According to a recently leaked cable sent by the US State Department last December, Qatar is the “worst” contributor to the struggle against terrorism in the Middle East. The cable, released along with the avalanche of over 250,000 classified documents by WikiLeaks this week, goes on to state that Qatari security was “hesitant to act against known terrorists out of concern for appearing to be aligned with the U.S. and provoking reprisals.”
Another cable from the same time period urged counter-terrorism as a talking point when the Emir visited the US in January, 2010.
These two cables, previously secret, reveal a gap in what the US State Department has said publicly and what they presumably really believe in their internal memos and cables. In 2008 the State Department called Qatar’s terrorism support since 9/11 “significant” in a Congressional Research Report delivered to Congress.
Analysts have offered their opinions on the reason for the contradiction in the State Department’s remarks concerning Qatar.
“Keeping U.S. basing rights in Qatar and ensuring the stable flow of oil and LNG gas [liquefied natural gas] are both more important than Qatar’s willingness to deal seriously with its citizen’s involvement in terrorism,” says Toby Jones, an assistant Middle East history professor at Rutgers University. “The cost of [the United States] pressuring them publicly to take counterterrorism seriously, it seems, might come at too high an economic cost.”