Qumar is a fictional Middle Eastern country in the television show The West Wing. In many aspects it bears resemblance to the emirate of Qatar, but can also be seen as an amalgam of many standard clichés about the Middle East including oil wealth, radical Islam, state-sponsored terrorists, and the oppression of women. After the September 11th Attacks, it became the main venue for the show's terrorism subplots.
Maps in the background of some scenes have shown Qumar to be occupying a section of the Persian Gulf coast, on the north side of the Strait of Hormuz opposite the United Arab Emirates, which in real life is Iranian territory. The nation of Iran, however, also exists in the show. In addition, Qumar does not show up on maps of the Persian Gulf in later episodes, likely due in the real world to the crew forgetting about it but suggesting that perhaps in the West Wing universe it was annexed by Iran.
Jabal Nafusa (which in real life is in Libya) is a large city in Qumar, possibly its capital. Other important cities include Jatara, Salalah, Himms, Jasken and Tashken..
Qumar is an absolute monarchy, ruled by a dictatorial sultan and his family. The country is a former British protectorate. The nation was first introduced in the third season where it was mentioned as a close ally of the United States, but one that badly mistreated women. Also mentioned was the fact that America leases Kalifa Air Base in that nation, specifically in the Tiaret region, which has been there for some time. The lease was renewed in late 2001 and concludes in late 2011. Qumar was described as being a home for and financial supporter of the fictional Bahji terrorist group. The end of the third season saw President Bartlet order the assassination of the Qumari defense minister, Abdul ibn Shareef, on evidence he was a terrorist mastermind. Prior to that, Shareef had orchestrated a botched attempt to blow up the Golden Gate Bridge.
Qumar originally blamed Israel for the assassination. Bahji operatives, Qumari citizens educated in Qumar, shot down the plane carrying Ben Yousef, the Israeli foreign minister. In retaliation, Israel bombed two terrorist training camps in the north and south of Qumar using 8 Thunder Fighter jets. In response to this, Qumar launched the boat Mastico, which carried arms headed for the Bahji, which the U.S. stopped. The government requested access to a sophisticated weapons system, then the release of convicted Bahji operatives, then millions of dollars; however the U.S. forced the boat to turn around. The assassination and U.S. involvement became public knowledge just after Zoey Bartlet was kidnapped, thanks to investigative reporting by Washington Post White House reporter Danny Concannon.
At the end of the fourth season, while President Bartlet had temporarily relinquished his presidential powers under the provisions of the 25th Amendment, the United States bombed several terrorist training camps in the country, specifically in Tumar and Lani, after the kidnapping of Zoey Bartlet. In addition, the military also launched a limited ground invasion to detain and question suspects. President Bartlet, National Security Advisor Dr. Nancy McNally, Secretary of State Lewis Berryhill, White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry, and the U.N. secretary-general vehemently opposed these acts, mostly in light of the long-standing American-Qumari alliance.
Only a limited number of Qumari characters other than Shareef have appeared on the show, most notably Ali Nassir, the Qumari ambassador to the United Nations, and Prince Umar Usef, the Qumari ambassador to the United States.
Qumar continues on the show to be a U.S. ally, though the Sultan and other officials were extremely troubled by the assassination, bombing campaign, and invasion. As a result of the air strikes, gas pipelines were damaged, leading to economic troubles for the country and its European allies.
Qumar frequently bought military equipment from the United States, including F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighters, missiles, guns, and tanks, presumably M1 Abrams. In exchange for this equipment, Qumar made military bases avaliable to the United States.
Qumar is something of a compilation of the worst elements of Saudi Arabia and the Taliban. No country in real life has laws as harsh as those the show gives Qumar. No country allied with America is known by the public to harbor terrorist training camps other than Pakistan and, for some time, Lebanon.
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