s long litany of misdeeds, Qatar is not one of those. The tentacles of Qatar reach throughout the region, spreading terror and mayhem. They also reach to Washington.
The small, wealthy emirate has outsized influence and is harming American security and the security of our allies, including Israel, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. This needs to stop.
L. Todd Wood, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, flew special operations helicopters supporting SEAL Team 6, Delta Force and others. After leaving the military, he pursued his other passion, finance, spending 18 years on Wall Street trading emerging market debt, and later, writing. The first of his many thrillers is “Currency.” Todd is a columnist at The Washington Times, and has contributed to Fox Business, The Moscow Times, the New York Post, the National Review, Zero Hedge, Newsmax TV, Breitbart and others. He is editor-in-chief of Tsarizm.com. For more information about L. Todd Wood, visit LToddWood.com.