Saturday, April 28, 2018

"Hacked messages show Qatar appearing to pay hundreds of millions to free hostages"

WaPo:

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.

...

Qatar’s bargaining with militants over the hostage affair would become a flash point in a larger feud between the country and its Arab neighbors, some of whom have repeatedly criticized Qatari leaders over what they say are the country’s cordial ties with Iran and support for the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups identified with political Islam. Weeks after the hostages were freed, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates joined three other Arab states in severing relations with Qatar, triggering a diplomatic crisis that quickly escalated into a virtual blockade on shipping and air travel in and out of Qatar.