QATAR’S EMIR IN WASHINGTON: FROM AN OFFICIAL VISITOR TO A TERRORISM SUSPECT

The Qatari regime uses its vast economic and financial resources of gas revenues to give its state more than its size and bigger than its influence, however, these funds have recently been depleted thanks to the economic sanctions and isolation which prompted the regime to beg for relations with others and to buy friendships as well as using regional and global powers to bully others.

From time to time, the Qatari regime tries to appear on regional or global occasions with the aim of renewing loyalty to its masters, most recently the visit of Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad to the United States and the US Secretary of Finance Steven Mnuchin hosting a dinner in his honor. A meeting which also included President Donald Trump, amid reports that large sums have been spent by Doha through its representatives in the United States to prepare for this visit and get the approval of President Trump to meet with Sheikh Tamim.

Doha aimed from this visit to achieve political gains, the most important of which is to break the regional and international isolation imposed on it and to try to reappear in the political and media arena after a period of absence through which it was completely forgotten. The plan was that Sheikh Tamim would hold political meetings with US officials to mediate between Iran and the USA, as well as asking for Washington’s help in breaking the isolation and persuading the Arab Quartet to end the boycott of Qatar and to try to whitewash Qatar’s terrorist history before the decision-makers in Washington and appease them following the latter rapprochement with Tehran amid the escalating tensions between Iran and the international community.

However, the Qatari Emir was surprised by the reaction of the American officials and their statements, which called on Qatar to stop its activities that raise tensions in the region and end its support for terrorist groups, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, and to end its relations with the Iranian regime, which seeks to drag the region into chaos through its interventions and subversive and terrorist activities. The Qatari aspirations from this visit also collided with the demands of several politicians to President Trump to raise the issue of Qatar’s support for terrorism during his meeting with Tamim. Hence, the Qatari prince has turned before the White House officials from “official visitor” to “accused of supporting terrorism and creating chaos.”

By observing the statements of some American officials, including president Trump during their meetings with Tamim, the reality of the US view towards Qatar and its policies can be traced and reveals that this visit has been paid for by Qatar in advance to lift up Qatar’s Emir and to confirm the presence of Doha on the political scene again after a long absence and ignoring its boycott by the Arab quartet.

Trump’s speech was full of mockery of Qatar, as he focused on the financial side of this visit and the amount of money Qatar is spending in the United States, and its support for the US interests in the region, especially the expansion of Al Udeid Air Base. White House officials did not give the Emir of Qatar the chance to intervene in matters larger than the size of Qatar, such as the mediation between Iran and the United States, or to ask for the US help in easing the regional and global stance towards Qatar. Although Doha aimed at gaining political gains from this visit and spent a lot of money for that end, the White House wanted it to be a business visit that brings more Qatari funds to the US, as well as scolding Qatari behavior and giving a very important message that Washington would not support Qatar’s attitudes and behavior and will not lose its interests and strategic relations with a number of influential countries in the region in exchange of tens of billions that Qatar offers.

Al Mezmaah Studies & Research Centre

10 July 2019

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