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Qatar - Arab Liberation Movements

Qatar rejected and denounced all forms and manifestations of terrorism, regardless of its causes, objectives and means. Qatar, however, differentiated between terrorism and the peoples' struggle and legitimate rights of freedom and self- determination in accordance with the provisions of the international law. Qatar, in all regional and international occasions, expresses its grave concern over the escalation of conflicts, ethnic cleansing and denial of the rights of minorities in some countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and other continents. Qatar welcomes all international agreements concluded with a view to resolving such problems and pledges support for the efforts exerted by regional and international organizations to achieve peace and stability in many states and regions of the world.

Qatar had always been a staunch supporter of liberation movements and has constantly denounced all kinds of racial discrimination wherever it exists. In May 1994, Qatar hosted the meetings of the Regional Security and Arms Limitation General Committee. Qatar adopts a set of principles as a basis for peace and security in the Middle East and the world at large. At the top of those principles comes the abstention from using or threatening to use force against territorial integrity of other countries, and seeking to resolve disputes by peaceful means such as regional or international arbitration, and dialogue. In recognition of Qatar's vital role and contribution in the efforts to uphold peace, the special work group of the Regional Security and Arms Limitation Committee for the Middle East decided in December 1994 to establish a regional center for the group in Doha to act as a front line dispute prevention and resolution facility.

Before the Arab Spring that began in early 2011, Qatar tried to foster a regional role by mediating Arab disputes among the main Palestinian factions; Hamas and Fatah, and also among rivals in Lebanon and Sudan. Since 1996 Qatar used its Al Jazeera Arabic satellite network as its primary tool of influence in the region. Al Jazeera introduced a new and unfamiliar kind of public debate in a region dominated by state-run broadcasters. Over the years Al Jazeera became the most watched TV network in the Arab world.

Qatar moved energetically to fund Arab Spring Islamist movements and Hamas militants who control the Gaza Strip. Eventually some concluded that Qatar had overreached by moving from a neutral mediator in Arab disputes to a major player in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Syria. Al Jazeera was praised in Tahrir Square where it was a major source of news about the Egyptian uprising of 2011, but eventually it was criticized for becoming a mouthpiece for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Qatar's contacts with Hamas were consistent with the Amir's stated desire to have good relations with everyone. The Qatari leadership also appeared to calculate that maintaining relations with bad actors such as Hezbollah and the Iranians helped ensure Qatar's security by serving as an insurance policy against attack -- a real concern given Qatar's hosting of U.S. military personnel and the perception of this by extremist elements in the region.

As Qatar decided to back the Syrian rebels in their quest to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with money and arms, the Gulf nation managed to detach Hamass leadership from its alliance with Syria and Iran. Qatars former Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani made a state visit to Gaza in October 2012 and pledged 400 million dollars to rebuild infrastructure. Hamas political leader Khaled Mashal relocated to Doha in 2012 after being based in Syria for a decade.

Qatar, whose large oil and gas supplies and small population made it the world's richest country in terms of per capita gross domestic product, emerged from the Arab Spring as a major force in regional diplomacy. The country played a prominent role in supporting the uprising against Moammar Gadhafi in Libya, and it continued to be one of the strongest backers of the rebellion against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. But its actions abroad have not always been welcome, with protests against its "interference" being seen in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. Qatar's efforts in arming opposition fighters in Syria are also said to be causing tensions among rebels leaders, with some claiming Doha was only backing those with strong Islamist views.

On 20 December 2014, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi met with Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdul Rahman, a special envoy of Qatari leader Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. The meeting apparently ended the longstanding enmity between the two states over Qatars support for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. The deal between Egypt and Qatar included the closing of anti-Sissi Qatari news channel Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr on December 22; the extradition of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members from Qatar to Egypt; and a halt to Qatars funding of the Muslim Brotherhood.



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