MeT is An hour’s drive from the tanned tarmac at Al Udeid Air Base to the glittering towers of Doha. But in the case of the United States, this trip took eight years. In 2013, the Taliban established a diplomatic mission in the capital of Qatar. Opened with the consent of the United States, the office was intended to begin a peace process that would end the American war in Afghanistan.
Of course, the ending wasn’t what America wanted. Like earlier talks, the desperate airlift from Kabul last month relied heavily on Qatar. Almost half of the 120,000 Americans who flew out of Afghanistan passed through Al Udade (pictured). Thus, the small emirate, home to only 3 million people (only 20% of its citizens), played a central role in the beginning and end of the end itself. It now plays an important role as an interlocutor between the new Afghan ruler and the West, but it can be difficult to provide much to either side.
Before the Arab Spring of 2011, Qatar built a reputation as a mediator of regional conflicts. It has manipulated all sorts of contradictory relationships: for example, in fun terms with Iran, but also accepting American soldiers. It welcomed feuding factions from Yemen, Sudan and Lebanon for negotiations. Visitors to The Ritz-Carlton bumped into a camouflage-clad rebel drinking tea in the lobby between meetings.
Unlike the Gulf countries, Qatar is also sympathetic to political Islam. Then it’s no wonder that it facilitated negotiations between the United States and the Taliban. We were able to win the trust of both parties. United Arab Emirates(United Arab EmiratesI also tried to host the Taliban, but it was rejected.
Like other Gulf countries, Qatar sees the United States as a major guarantor of security. But for at least a decade, Gulf nations have become increasingly skeptical of America’s credibility. Both Barack Obama and Donald Trump have come to consider the Gulf countries as free-riders. This is an image of spending millions of dollars on lobbyists trying to get rid of them.
Qatar’s horrors are Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates It imposed a travel and trade embargo. They wanted Qatar to break its ties with Islamists and shut down its satellite broadcaster, Al Jazeera. Mr. Trump first supported the blockade before changing his position. Qatar’s role as an intermediary with the Taliban was a debate over continued American support. (The embargo was lifted in January.)
Airlift in Afghanistan was another opportunity for Gulf countries to prove their value. NS United Arab Emirates Thousands of Afghans were flown on their own planes and set the stage for France’s evacuation efforts. Bahrain’s state airline has shuttled Afghan refugees to Washington. Again, it was Qatar that was the central stage for the Kabul ambassador to personally escort the convoy to the airport to ensure a safe passage. That effort has brought praise from President Joe Biden. On August 20, he called Tamim bin Hamad Altani, the chief of Qatar, to thank him. “No country has done more than Qatar,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. This is a better promotion than an expensive lobbying contract can be purchased.
On September 6, Blinken and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived in Doha for a meeting with Qatar. British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab made his trip four days ago. But the question is how long the Qatar influence will last. Much came from their role as mediators and hosts. There are no negotiations left to mediate as the Americans have left and the old Afghan government has ceased to function. The Taliban are free to govern and seek new diplomatic relations.They are Promised to form a comprehensive system And to avoid retaliation, their early actions were not encouraged.
The hope in Qatar is that economics will provide continuous leverage. The Taliban needs to bring the country to the fore as it looks like an impending balance of payments crisis. But how much Qatar invests in Afghanistan depends on how the Taliban govern. A brutal regime will have a negative impact on your reputation, and an unstable regime will have a negative impact on your money. If Mr Biden chooses to maintain strict sanctions on the Taliban, Qatar must keep that distance.
Qatar’s neighbor is playing a waiting game.The Taliban last came to power in the 1990s with Saudi Arabia. United Arab Emirates Only two of the three states granted their control (Pakistan was third). Both have become more cautious this time. Saudi Arabia has changed in the meantime. Young Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is keen to project a more liberal image of his kingdom as part of its efforts to attract investors and tourists and diversify its oil-bound economy. .. Accepting the Taliban will be uncomfortable with that goal.
NS United Arab EmiratesAs always, we are hedging that bet. It provides asylum to the exiled Afghan president Ashraf Ghani, whose leadership is terribly hostile to political Islam. Still, it is a common cause with Islamists as needed (eg in Yemen). If the cost of reputation is not high, it may seek its own way with the Taliban just to compete with its rivals Qatar and Turkey.
This is all reminiscent of Qatar’s last major push in regional politics. In the early Arab spring, bets on Islamists seemed to pay off. They came to power in the Tunisia and Egyptian elections and formed powerful militias in Libya and Syria. But within a few years, Qatar’s assets became mostly debt. The Islamic ally proved incompetent and divisive. Its neighbors used them as clubs to undermine Qatar’s reputation. Bets on the Taliban may proceed in the same way. ■■
This article was published in the printed Middle East and Africa section under the heading “The Taliban Whisper.”
Qatar’s unique role in Afghanistan
Source link Qatar’s unique role in Afghanistan