Part 4 of a 4-Part Investigative Series: Brookings Sells Soul to Qatar’s Terror Agenda
by Steven Emerson, John Rossomando and Dave Yonkman
October 31, 2014
Since the beginning of Brookings’ relationship with Qatar in 2002, its scholars have increasingly advocated that U.S. policymakers open a direct channel to Hamas – a position in keeping with Qatar’s foreign policy.
Sheik Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, a member of the Qatari royal family who chairs the Brooking Doha Center (BDC)’s advisory council, made Qatar’s position clear, according to a quote found in a secret December 2005 cable written by then-Ambassador Chase Untermeyer, on the eve of the January 2006 Palestinian elections.
“We shouldn’t exclude Hamas. It makes Hamas look like the real Palestinians. To isolate them is to repeat mistakes made in many places,” the cable released by Wikileaks said.
In recent years, Qatar’s leadership has emerged as one of Hamas’s biggest financial and political backers.
Qatar pledged $50 million to support Hamas in 2006, and the former emir pledged another $400 million to Hamas’ cash-strapped government in Gaza during an October 2012 state visit. Its funding of Hamas continues despite the accession of Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to the Qatari throne following his father’s abdication last year. Current Prime Minister Abdullah bin Naser bin Khalifa Al Thani announced in June that Qatar would give Hamas $60 million to pay salaries of the terror group’s public servants. Earlier this month, Qatar pledged $1 billion to help rebuild Gaza after Hamas provoked a war with Israel by firing rockets at civilian communities. No strings were attached to the pledge.
Furthermore, the Qatari government also has frustrated American efforts to isolate Hamas.
Hamas political chief Khaled Meshaal lived in Qatar from 1999 until 2001 following his expulsion from Jordan. Meshaal told Al-Hayat in 2003 that Al Thani assisted his 1999 entry into Qatar and that he had maintained a “personal relationship” with the then-Qatari foreign minister.
Meshaal moved back to Qatar in February 2012 after the start of Syria’s civil war.
Israel’s United Nations Ambassador Ron Prosor pointed his finger at Qatar in anAugust New York Times op-ed, blaming the Gulf state for every rocket and tunnel aimed at Israel, saying they were “made possible through a kind donation from the emir of Qatar.” Prosor described Qatar as a “Club Med for terrorists” for harboringMeshaal, influential Muslim Brotherhood cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Abdul Rahman Omeir al-Naimi, a Qatari history professor the U.S. Treasury Department designatedlast year as an al-Qaida financier.
Qatari technology allegedly helped Hamas build sophisticated cyber systems in tunnels and above ground to attack Israel. Nearly 70 percent of cyber-attacks against Israel during this summer’s Gaza war originated from Qatari-associated IP addresses. Sensors provided by the Gulf state in Hamas tunnels alerted the terrorists to approaching Israeli soldiers, and Qatari cloud-based software enabled Hamas to remotely fire its rockets, the Times of Israel reported.
Brookings portrays Qatar’s relations with Hamas in a positive light, setting the country up as a mediator between the terrorist group and Israel.
Barakat suggested that “Western powers might find themselves having to look for help from a different partner: Qatar,” Barakat wrote, giving a nod to the BDC’s sponsoring country. “Under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt has proven more adept at securing the backing of politicians and diplomats in Tel Aviv, Washington and New York for a peace initiative than it has at reaching out to Palestinians.”
Despite Barakat’s concerns, Egypt ultimately brokered the August agreement that ended the latest round of Hamas’ fighting with Israel.
Reports in the Arabic press indicate that Qatar had threatened to expel Meshaal from the country if he agreed to Egypt’s cease-fire terms in July.
Spreading disinformation about Hamas
Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr’s sentiments can also be found in the body of work of numerous Brookings scholars who argue that Hamas is willing to disarm or recognize Israel’s right to exist.
Numerous articles lend Brookings’ credibility to the false notion that Hamas’s 1988 charter calling for Palestinian Muslims to fight Israel “until liberation is achieved” no longer has relevance or to the notion that Hamas wants peaceful coexistence with Israel. Consequently, they argue that the U.S. should talk directly with Hamas.