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Qatar Plays Key Role to Rescue Hostages

Qatar Plays Key Role to Rescue Hostages
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) shakes hands with Qatar's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani following their meeting and press conference in Doha on October 13, 2023. (Karim Jaafar/AFP via Getty)

By    |   Wednesday, 18 October 2023 01:34 PM EDT

The United States is relying on Qatar to help secure the release of the roughly 200 hostages held by Hamas, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. 

Hamas terrorists attacked southern Israel and massacred about 1,400 Israelis on Oct. 7. At least 20 Americans are believed to be in captivity. 

Bloomberg reported that Qatar has been negotiating with Hamas to try to secure the hostages’ release, and with Iran and Hezbollah to try and prevent a second, northern front from developing in Israel.

A Reuters report last week said that “Qatari mediators have held urgent calls to try to negotiate freedom for Israeli women and children seized by the militant group and held in Gaza in exchange for the release of 36 Palestinian women and children from Israel's prisons.”

Qatar has been designated a major non- Nato ally by the Unites States, and has had warm relations with both the Biden and Trump administrations.

Bloomberg reported that Qatar played a role in last month’s hostage exchange in which the Biden administration unfroze $6 billion in Iranian assets.

Even with Qatar’s help, returning the hostages won’t be simple. 

But clearly, the country once considered a maverick due to its cordial relations with Iran and Islamist groups such as Hamas has made itself indispensable as “a geopolitical fixer,” according to Bloomberg.

With support from both Israel and the U.S., since 2014 Qatar has provided humanitarian assistance of $1.4 billion to Gaza’s Palestinians. Reportedly, the Qatari funds were dispersed through Israeli banks and oversight.

“They have been de-escalators,” said Sanam Vakil, director of the Middle East and North Africa program at London’s Chatham House think tank, Bloomberg reported. 

“This [the hostages’ release] is really hard to accomplish, especially when the stakes are high.”

Qatar and Israel have no formal diplomatic relations. But Doha officials have long had strong ties with the Israelis at every level — political, military and intelligence. Bloomberg said that in recent days engagement between the two nations has been high.

U.S. officials privately acknowledge they don’t do anything in the Gulf without Qatar, which contains al-Udeid Air Base, home to the US Central Command that oversees all military operations in the Mid-East.

Despite some media claims, Qatar has never funded terrorism.

In 2014 during the civil war in Syria Hamas was forced to exit. With U.S. approval, Hamas leaders were allowed to move to Doha for refuge.

Multiple U.S. administrations have relied on Doha’s contacts with Hamas’ office to stabilize the situation in Gaza and Israel, Bloomberg reported.

“The Qataris are the indispensable diplomatic tool on hostage issues at the moment,” Ayham Kamel, head of Middle East and North Africa at political risk consultant Eurasia Group, told Bloomberg. “Few other regional parties have the depth of the relationship required to move the needle on this issue.”

In a speech delivered in Singapore this past Friday, Qatar’s Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani

described his nation as “a small state in a turbulent neighborhood,” and that Doha “focuses on peace facilitation to strengthen international peace and security — this has been one of the key pillars of our foreign policy for more than 25 years.”

The U.S. also has spoken with other partners, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, about helping with the Israel-Hamas hostage situation.

Charlie McCarthy

Charlie McCarthy, a writer/editor at Newsmax, has nearly 40 years of experience covering news, sports, and politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

The United States is relying on Qatar to help secure the release of the roughly 200 hostages held by Hamas, Bloomberg reported.
qatar, hamas, israel, hostage
Wednesday, 18 October 2023 01:34 PM
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