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Stolen Glory: Qatar, Not Biden, Did Leg Work to Secure Gaza Truce

Qatar’s Foreign Ministry announced Wednesday that Hamas and Israel had agreed a four-day “humanitarian pause” in the month-and-a-half long Gaza conflict. Within hours, US media reported on the Biden team’s heroic “secret” role in helping to secure the truce. But that’s not the way things really went down, says Qatar-based academic Mehran Kamrava.Hamas and Israel each confirmed in the early hours of Wednesday morning that a humanitarian pause and prisoner exchange deal had been reached.

The surprise agreement, made possible thanks to behind-the-scenes mediation led by Qatar, is expected to include the exchange of 50 Israeli hostages (all of them women and children) and up to 150 Palestinian women, children and teenagers held in Israeli jails.The halt in hostilities is expected to start Thursday morning at 6:30 am local time, with Qatari officials saying the four-day truce could be extended.

deal will allow the delivery of hundreds of trucks-worth of humanitarian and medical aid and fuel to the besieged Gaza Strip, and should see the complete suspension of Israeli military flights over its southern areas and restrictions on flights over the north.The fragility of the agreement has been exemplified by stern warnings by Hamas that its fighters would “remain at full combat readiness to protect the Palestinian people and resist the occupation,” and by incendiary comments by Tel Aviv that it plans to “continue the war in order to return home all the hostage, complete the elimination of Hamas and ensure that there will be no new threat to the State of Israel from Gaza.”

Doha graciously cited Egyptian and US support during the negotiations as a factor in their success, but officials in Washington and US media immediately began a campaign of self-aggrandizement designed to talk up the importance of President Biden’s “secret” role.Biden welcomed the agreement, saying in a statement he was “extraordinarily gratified” over the fact that Israeli nationals held captive by Hamas will be released, and that he “appreciates” the Netanahu government’s “commitment…in supporting an extended pause” to hostilities to “alleviate the suffering of innocent Palestinian families in Gaza.”

“Today’s deal is a testament to the tireless diplomacy and determination of many dedicated individuals across the United States government to bring Americans home,” Biden added, referring to the fact that some of the captives have dual Israeli-US nationality.Vice President Harris put out her own statement, boasting that the ceasefire was made possible “thanks to the leadership of President Biden and other leaders.”In the meantime, US media began spinning exposes on the exploits of a “secret cell” of aides within the administration in the hostage talks, who were said to have “worked furiously over the past several weeks on a web of negotiations” together with Qatar and Egypt.

A senior administration official told one outlet that President Biden “directly and personally” engaged in and invested in the talks.Biden publicly began calling for a humanitarian “pause” to the Gaza war in early November, but has consistently maintained that Israel has the right to defend itself and to the US-provided resources “they need to protect their people.” As recently as last week, the president reiterated Washington’s fervently pro-Israeli line, saying the conflict wouldn’t end until Hamas “no longer maintains the capacity to murder, abuse, and do horrific things to the Israelis.”

Stolen Glory?

“Much of the work was done not by the United States or by Joe Biden personally, but by Qatar,” Dr. Mehran Kamrava, a professor of government at Georgetown University’s Qatar campus, told Sputnik.The negotiations were done by the kingdom’s prime minister, its foreign minister and “personnel on the ground,” in that order, the academic emphasized, adding that it was Doha that was responsible for “much of the difficult negotiations,” not the US.

“The US administration involved itself in order to appear as if they are in favor of what they call a ‘humanitarian pause’ or a ‘ceasefire.’ In fact, the US administration has steadfastly refused to put an end to the genocide of Palestinians by the Israeli government,” Kamrava stressed.The scholar believes the US only joined in the ceasefire talks because the costs for Biden were “getting extremely politically costly,” with former president Donald Trump projected to wipe the floor with Biden if elections were held today, according to recent polling, in part due to the incumbent’s loss of support about the pro-ceasefire youth demographic.

“We need to be mindful of the fact that everything that the administration does, including exaggerating its work and its efforts in getting civilian hostages released, is with an eye towards elections. The American elections are looming large, the United States is in an election season, and Joe Biden is doing very poorly in the polls,” the professor explained.“When [Russian President Vladimir] Putin says that Biden has been trying to monopolize the negotiations, he is in some ways correct,” Kamrava said. “What Biden is trying to do is to claim the credit for the difficult work that has been done by the government of Qatar.”

3 hours ago“It’s too early to tell how these signals are being interpreted in the Middle East. Certainly, the average person in the Middle East, the so-called street in the Middle East, sees the United States as fully complicit in Israel’s genocide of Palestinians. And these timid and tepid statements coming out of the White House do little to change that impression,” the observer suggested.Within the region, “if any credit is going anywhere, it is now going to actors like Qatar and also to Hezbollah and the so-called Resistance Front,” Kamrava summarized, referring to the regional non-state actors across the Middle East, from Lebanon, Iraq and Syria to Yemen who have put pressure on Israel and its American allies to put a stop to the Gaza crisis.

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