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Big Talk in Doha Omits Bahrain, Turkey, Insults of Royal Family

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 9 -- As Qatar provides arms into Syria, it pays to play peacemaker and intellectual locus, now with the US - Islamic World Forum.

  Brookings - Doha is there, many Western journalists are there. Husain Haqqani, Martin Indyk and US Under Secretary of State Tara Sonenshine are there; John Kerry will soon be there.

  What's NOT there, at least in the two four person groups on Sunday is any discussion of crackdowns in Bahrain and now Turkey.

  The question of involvement from Qatar in the kidnapping of UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights? Seemingly not the menu. Tellingly, very little mention of the UN. The UN is becoming, or has become, irrelevant.

  Even in the morning session about Afghanistan, there was almost no talk of the UN. They are there, with the UNAMA mission led by possible Ban Ki-moon successor Jan Kubis. But what is being accomplished?

  Raising big questions while some journalists joke-tweeted about the lack or delay of salad was Hamid Karzai. We spoke about the increase in number of universities in Afghanistan -- good thing -- but called the war on terror less successful. It has led to radicalism, he said, citing yesterday's death count in Benghazi.

  At least he was up to the moment. The other speeches, it's as if they didn't even watch CNN. No mention of tear gas and water cannons in Istanbul or #OccupyGezi. Outgoing OIC chief Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu didn't mention it. Is Ibrahim Gambari still vying to replace him?

  When the morning session broke for lunch, an MC gushed about the free Wi-Fi. Great: but don't insult the Royal family. A poet was initially sentenced to 15 years for such a poem. You won't hear that, either, at #USislam13. Watch this site.

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