Qatar steps into the diplomatic void

Qatar has emerged as the lead intermediary between Israel and Hamas.

Doha’s ties to Hamas run deep: it’s hosted the group’s political leadership since 2012 and (with Israeli agreement) has long transferred $30M to Gaza each month, which it says goes to humanitarian and administrative activities.

But Qatar also has solid links with the West: the US declared it a ‘major non-NATO ally’ last year. Plus Doha has maintained contact (if not formal ties) with Israel since the 1990s.

Intrigue’s take: Qatar is not exactly neutral here; it held Israel “solely responsible” for the Hamas attacks on October 7th.

But intriguingly, Israel’s own national security advisor is now describing Qatar as “essential” and “crucial”.

So Qatar will have questions to answer after the war – like the nature of its support for Hamas, and the tenor of its state-funded broadcaster’s coverage – but for now, the region needs an intermediary. And Qatar is it.

Also worth noting: 

  • Israel’s spy chief was in Qatar over the weekend to discuss ways to secure the release of the ~235 hostages held by Hamas.
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