Here’s the situation.
On the one hand, as Ynet.com reports:
In 2012, then Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani became the first head of state to visit Gaza since Hamas seized power there in a bloody 2007 battle with Fatah. Al Thani, who was driven around Gaza by the Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, pledged some $400 million to the strip. His son, the British-educated Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, took over as emir following his father’s abdication last year, and is known to look on Hamas just as favorably.
Last week, former [Israeli] president Shimon Peres slammed Qatar as “the world’s largest funder of terror,” stating that it should not provide money that is used for rockets and tunnels meant to kill civilians, and if it wants to help, it should build, “but should not be allowed to destroy.”
Hamas’s political leader Khaled Mashal currently makes his headquarters in a luxury hotel in the Qatari capital of Doha.
On the other hand:
Just a few miles from Mashal’s hotel suite is Al Udeid Air Base. According to MilitaryBases.com:
It is home to the headquarters of United States Central Command (USCC) and United State Air Force Central Command (USAFCC). The Al Udeid Air Base Qatar is also a home to the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing of the USAF and to the No. 83 Expeditionary Air Group RAF.
The US presence at the base (officially owned by the Qatari air force) dates from the 1990s and as of 2010 there were 10,000 American personnel stationed there.
I don’t know much about military affairs, but I would guess that this is not the sort of arrangement that the US would be eager to toss away. For one thing, Al Udeid is one of the closest American air bases to Iran, although the Qataris say they won’t allow an attack from there.
Apparently neither the Qatari regime nor Hamas is much bothered by these anomalies. Should we be?
Further, Ynet.com reports:
The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is the one of the most ambitious and fast-growing in the world. Over the years, it has moved in on many well-known companies and landmarks, including many of Britain’s most iconic ones.
According to Bloomberg, the QIA, which already owns over $100 billion worth of assets, said it’s prepared to increase investments in the UK, after claiming shares of and buying out major companies such as supermarket giant Sainsbury’s, the exclusive Harrods department store and leading bank Barclays Plc, among others.
Ahmad Al-Sayed, chief executive officer of the Qatari wealth fund, told Bloomberg that the QIA has its eye on Britain as a major investment opportunity, as it has “great systems, great regulations.”
He also told Bloomberg that since its purchase of Harrods in 2010, the QIA has invested approximately $413 million in the business, gaining major revenue.
Additionally, Qatar has shares in a number of oil companies, such as Total SA, as well as Volkswagen, Porsche Automobil Holding SE, and Glencore plc. Meanwhile, the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development is the sponsor of FC Barcelona, and the QIA owns Paris Saint-Germain.
Qatar also has a strong history of buying US-made weaponry. Business Insider reported last week that the country has recently bought $11 billion worth of Patriot missile batteries and Apache attack helicopters.
So by shopping at Sainbury’s or Harrods, banking at Barclays, buying a Volkswagen or a Porsche, you may be indirectly helping Hamas fight Israel. Sorry. (And yes, I realize nobody’s shopping or banking can be completely guilt-free.)