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Israel-Hamas conflict: The tiny gulf state of Qatar could find yourself enjoying an outsized function in negotiations | World Information

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Hamas’s barbaric assault on southern Israel and the approaching floor offensive in Gaza has upended relations in different strategically important elements of the Center East – the oil wealthy kingdoms of the Gulf. 

However it’s the tiny Gulf state of Qatar that will find yourself enjoying an outsized function in negotiating a manner out of this newest bloody quagmire.

Over time, Qatar has hosted political workplaces for varied teams the West regards as terrorist organisations: together with Hamas, the Afghan Taliban, and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.

Israel-Hamas latest: Gaza to face assault by ‘land, air and sea’

It is also house to the previous head of Hamas’s political bureau in exile, Khaled Meshaal.

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On Friday, Mr Meshaal referred to as for the Muslim world to protest in assist of Palestinians, singling out these international locations with giant populations of Palestinian refugees.

“Tribes of Jordan, sons of Jordan… It is a second of reality and the borders are closed to you, you all know your obligations,” Mr Meshaal stated.

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Israel’s competition assault defined

On the identical day, US secretary of state Antony Blinken stopped in Qatar’s capital Doha as a part of his Center East diplomatic offensive to shore up assist for Israel and situation a be aware of warning relating to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

Whereas there, he met with Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani.

“Israel has each the suitable and even the duty to defend its folks… On the identical time, the best way Israel does this issues,” Mr Blinken stated.

“And, to that finish, I’ve mentioned with the Israelis – urged the Israelis – to make use of each doable precaution to keep away from hurt to civilians.”

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian meets with Palestinian group Hamas' top leader, Ismail Haniyeh in Doha, Qatar October 14, 2023. Iran's Foreign Ministry/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
Iran’s overseas minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, meets with Palestinian group Hamas’s prime chief, Ismail Haniyeh, in Doha

Qatar’s tightrope

Qatar is strolling a tightrope on the problem of Hamas.

In Western capitals, Hamas’s terror assault on Israel is justification for the conflict now unleashed on Gaza.

Publicly, Qatar’s shut connections with Hamas don’t sit simply with the West. On the identical time, the desert kingdom is a helpful conduit for Western international locations to do backdoor offers with non-state actors. It talks to the teams that different governments will not sit down with.

Qatar can also be house to the most important US navy base within the Center East.

Its formidable overseas coverage performs all sides and offers this small nation a seat on the desk on the world’s most essential geopolitical points. The Israel-Hamas conflict is not any exception.

Nonetheless, it is sophisticated. Qatar has supported Hamas.

In 2012, Qatar’s earlier emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, grew to become the primary Arab chief in years to go to the besieged Gaza Strip, travelling there together with his spouse Sheikha Mozah.

The go to conferred legitimacy on the ironclad rule of Hamas over Gazans and demonstrated the Gulf state’s rising affect within the area.

The emir entered by way of Egypt’s Rafah border crossing to crowds of cheering Palestinians and introduced hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in support.

Like different Muslim-majority international locations, the sympathy of Qataris will lie with the folks of Gaza.

Qatar's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian in Doha, Qatar, October 14, 2023. Qatar News Agency/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
Qatar’s prime minister and overseas minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani meets with Iranian overseas minister Hossein Amirabdollahian

Exerting its affect

Now Qatar will likely be beneath stress from the US to exert its affect on Hamas to launch Israeli hostages.

That is one space the place the Gulf kingdom has type.

In 2017, throughout the top of the Syrian civil conflict, Qatar negotiated a sophisticated deal to launch hostages in Iraq, a few of whom had been members of Qatar’s ruling al Thani household, reportedly in trade for tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} paid to an Iraqi militia.

Two years later Qatar facilitated the discharge of two Western hostages taken by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

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‘This Jew stands with Gaza’

This 12 months, Qatar has been mediating a prisoner swap deal between Iran and the US.

In the event you want a hostage deal finished, go to Qatar. The US is aware of that.

On Friday, Qatar’s prime minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani, stated: “Qatar’s diplomatic priorities are to realize a direct ceasefire, shield civilians, guarantee the discharge of prisoners, and work in the direction of limiting the enlargement of violence and the cycle of battle within the area, which is able to inevitably lead to severe penalties.”

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Qatar’s overseas ministry confirmed it’s concerned in negotiating the discharge of Israeli hostages.

However with no break within the bombing, any deal will likely be unattainable to grasp.

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