This WAPO story is getting a lot of play in the Arab press, at least the non-Qatari controlled Arab press. Under the guise of diplomatic outreach, the Qataris appear to have paid as much as $1 billion in ransom money that is going to terrorists and Iranians operatives.
Keep in mind that the Qataris are our nominal allies, but they are also under siege by the other GCC states, for a variety of reasons of which support for Iran and terrorism are but two. Al Jazeera is headquartered in Qatar!
Qatar had entered secret talks to free 25 of its citizens from Iraqi kidnappers, yet the bargaining had turned into a kind of group shakedown, the official said, with a half-dozen militias and foreign governments jostling to squeeze cash from the wealthy Persian Gulf state.
“The Syrians, Hezbollah-Lebanon, Kata’ib Hezbollah, Iraq — all want money, and this is their chance,” Zayed bin Saeed al-Khayareen, Qatar’s ambassador to Iraq and chief negotiator in the hostage affair, wrote in the message. “All of them are thieves.”
And yet, the Qataris were willing to pay, and pay they did, confidential documents confirm.
In the April text message and in scores of other private exchanges spanning 1 1 /2 years, Qatari officials fret and grouse, but then appear to consent to payments totaling at least $275 million to free nine members of the royal family and 16 other Qatari nationals kidnapped during a hunting trip in southern Iraq, according to copies of the intercepted communications obtained by The Washington Post.
But the conversations and text messages obtained by The Post paint a more complex portrait. They show senior Qatari diplomats appearing to sign off on a series of side payments ranging from $5 to $50 million to Iranian and Iraqi officials and paramilitary leaders, with $25 million earmarked for a Kata’ib Hezbollah boss and $50 million set aside for “Qassem,” an apparent reference to Qassem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and a key participant in the hostage deal.