In an unusual move by officials in US Congress and figures working in the US administration, a conference in the capital called on Qatar to find a resolution of its positions between its allies on one hand and Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood on the other.
One of the more prominent speakers was former US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who also served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency under Barack Obama, saying Qatar had funded terrorist organizations.
“Qatar has a mixed record. We know that they provided financial support to the Muslim Brotherhood, terrorism, Hamas, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban,” Panetta said.
“The problem is that they cannot receive one thing and it’s opposite,” Panetta added.
Panetta was pointing out that Qatar had close ties to the United States and was hosting a huge US military base on its soil while also funding terrorist-branded terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda.
Republican Rep. Robert Bettinger, a member of the counterterrorism subcommittee, revealed that he had met with the Emir of Qatar three times and met with the Qatari ambassador in Washington many times.
“Frankly, the emir told me that we helped Al-Qaeda in Syria because we hate Assad,” Bettinger said.
The Hudson Institute was attended by a large number of members of the US Congress, especially members of the Foreign Affairs and Intelligence Committee. Many, especially the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said that Qatar must fulfill its obligations and consider that non-compliance should be met with accountability.
Congressional representatives and former officials pointed out that the dangers in the Middle East stem from two sources: The first is Iran and its affiliated organizations such as Hezbollah, and the second is the organization of the Brotherhood and its affiliated organizations such as Hamas, Al-Qaeda, Daesh and others.
Members of the US House of Representatives pointed to the dangers of the relationship between Qatar and these organizations on the one hand and with Iran on the one hand.
Many, and in particular General David Petraeus, called for bridging the rift in the Gulf relations and called on the GCC to “overcome the matter and return to one another.”
“We cannot coexist with the fragmentation of the GCC,” Petraeus added.