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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Qatar played now-familiar role in helping to broker U.S. hostage’s release

From The Washington Post:

Qatar, whose relationships with Islamist groups has at times been publicly questioned by the administration, has privately become the go-to U.S. partner for indirect communications with those groups. They include Hamas, at war with Israel in the Gaza Strip for the past month, and Jabhat al-Nusra, the group that held Curtis, which the United States has designated a foreign terrorist organization and a “wholly owned subsidiary” of al-Qaeda.

Beyond the Middle East, Qatar facilitated peace talks between the United States and the Taliban in Afghanistan that ended without success last year. This spring, it helped arrange the exchange of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the only U.S. service member held by the Afghan militants, for five Taliban detainees held in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The five currently reside in Qatar.

Qatari officials say their country’s contributions are the natural outgrowth of their belief in nonjudgmental dialogue.

Obama administration officials don’t necessarily buy into the altruistic narrative, and some share the concern of Qatar’s Persian Gulf neighbors that it is seeking only to boost its status as a regional power far beyond its size. While Treasury Department officials have said the Qatari government no longer funds groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra, they believe that a handful of wealthy Qatari individuals continue to raise funds for Islamist groups in Syria.

But at the same time, the Obama administration has repeatedly found Qatar’s contacts useful, particularly those of its intelligence service with Jabhat al-Nusra.

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