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  • Writer's pictureNawaf M. Al-Thani

Updated: Mar 14

Amidst Political Tumult, Gaza’s Humanitarian Crisis Demands Global Action.


The following is an op-ed in Arabic translated by the author (Nawaf M. Al-Thani), first published in The Alraya in Qatar on March 6th 2023.


In the corridors of power in Washington, D.C., where political intrigue and policy debates are as common as the cherry blossoms in spring, a grave humanitarian crisis unfolds thousands of miles away, demanding our attention. The plight of Gaza, exacerbated by over 150 days of conflict, presents a stark challenge to President Biden’s administration during a time when the American political landscape is as divided as ever.


As the holy month of Ramadan commences, the suffering in Gaza does not pause for reflection or celebration. The United Nations reports a dire situation: a severe shortage of food and potable water, and health services teetering on the brink of collapse. Yet, it seems the political machinations of an election year hold more sway in the halls of the Capitol than the cries for help echoing from the Middle East.


The Biden administration, caught in the throes of what may be one of the most brutal election campaigns in contemporary American history, must navigate a precarious path. The President’s ability to act on the international stage is inextricably linked to the domestic political arena, where even the most humanitarian of decisions is scrutinized through the lens of electoral impact.


In Michigan, a state that could decide the fate of the presidency, approximately 100,000 Arab and Muslim Americans—a demographic traditionally aligned with the Democratic Party—have voiced their intention to withhold their votes from Biden should he fail to address the war in Gaza positively. This is not just a political calculation; it is a moral imperative.

The United States has long been a beacon of hope and a leader in humanitarian efforts. As such, it is incumbent upon President Biden to place the weight of his office behind a push for peace and aid. The Oval Office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is not just a symbol of American power; it is a testament to American values and the belief that the U.S. can and should be a force for good in the world.


Yet, the administration’s efforts are complicated by the stance of Israeli leaders like Netanyahu, who seem indifferent to U.S. pressures, which are perceived by some as empty threats. This perception, prevalent among Washington’s elite, suggests that Netanyahu’s actions could inadvertently shape Biden’s political legacy.

At this critical juncture, the United States and the international community must rise above the fray of political gamesmanship. The upcoming election cannot sideline the need for effective diplomatic action and urgent humanitarian aid. The stakes are too high, and the cost of inaction is a burden too heavy to bear.


As I engage with policymakers and thought leaders here in the capital, the consensus is clear: peace is not merely the absence of conflict but the ability to resolve it through dialogue and compassion. In this defining moment, let us not falter in our responsibilities. Let us instead reaffirm our commitment to humanity and take bold steps to alleviate the suffering in Gaza.



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  • Writer's pictureNawaf M. Al-Thani

Qatar's Mastery of Desert Diplomacy

"Diplomacy is the art of letting others achieve what you want."


In the intricate geopolitical context of the Middle East, Qatar stands out as a unique model of countries that have managed to maintain a balanced stance, simultaneously bolstering international dialogue. Amid escalating tensions and recurrent diplomatic challenges, Qatar has proven a significant and active player in the international diplomatic arena. With its recent successful mediation between the United States and Iran concerning prisoner exchanges last Monday, the recurring question, especially in the West, is: how does Qatar succeed where others fail?


Legacy of Mediation To begin with, Qatar has a long history in the art of mediation, rooted in its authentic Arab traditions and its ancient Bedouin roots of communication and consensus-building. These practices, born deep in the desert, have also served Qatari diplomacy in contemporary times. For instance, Qatar played a central role in mediating between warring factions in Lebanon in 2006, Sudan in 2010, and Yemen in 2011.


Neutrality as Strength A distinctive feature of Qatar's foreign policy is its commitment to pragmatic neutrality when possible, making it open to engaging with diverse international parties to achieve global security and peace. Qatar provided a reliable platform for diplomatic dialogues and opinion exchanges, hosting talks between the United States and the Taliban in 2020 and in-depth Afghan peace discussions in Doha.


Investing in Soft Power While natural gas reserves are the cornerstone of Qatar's economic strength, its investments in cultural, media, and other soft power tools have enhanced its global presence. Al Jazeera network offered a platform for voices often missing from international media, while other institutions, like Qatar Foundation, Education City, and the Museums Authority, work on bridging cultures and promoting scientific research.


Strategic Partnerships The Al Udeid Air Base reflects the strategic partnership between Qatar and the United States, but defense and security collaborations don't end there. From securing support and participating in the largest airlift since World War II – during the American withdrawal from Afghanistan – to ensuring that withdrawal on the ground and up to the exceptional strategic capabilities in humanitarian operations, Qatar has been keen on partnerships that serve its national interest and benefit the international community.


Final Thoughts… As global dynamics continue to shift around it, Qatar's strategy will persist in evolving and adapting. Investing in mediation, soft power, and building strategic partnerships remains fundamental to its approach. With an increasing focus on sustainability and innovation in the energy sector, Qatar's global role is destined for growth, expected to double in the coming years.



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  • Writer's pictureNawaf M. Al-Thani

The whispers about Zaporizhzhia bring to mind the echoes of Chornobyl.


As the shadow of conflict in Ukraine looms, it takes on a sinister nuclear cast. Amid the din of war, the international community stands on the brink of a catastrophe that could echo through the annals of history.


Whispers have turned to headlines about reports that Russia is considering deploying tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine and the terrifying prospect of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant coming under fire. This has sent a wave of terror through neighboring countries as they watch the nuclear clock in Ukraine.


Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant stands on the Dnieper River as a giant guard, and it is not just a piece on the geopolitical chessboard. It is the largest nuclear reactor in Europe and a symbol of Ukraine's vitality. An attack on this giant is more than an act of war; it is an insult to the common human heritage.


The whispers about Zaporizhzhia bring to mind the echoes of Chornobyl, an event that still casts its dark shadow on the conscience of the European continent. The painful images of the post-Chornobyl landscape are still etched in our collective memory, serving as a painful reminder of the price of a nuclear catastrophe. Imagine, then, the consequences of an accident at Zaporizhzhia, a catastrophe that could be much greater than its predecessor.


There is a disturbing paradox in the fact that the very atom that warms many Ukrainian homes in winter through Zaporizhzhia carries within it the seeds of unimaginable destruction. The entry of tactical nuclear weapons into this theater of war would be an uncontrolled fall into the abyss of Pandora's box. The volatile mix of conventional war with nuclear arsenals could ignite a chain reaction that could leave no heroes, leaving only the dead and the survivors.


Here, on the brink of potential doom, the world must find its resolve and break through the fog of war with purposeful diplomatic communication. The United Nations Security Council must shed the constraints of complex procedures and use its influence. The European Union - as the guardian of a continent that has known all aspects of terrible wars - must lead its members and neighbors through this storm with a constant commitment to peace.


Moreover, the guardians of nuclear arsenals must take responsibility. They must lead the world not only in calling for an immediate de-escalation but also in shaping a new era of restraint and responsibility in protecting nuclear capabilities.


Final Thoughts ...

As we read these words, we must not forget that behind the political chessboard lie the dreams and hopes of millions, souls intertwined in the rich fabric of human existence. They neither know nor care about the intentions of the great powers. And for this, let our voices rise united in a chorus above the din of war to echo through the political halls and the streets with our continuous calls for peace. Because in our hands lie not only the dreams of the present but the promises that have not yet been fulfilled for future generations.


"The proliferation of nuclear weapons is not a balance of power but a balance of terror"




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