Qatar's PM wins suits against columnist who slammed his Israel policies

Qatar's prime minister has won three libel suits against a Kuwaiti daily and the paper's columnist over a series of editorials criticizing his open policy toward Israel. Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani, who also serves as Qatar's foreign minister, is known for developing contacts with Israel and seeking a more prominent regional role for Qatar. His lawyer, Hussein al-Gharib, says a Kuwaiti civil court found Al-Watan daily and columnist Fouad al-Hashem guilty of damaging Hamad's reputation. The court ordered them on Monday to pay a total of 9,001 dinars ($34,094) in damages to the premier. Al-Hashem says he "respects" the ruling but won't stop criticizing the top Qatari official. Qatar is home to Israel's only diplomatic mission in the Gulf.