In his November 18, 2019 column in the London-based daily Al-Arab, Tunisian writer and poet Habib Lassoued attacked the U.S., saying it was continuing to cultivate relations with Qatar and to praise it for its contribution to regional security while ignoring the extensive evidence of Qatar's support for global terrorism and Iran-sponsored terrorism. His column was a response to a November 16 Fox News report stating that Qatar had advance knowledge of Iran's intention to carry out the May 2019 attack on oil tankers off the coast of Al-Fujairah in the Gulf of Oman, UAE but had not informed its allies, specifically the U.S., in the matter. Lassoued maintained that the U.S. should take this report more seriously and respond more firmly to it and to the attack's damage to the security of its allies Saudi Arabia and the UAE. This weak American response, he said, raised questions about American credibility. He also asked why the U.S., which has many troops on Qatari soil, is also disregarding the Qatar-Iran military and intelligence alliance, and concluded that Qatar's plan is likely to collapse and that it will pay the price when the U.S. withdraws its support from it.
Habib Lassoued (Source: Alarab.co.uk, November 18, 2019)
The following are translated excerpts from Habib Lassoued's column:
"It comes as no surprise that in-depth investigations have proven that Qatar had prior knowledge of the May 2019 attack on the oil tankers off Al-Fujairah port. [The attack] was carried out by Iranian elements to demonstrate the Iranian regime's power in the shipping lanes of the Gulf and the Arabian Sea – especially those connected to the global energy markets – in a response to the U.S. sanctions on Iran...
"The international report quoted by the American Fox News [network] two days ago stated that Qatar knew of the Iranian attack in advance but did not warn its allies, the U.S., France, and Britain. Based on intelligence described as reliable, the authors of the report concluded that the naval unit of [Iran's] terrorist [Islamic] Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC] was responsible for the attacks at Al-Fujairah port, and that elements in the Iranian civilian government, as well as in Qatar, had known of these IRGC activities…
"...The countries in the region, particularly those leading the axis of the fight against terrorism [i.e. Saudi Arabia and the UAE], realized full well that Qatar's hands are stained with all forms of terrorism, including Iranian terrorism, and that the Doha-Tehran alliance is directed primarily against specific regional forces, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia topping the list. This is because the Iranians and the Qataris seek to settle scores with [these countries] via direct intelligence, political, and media coordination, as well as [coordination] on the ground.
"However, when the spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense says in response to the [Fox News] report that 'we do not discuss matters of intelligence,' it raises more than one question regarding the credibility of the U.S. reaction to Qatar's role in undermining the security of the region and the stability of the two U.S. allies [Saudi Arabia and the UAE]. Because [these countries] close to the U.S., the U.S. must be clearer in its handling of serious issues such as the attack on the tankers right on the UAE coast, or the [September 2019] attack on the Aramco facility in Saudi Arabia.
"For years, the U.S. has had sufficient evidence of Doha's support for terrorism in numerous countries, from Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq to Egypt's Sinai and the disaster-stricken Libya. But Washington keeps trying to ignore this, saying that Qatar is an important part of the regional security array. Anyone closely following events knows that there is no proof for this false statement – unless it means that Qatar is part of the array threatening the security of the region and thus ensuring that the countries in it are in constant need of U.S. protection.
"If we look at the scope and extent of the U.S. presence in Qatar – nearly all of which has become a U.S. forward base – we must wonder about Washington's motivation for allowing Doha to ally with Tehran, which the Americans call the region's foremost threat to their interests. This alliance has reached the extent of security, military, and strategic coordination, as is clearly implied by the information revealed about the Qataris' advance knowledge of the IRGC attack on the oil facilities.
"[Furthermore,] this may not be the only such incident, because there are many indications of Qatar's support of Iran's involvement in Yemen, Iraq... Gaza and the Horn of Africa. The silence of the West, and especially the U.S., about this support that only deepens the threat to the region's security is very conspicuous...
"Nobody denies Qatar's central role in supporting the forces of terrorism and extremism in the region. Moreover, some think that this role was assigned to it when its former emir, Hamad bin Khalifa, first came to power in 1995. This [Qatari involvement], which was proven [again] after the events of September 11, 2001, has two goals: The first, which is overt, is to contain the terrorists within isolated Islamic regimes that will arise on the ruins of sovereign civil nation states. The second, which is covert and is achieved by large [economic] companies, is to squander the region's resources. It is enough to point out that the Arab countries have so far lost some $900 million because of the false Arab Spring, which Doha was the first to endorse. Most of these resources... ended up in the hands of [economic] companies from various countries, of lobbies with various loyalties and fields of expertise, and of banks and financial firms affiliated with political forces that are influential in their countries and that impact their governments' positions – governments that we will later see throwing all their weight behind defending Qatar, even at the cost of turning a blind eye to its destructive actions.
"Qatar's problem is that it is implementing a plan that is too big for it – that is, to be a dagger in the heart of this region whose security and stability are under an attack whose aim is taking control of its resources and assets and eliminating its capabilities. The Qataris thought that they were setting the rules of the game, or that they could change its outcome to benefit the plan they are leading. But the game is actually being run by a referee [i.e. the U.S.] which is ignoring the players' fouls in order to ensure it gets the outcome it wants. This happened before past with Iran, which is now paying the price, and is happening [now] with Qatar, which will pay the price when it finishes the role with which it is charged."
 Foxnews.com, November 16, 2019. It should be noted that in response to this report, the Qatari Foreign Ministry denied, in a statement published only in English, that Qatar had had advance knowledge of Iran's intention to attack the oil tankers. Mofa.gov.qa/en, November 16, 2019.
 Al-Arab (London), November 18, 2019.