Thus far, the citizens of Qatar have enjoyed impunity from terrorist kidnappings. Indeed, Qatar fancies itself as more of a mediator between terrorists and the rest of the world than as an active fighter against terrorism. And in that role as negotiator and financier, Qatar most likely felt immune to attack. But for how long can you play both sides of the fence? As arbitrator, Qatar has bankrolled several Sunni terrorist groups through Kidnapping For Ransom (KFR), such as ISIS and the Al-Qaeda branch in Syria, AL Nusra, in exchange for global praise and increased PR. Little did Qatar know that, as they were handing out millions to terrorists, and hoping to avoid confrontation, they also were putting the lives of their own citizens in imminent danger. Perhaps it was inevitable, but now we are watching as another terrorist organization (with potential ties to Hezbollah) issues demands on the small gulf country for the return of their very own citizens.
In exchange for 26 Qatari nationals, kidnapped in the deserts of Iraq, two demands have been issued: one for $100,000,000 and another for the release of four Lebanese Hezbollah leaders. Because Qatar has received so much negative publicity regarding its willingness to hand out cash, it’s no surprise that the financial aspect of the deal is being downplayed by Asharq al-Awsat in favor of disclosing the prisoner swap: Two of the Hezbollah leaders were kidnapped by Qatar’s friends, Al Nusra, and will (likely) be released without problem. However, the Hezbollah leaders captured by ISIS will likely require a further exchange of finances. A source speaking to Asharq al-Awsat says, “Matters are complicated on the ISIS front as there are no ways to negotiate in this regard.” In other words, Qatar’s relationship with ISIS is not as open and obvious as it is with Al Nusra.
Apparently the Shia group Hezbollah, having gotten wind of the fact that Qatar willingly pays millions of dollars to Sunni terrorists, through KFR, decided to use Qatar’s ransom-paying weakness to their own advantage. It’s hard not to point out the whole, "if you lie down with dogs you’re going to get fleas" cliché in this instance.