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Thursday, May 25, 2017



Palestinian terror groups have been very upset over President Trump lumping Hamas in with Al Qaeda, ISIS and Hezbollah in his speech in Riyadh this week.

But Gulf Arab media has not had any problem with it.

Then came this story out of the Gulf:

JEDDAH: Tensions rose in the Gulf on Tuesday after a series of controversial comments attributed to Qatar’s emir, in a row that led to the blocking of Doha-aligned news websites in some neighboring states.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani’s alleged comments, carried by the official state news agency QNA, apparently saw him endorse Iran, Hamas and Hezbollahstrongly diverging from the stance of Qatar’s Gulf neighbors.
Doha claimed the report was the result of a hacking attack — but its Gulf neighbors responded nonetheless, particularly after the same comments were repeated in more than one language, on more than one outlet and at various times of the day in a manner which makes the story true and the hacking seem less likely. 
Was it a hacking attack? There seems to have been a simultaneous and obvious hack of QNA's Twitter account where they reported that Qatar had withdrawn its ambassadors to other Arab Gulf states, so there is a good possibility that this was a sophisticated and coordinated hack.

But practically every word attributed to Al Thani, accurately or not, is in fact true.

Sheikh Tamim also seems to have praised Iran, which even the previous US administration under President Obama labeled as the “biggest state sponsor of terror.”
The emir reportedly said: “There is no wisdom in harboring hostility toward Iran.”
Despite the emir allegedly saying that the relations with Israel are “good,” he went on to describe Hamas — which is designated as a terrorist organization by the US, EU and Israel and is condemned even by Arab countries for firing missiles toward civilians — as the “official representative of Palestinians.”
Despite this apparent endorsement of Hamas, the emir seems to have still refuted allegations of his country supporting terror. Yet many claim Doha supports both Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which is designated a terrorist group by some fellow GCC countries.
The emir reportedly also criticized the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt for waging a campaign against Doha. All three countries are fierce critics of the Muslim Brotherhood. However, the emir seems to have not mentioned Saudi Arabia by name.
He did seem, however, to criticize what he described as “exaggerated” arms deals and said that countries should be spending such funds on development projects. That was an apparent attack on the recent enormous Saudi-US arms deals signed in Riyadh during President Trump’s visit.
The emir is said to have credited Al-Udeid Air Base, which houses the biggest US Air Force base in the region, with protecting Doha from some neighboring countries, without mentioning any names.
Whether the comments attributed to the emir are real or not, much of it reflects what was previously being reported by Qatari media outlets attacking Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain.
 I don't think Qatar ever officially supported Hamas to the degree of calling it the official representative of Palestinians - but it might believe that. Qatar has almost alone poured huge amounts of money into the terror group. Hamas' "political head" lives in Qatar.  Qatar also has hosted Hamas conferences, including one earlier this month where Qatar helped Hamas try to rehabilitate its image with its new "political document" that didn't change its positions.

And, Qatar has surprisingly good relations with Israel in cooperating with the Jewish state to provide building materials and aid to Gazans, a far higher amount of visible cooperation than other Gulf states.

 Qatar maintains strong ties with Iran as well.

While QNA may indeed have been hacked, much of the "news" it reported fairly accurately reflected Qatari policy.

The real news story isn't the hack. It is the Arab reaction. And that reaction shows that the Palestinian terror groups have lost much of their appeal to the Arab nations that used to fund them all generously.

The reactions from the other Gulf states to the incident show that the rest of the Arab world is far more upset over statements of support of Hamas than of statements of "good relations" with Israel!





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