THE CASH FLOW
Amount given to Gaza by Qatar in 2012 for “road building” projects Percentage of global natural gas supply controlled by Qatar Estimated value of Qatar Investment Authority’s UK assets Amount paid by Qatar’s state fund for Harrods department store State, a bloodthirsty collective that has torn apart Iraq.
Qatar’s role as a supporter of rebel movements is all the more remarkable given the US’s war on terror, in place since the 9/11 atrocities in 2001, and the global effort by the Americans to impose sanctions on all those who deal with terrorist organisations.
The rulers of Qatar won the confidence of Nato during the first Iraq war of 1999-2000, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and in the Americanled 2003 invasion of the country. On both occasions, the West pre-positioned troops and munitions in Qatar.
The Americans still maintain a presence in the country at the Al Udeid Air Base west of Doha.
The country has also won friends in diplomatic circles and among the Western public for the way in which its broadcaster, Al Jazeera, has established itself as one of the few credible news sources in Arab lands.
Throughout the recent conflict, Qatar has studiously interviewed Israeli spokesmen, including cabinet ministers. Some neutrals claim that it has given a more independent view of events than the BBC.
The Gulf state’s reach into the heart of the British establishment was underlined this year at the Royal Ascot. The Qataris sponsored the most prestigious event in British racing through their investment company Qipo, and the Emir of Qatar accompanied the Queen as she made her way down the racecourse to the Royal enclosure on the first day of the meeting.
Qatar likes to see itself as the champion of the Arab underdog. It was in this capacity that it was one of the few Arab states to support the deposed Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and has funnelled financial support to Hamas.
In 2012, the Emir’s father provided $254 million in assistance to Gaza to support road building projects.
More recently, it has been reported that Qatar transferred large sums to an Arab bank to pay the salaries of the 55,000 Hamas civil servants who