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Thursday, 12 December 2019

WikiLeaks: Mossad chief sees Qatar as 'real problem'

The chief of Israel's spy agency Mossad warned the United States that Qatar, which is to host the 2022 football World Cup, poses "a real problem," in a US diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks on Friday

AFP, Friday 3 Dec 2010
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The chief of Israel's spy agency Mossad warned the United States that Qatar, poses "a real problem," in a US diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks on Friday.

It says Meir Dagan issued the warning in a July 12 meeting with a senior US counter-terrorism official, Francis Fragos Townsend.

Qatar's emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, tries to please all parties in the Middle East, including Syria, Iran and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, to underline its independence while hosting a major US base, he said.

The result is that he is "annoying everyone," according to Dagan, who pointed to frequent fallout from damaging coverage of Arab states by Qatar's satellite news channel Al-Jazeera.

The station could even provoke the Middle East's next war because Arab leaders hold Sheikh Hamad personally responsible for the coverage, according to the Mossad chief.

"I think you (the United States) should remove your bases from there ... seriously," Dagan, who retires in December, is quoted as saying. "They have confidence only because of the US presence."

Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad al-Thani, chief executive of the Qatar 2022 bid committee, told reporters in Zurich on Thursday after the World Cup announcement that his country would also host Israel if it qualifies for the finals.

The gas-rich Arab state, which does not have diplomatic ties with Israel, will respect the rules of FIFA, world football's governing body, and not discriminate against any participants in the finals, he said.

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