Creating new perspectives since 2009

Qatar hits back at US House Intel Committee over criticism of hosting Hamas political office

November 5, 2023 at 9:15 am

The national flag of Qatar [Matthew Ashton/AMA/Getty Images]

Qatar has hit back at the United States House Intelligence Committee for sharing criticism of its hosting of Hamas’s political bureau and the threatening of the Gulf state with ramifications, accusing the American intelligence body of “promoting misinformation”.

On Friday, the X account of the US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) posted a clip from a Fox News interview of Republican congressman Michael Waltz, who said that “We need to be sending a very clear message to Hamas’ backers, whether that’s Turkiye or Qatar or others…that if the hair on an American’s head is touched, they will all feel the ramifications, not just Hamas leadership themselves”.

Qatar’s embassy in the US then responded to the video through its own X account by stating its surprise that the House Intelligence Committee “is promoting misinformation on their official account, knowing that the Hamas political office in Qatar was opened following a request by the US to establish indirect lines of communication with Hamas”.

It further insisted that “Not only is this counterproductive to Qatar’s efforts in ongoing negotiations, it also makes a direct threat to a US ally. Spreading these false narratives create obstacles for constructive mediation efforts”. Both the HPSCI and the Qatari embassy’s tweets have since been deleted, however.

Read: Biden thanks Qatar, Israel after 2 American hostages freed by Hamas

Hamas opened its political office in the Qatari capital Doha in 2012 at the request of Washington for the purpose of establishing a direct channel of communication with the group. Since then, Qatar’s hosting of the political bureau has enabled the Gulf state to serve as a mediator between the group and its opponents on numerous occasions over the years, such as the agreement to ceasefires and the exchange of prisoners or hostages.

White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby himself acknowledged the necessity of the Qatari role in hosting Hamas’s political office, telling a press briefing on Thursday that “Qatar has been helpful in getting” Americans out of Gaza, and that Doha “has lines of communication with Hamas that almost nobody else has.” He added that “We are working with Qatar to get our people out and to help get aid in. That’s a priority right now.”

Certain political figures and candidates – such as congressman Waltz – have recently stirred tensions regarding the Hamas bureau’s presence in Qatar, however, with Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy last week openly calling for the assassination of Hamas leaders in the Gulf state.

“If Israel and Mossad wants to pull off Munich 2.0 and take out every last leader of Hamas wherever they may be hiding, from Doha to Dresden, and host a red wedding at the Four Seasons in Qatar the next time [Ismail] Haniyeh and [Khaled] Mashaal show up, they should go ahead and do it”, he stated on X.

Qatar: Hamas office in Doha cannot be closed due to its importance in ending the conflict