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« on: October 03, 2014, 01:59:03 AM »*Editors%20Picks&utm_campaign=2014_EditorsPicks09%2F30RS  

I found this read quite interesting.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2017, 11:06:44 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2014, 11:56:03 AM »
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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2014, 11:46:56 AM »
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« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2014, 02:22:15 PM »
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« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2014, 08:24:29 PM »

second post

Guest Column: The Road from Qatar to the Gaza Strip
by Reuven Berko
Special to IPT News
October 15, 2014

 In a recent speech, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor mentioned the central role of Qatar in supporting international terrorist organizations. Money flowing from Qatar to Hamas, for example, paid for the terrorist attack tunnels dug from the Gaza Strip under the security fence into Israeli territory, and for the thousands of rockets fired at Israeli civilian targets in both the distant and recent past. In response, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf rushed to Qatar's defense, claiming it had an important, positive role in finding a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Qatar's funding for Islamist terrorist organizations all over the world is an open secret known to every global intelligence agency, including the CIA. It was exposed by Wikileaks, which clearly showed that funds from Qatar were transferred to al-Qaida. Qatar also funds the terrorist movements opposing the Assad regime in Syria, such as the Al-Nusra Front, encourages anti-Egyptian terrorism in the Sinai Peninsula and within Egypt itself, and is involved in Islamic terrorism in Africa and other locations. It accompanies its involvement in terrorism targeting Israel and Egypt (through the Muslim Brotherhood) with vicious and inflammatory propaganda on its Al-Jazeera TV channel.

Qatar also spends millions of dollars supporting the Islamic Movement in Israel, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood headed by Sheikh Ra'ed Salah. The Islamic Movement is responsible for ongoing acts of provocation on the Temple Mount and in Judea and Samaria, and incites the entire Islamic world against Israel, claiming that the Jews are trying to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque and replace it with the Jewish Temple. The incitement continued even as the Islamic Movement's sister movement, Hamas, fired rockets at Jerusalem and endangered both the mosques on the Temple Mount and Jerusalem's sites sacred to Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

As Qatar's representative, the Islamic Movement, which has not yet been outlawed in Israel, contributed to Hamas what it could during Operation Protective Edge by instigating riots, blocking roads and seeking to foment a third intifada which, according to the plan, would be joined by Israeli Arabs to augment the deaths of thousands of Israelis killed by rockets and the mass murders through the attack tunnels planned for the eve of the Jewish New Year.

In his recent UN speech, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rebutted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' accusations of Israeli "genocide" of the Palestinian people. He reminded his audience of Hamas' use of Gazan civilians as human shields and of the rockets fired to attack specifically civilian Israeli targets. Unfortunately, he did not mention the Hamas charter, which calls for the murder of all the Jews. The fact that Abbas now heads a national consensus government in which Hamas is a full partner commits him to the slaughter of the Jewish people – a true genocide – and it is to the disgrace of the international community that such an individual was permitted to address the UN instead of being tried for war crimes.

In fact, the similarities between Hamas and ISIS are clearly stated in the Hamas charter, which defines Hamas as part of the Muslim Brotherhood's global Islamic movement. One of its objectives is to fight "infidel Christian imperialism" and its Zionist emissaries in Israel in order to impose the Sharia, Islamic religious law, on the world. According to the charter's paragraph 7, Hamas' intention is to slaughter every Jew, as ordered by Muhammad and those who accept his legacy. That is the basis for the threat issued by ISIS "Caliph," Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, that under his leadership, Islam will "drown America in blood."

Throughout its history, Hamas, like ISIS, has been committed to the concept of the global caliphate, which it plans to help construct by creating its own Islamic emirate on the ruins of the State of Israel. Since its founding, Hamas has attacked Israel and murdered thousands of its citizens exactly as ISIS has attacked and murdered "infidels." They share the same slogans, with "There is no god but Allah" and "Allah, Prophet Muhammad" inscribed on their flags and headbands. Hamas terrorists have blown themselves up in Israel's coffee shops, hotels, restaurants, buses, malls and markets, wherever there are large concentrations of civilians. The way Hamas executed suspected collaborators during the final days of Operation Protective Edge bore the hallmarks of the al-Qaida execution of Daniel Pearl and the ISIS beheading of James Foley and others.

In the decades during which Hamas has carried out a continual series of deadly terrorist attacks against Israel, wearing the same "Allah, Prophet, Muhammad" headbands as ISIS terrorists, the international community rarely voices its support for Israel, or takes into account that by defending itself Israel also defends the West, which has failed to understand that "political Islam" inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood was setting up shop in the free world's backyard and that the ticking bomb was set to go off sooner than expected. The West has not clearly condemned Qatar for openly supporting Hamas and its terrorist activities against Israel or demanded that it stop.
While Israel responded to Hamas' rocket attacks on civilian targets to keep thousands, if not tens of thousands, of Israeli civilians from being killed, the international community demanded "proportionality." That requirement kept Israel from responding as it should have and encouraged Hamas to fire ever more rockets at "military targets" such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. When Israel built its security fence to keep Hamas suicide bombers from infiltrating into Israeli territory to blow themselves up in crowds of civilians, the international community opposed it, rushed to embrace the Palestinians' vocabulary of "racism" and "apartheid," and willingly played into the hands of Hamas and Abbas. This reaction occurred although Israel is the only truly democratic country in the Middle East, where Jews and Arabs can live in peace without "apartheid."

Today President Obama says he "underestimated" the threat posed by ISIS, while Israel has been warning the world of extremist military Islam for at least a decade, as Netanyahu warned the world of a nuclear Iran in his UN speech.

The international community has been curiously silent about the genuine apartheid in the Arab states neighboring Israel. There, descendants of the original 1948 Palestinian refugees, by now in their fourth generation, still live in refugee camps, do not have citizenship, and are excluded from jobs and social benefits. Israel, however, absorbed hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees, many of them destitute, who fled Europe and were expelled from the Arab countries when the state was founded, and were given citizenship and enjoy full rights, as do the Arabs who remained in Israel after the War of Independence.

Israel, which has nothing against the Palestinian people, would like to see the Gaza Strip rebuilt for both humanitarian reasons and to give Hamas something to lose. Radical Islamic elements around the globe, however, including Hamas, ISIS, al-Qaida, the Al-Nusra Front and Hizballah, all financed by Qatar, do not want to see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolved. They all have the same global agenda, based on fueling the conflict to unite Islam around it, under their leadership.

Therefore, Qatar continues to support global Islamic terrorism. On Sept. 13, Qatar paid the Al-Nusra Front a ransom of $20 million to free abducted UN soldiers from Fiji. The world praised Qatar for its philanthropy, but in effect, it was a brilliant act of manipulation and fraud, both filling the Al-Nusra Front's coffers and representing itself as the Fijians' savior. Qatar is using the same underhanded trick in the Gaza Strip. After sending Hamas millions of dollars to fund its anti-Israeli terrorist industry, it pledged $1 billion to help rebuild the Gaza Strip during last weekend's conference in Cairo.

While the world hopes Operation Protective Edge was the last round of Palestinian-Israeli violence, senior Hamas figures reiterate their position of gearing up to fight Israel again. Not one Hamas leader is willing to agree to a full merger with the Palestinian Authority to establish a genuine unified Palestinian leadership. Hamas rejects even the idea of disarming or demilitarization as part of an agreement to rebuild the Gaza Strip and promote the peace process. Unfortunately, no one has suggested it as a pre- condition for any U.S. dollars that will be contributed to the reconstruction of Gaza.

All that is left now is to hope that the billions of dollars poured into the Gaza Strip for its rebuilding will be accompanied by the disarmament of Hamas and the establishment of an honest mechanism for overseeing the money and materials Egypt and Israel allow into the Gaza Strip. It is imperative that they not be diverted to rebuild Hamas' terrorist infrastructure and tunnels, or to bribe UNRWA officials to look the other way, as has happened so often in the past. There is every indication that only Hamas and Qatar know whether there is anything to justify that hope.

Dr. Reuven Berko has a Ph.D. in Middle East studies, is a commentator on Israeli Arabic TV programs, writes for the Israeli daily newspaper Israel Hayom and is considered one of Israel's top experts on Arab affairs.
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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2014, 12:50:45 PM »

IPT Exclusive: Qatar's Insidious Influence on the Brookings Institution
A Four Part Investigative Series: Brookings Sells Soul to Qatar's Terror Agenda
by Steven Emerson, John Rossomando and Dave Yonkman
IPT News
October 28, 2014

Part 1 of a 4-part series.

The Brookings Institution bills itself as "the most influential, most quoted and most trusted think tank in the world," but should it be?

Brookings' long-term relationship with the Qatari government – a notorious supporter of terror in the Middle East – casts a dark cloud over such a lofty claim to credibility.
A September New York Times exposé revealed Qatar's status as the single largest foreign donor to the Brookings Institution. Qatar gave Brookings $14.8 million in 2013, $100,000 in 2012 and $2.9 million in 2011. In 2002, Qatar started subsidizing the Brookings outreach program to the Muslim World which has continues today. Between 2002 and 2010, Brookings never disclosed the annual amount of funds provided by the Government of Qatar.

Sources of funding should not automatically discredit an organization, but critical facts and claims about Brookings should be examined in light of them, starting with a harsh indictment by a former scholar.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism has reviewed the proceedings of 12 annual conferences co-sponsored by Brookings and the government of Qatar comprising more than 125 speeches, interviews, lectures and symposia; a dozen Brookings-based programs that were linked to the Qatari financed outreach to the Muslim world; and analyzed 27 papers sponsored and issued by the Brookings Institution and scholars based in Washington and at the Brookings Doha Center since 2002. Our review, which will be detailed in a four-part series beginning with this story, finds an organization that routinely hosts Islamists who justify terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and American troops, who advocate blasphemy laws which would criminalize criticism of Islam, and which never scrutinizes or criticizes the government of Qatar, its largest benefactor.

"[T]there was a no-go zone when it came to criticizing the Qatari government," Saleem Ali, who served as a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar in 2009, told the New York Times.

"If a member of Congress is using the Brookings reports, they should be aware — they are not getting the full story. They may not be getting a false story, but they are not getting the full story." Ali noted that he had been told during his job interview that taking positions critical of the Qatari government in papers would not be allowed, a claim Brookings vigorously denies.

"Our scholars, in Doha and elsewhere, have a long record of objective, independent analysis of regional affairs, including critical analysis of the policies of Qatar and other governments in the region," Brookings President Strobe Talbott said in response to the Times story.

Unfortunately for Talbott, Qatar's own Ministry of Foreign Affairs openly acknowledges that the partnership gives Qatar exactly what it wants: a public-relations outlet that projects "the bright image of Qatar in the international media, especially the American ones," a statement announcing a 2012 memorandum of understanding with Brookings said.

Indeed, their close collaboration stretches back more than a decade.

After Islamist terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pa. on September 11, 2001, the Brookings Institution looked to Qatar to answer the question, "Why do they hate us?"

Former Qatari emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani answered Brookings' call in 2002, providing the think tank with the necessary seed money and resources to initiate its engagement with the Islamic world.

The alliance culminated with the 2002 Doha Conference on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, co-sponsored by the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and Qatar. Qatar underwrote the conference's cost.

Ambassador Martin Indyk, who headed the Saban Center at the time, and other Brookings leaders noted their desire to "build strong bridges of friendship" and avoid a "clash of civilizations."

Indyk took a leave of absence from Brookings in 2013 and the first half of 2014 to serve as President Obama's envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Indyk placed excessive blame on Israel for their failure.

At an April 2013 Brookings forum in Washington, Indyk mentioned that he and Qatar's al-Thani had remained friends for "two decades." This relationship dates to when Indyk served as special assistant to President Clinton and senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs at the National Security Council.

Indyk noted that he approached the sheik after the 9/11 attacks, informing him that Brookings planned to launch a project focused on American engagement with the Islamic world.

"And he said immediately, 'I will support it, but you have to do the conference in Doha.' And I said, 'Doha, well that sounds like an interesting idea,'" Indyk said at the 2013 forum. "Three years into that, he suddenly then told me we want to have a Brookings in Doha. And I said, 'Well, okay, we'll have a Brookings in Doha, too,' and we ended up with the Brookings Doha Center" (BDC), in 2008."

Brookings' Qatar-based scholars see their host country with rosy spectacles, ignoring the emirate's numerous terror ties.

Sultan Barakat, research director at the Brookings Doha Center (BDC), portrayed Qatar as an emerging peacemaker in the Muslim world and as a force for good in a 2012 report titled, "The Qatari Spring: Qatar's Emerging Role In Peacemaking."

"… [D]uring the Arab Spring, Qatar has emerged as a 'reformer'; that is, as a vocal and progressive leader of modern Arab nations, with the willingness and the capacity to utilize a broad range of both hard- and soft-power initiatives to achieve its foreign policy goals," Barakat wrote.

Highlighting Qatar as a regional peacemaker seems strange in the light of its longstanding support for Hamas and allegations that its leaders aided al-Qaida in the past. Cables released by Wikileaks and other U.S. government documents demonstrate these connections proved disturbing to American policymakers.

"Qatar's overall level of [counter-terrorism] cooperation with the U.S. is considered the worst in the region," a top level U.S. State Department official wrote in a secret Dec. 30, 2009 State Department cable. "Al-Qaida, the Taliban, UN-1267 listed LeT (Pakistan's Lakshar- e-Taiba), and other terrorist groups exploit Qatar as a fundraising locale."
The official also noted that Qatar's security services fail to act against known terrorists because the Gulf state feared terrorist reprisals "out of concern for appearing to be aligned with the U.S." Another 2008 State Department cable noted that Qatar's government "has often been unwilling to cooperate on designations of certain terrorist financiers."

Qatar's royal family has a long history of harboring terrorists. Former Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Abdallah bin Khalid bin Hamad al-Thani, a member of the royal family, personally invited 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to relocate his family from Pakistan to the emirate during the 1990s, according to the 9/11 Commission Report. Mohammed accepted a position as project engineer with the Qatari Ministry of Electricity and Water which he held until 1996, when he fled back to Pakistan to evade capture by the United States.

Mohammed dedicated much of his considerable travel while working for the ministry to terrorist activity.

Qatar Charity, formerly the Qatar Charitable Society and currently headed by Hamad bin Nasser al-Thani, a member of Qatari royal family, demonstrates a lingering link between Qatar and terror financing.

Russia's interior minister accused Qatar Charitable Society of funneling money to Chechen jihadist groups in 1999. Al-Thani responded to the accusation in a 1999 interview with Al-Jazeera, saying his government would not interfere with the funding because the Russian actions in Chechnya were "painful for us as Qatari, Arab, or Muslim citizens."
Qatar Charitable Society played a key role in financing the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, according to the U.S. government.

Recent reports suggest the charity's connection with al-Qaida persists. Maliweb, a U.S.-based independent news source, accused Qatar Charity of significantly financing "the terrorists in northern Mali operations." French military intelligence reports accused Qatar of funding Ansar Dine – a group that works closely with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb – and MUJAO in Mali at the time of France's January 2013 intervention.

U.S. court documents note additional ties between Qatar Charity and al-Qaida dating back to the 1990s. Osama bin Laden complained to an al-Qaida member following a failed 1995 assassination attempt against former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that the then-Qatar Charitable Society funds had been spent in the operation. Consequently, the terror mastermind became concerned that his ability to exploit charities for al-Qaida's ends would be compromised.

Qatar also funded the Ahfad al-Rasoul Brigade in Syria, which engaged in joint operations with Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaida's Syrian affiliate.

Qatar played a similar role in Libya where it has openly funded and armed jihadists. IHS Jane's Defence Weekly found that Qatar sent a C-17 cargo plane to provide arms to a
militia loyal to Abdelhakim Belhadj, a Libyan warlord who fought alongside Osama bin Laden in Tora Bora in 2001 and was in touch with the leader of the 2004 Madrid train bombing.

Brookings scholar Bruce Reidel openly acknowledged in a Dec. 3, 2012 piece published in The Daily Beast that Syria's al-Qaida branch benefitted from arms supplied by Qatar.
In a separate Aug. 28, 2013 column in Foreign Policy magazine titled, "The Qatar problem," Brookings scholar Jeremy Shapiro observed that Qatar had undermined "U.S. efforts to isolate and delegitimize Hamas." Shapiro laid blame for Qatar's misbehavior at the feet of American policymakers. Yet he argued that the U.S. should not "oppose Qatar at every turn" and that it should "thus should seek to get the best deal on every transaction" with the emirate, which he classed as neither a friend nor a foe of the United States.
However, such observations have not translated into public criticism of Qatar or recommendations that the emirate alter its stances by Indyk, Talbott or other top people who been involved in managing Brookings' partnership with Qatar. They also have not brought about any public talk of reassessing Brookings relationship with the emirate.
The think tank denies that Qatari money and the involvement of a senior member of the emirate's royal family in its BDC translates into subservience to Qatar's foreign policy objectives.

"Brookings is an independent research institution, none of whose funders are able to determine its research projects," Indyk said after the New York Times story. "I hope nobody really believes that I cashed a check for $14.8 million dollars, which is what's going around in right-wing Jewish circles. We should all take a deep breath about some of these lurid, scandalous stories."

The figure Indyk cites stems from Brookings Foreign Government Disclosure. The nearby United Arab Emirates ranked a distant second among foreign government donors with a $3 million donation in 2010 and another $3 million in 2012.

Qatari involvement in Brookings goes beyond conventional donor relations, evidenced by Sheik Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Thani's appointment as chairman of the BDC's board of advisers.

Even if Qatar exerts no overt control over Brookings' activities and policy positions, partnering with Qatar to discuss bridge-building with the Islamic world following 9/11 appears peculiar considering the oil-rich emirate's established ties with Islamic extremist groups and individuals at the time of the attacks.

Heritage Foundation scholar James Phillips slammed Brookings' cooperation with Qatar in comments to the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

"Qatar finances foreign entities for a reason: to advance its own foreign policy goals, which entail working closely with Islamist ideologues to empower Sunni Arab movements, including Hamas," Phillips said. "By accepting Qatar's money, Brookings risks appearing to be a tool of Qatar and unfortunately could help to legitimize such Islamist groups in the West.

"The implicit quid pro quo inherent in accepting money from foreign governments is one reason that the Heritage Foundation does not accept funding from foreign governments, which often attach strings to their donations, or even from the U.S. government."

Despite denials from both Talbott and Indyk, numerous examples illustrate how Brookings' pro-Qatar bias manifests itself, not always in what its Qatar-based scholars say, but in what they omit. A review of Brookings studies mentioning Qatar finds a consistent description of the emirate as a force for peace; complimenting its commitment to democracy and human rights; and education.

Even worse, Brookings reports gloss over the harsh realities of jihad terror and Islamism, instead recommending that the U.S. reach out to and cooperate with Islamist and jihadist groups.

Brookings calls for U.S. rapprochement with al-Qaida-linked group

In a January Foreign Policy magazine piece, Brookings scholars Will McCants, Michael Doran and Clint Watts urged the Obama administration against classifying Ahrar al-Sham, an organization backed by Turkey and Qatar and linked to al-Qaida, as a terror organization. Ahrar al-Sham founder Mohamed Bahiaiah, aka Abu Khalid al-Suri, was a senior al-Qaida operative, and the group routinely fights alongside Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), both of which were affiliated with al-Qaida at the time.
Al-Qaida leaders mourned the Islamic State's killing of Ahrar al-Sham's top leadership in September on their Twitter accounts.

"The al Qaeda of yesterday is gone. What is left is a collection of many different splinter organizations, some of which have their own – and profoundly local – agendas. The U.S. response to each should be, as Obama put it, 'defined and specific enough that it doesn't lead us to think that any horrible actions that take place around the world that are motivated in part by an extremist Islamic ideology are a direct threat to us or something that we have to wade into,'" the Brookings scholars wrote.

They argued that U.S. policymakers required "flexibility" in dealing with Ahrar al-Sham because it stood as a lesser of two evils when compared to the greater threat posed by ISIS.

"The Islamic Front, including Ahrar al-Sham, represents the best hope in Syria for defeating ISIS," the article said. "[D]esignating Ahrar al-Sham as a terrorist group would destroy what little chance the United States has of building relationships with the other militias in the Islamic Front."

Thus far, the Obama administration has not designated Ahrar al-Sham as a terrorist group despite its intimate ties to al-Qaida.

An October 2013 report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Ahrar al-Sham of war crimes.

Brookings' support for the Muslim Brotherhood

Peter W. Singer, co-coordinator of the 2002 conference, wrote in the conference's proceedings that "moderate," e.g. non-violent, Islamist parties needed inclusion in the political systems of majority Muslim countries.

"In dealing with burgeoning democracies, a general finding is that outside parties should support integration of Islamist parties into [the] political system rather than exclusion," Singer wrote. "The key is that inclusion helps moderates moderate, rather than forcing them outside the power structures, into possible violence."

Recent experience in Egypt discredits the theory. Egypt's MB pursued an authoritarian course during its year in power and supported its Palestinian sibling, Hamas, despite its access to Egypt's political process. Even some liberals conceded Egypt's Brotherhood proved itself incapable of adapting to democratic norms during its tenure.

Yet Brookings scholars continued to advocate including the MB in Egypt's political process in the wake of its defeat, even while conceding its authoritarian tendencies.
Tamara Cofman Wittes, director of Brookings' Center for Middle East Policy, suggests that Islamists, including those in the MB, Jordan's Islamic Action Front and Morocco's Party of Justice and Development, differ from groups such as Hamas or al-Qaida. She argues that they "want to transform society and government into something that is more 'Islamic,'" but aim to do so below the radar rather than through revolutionary change.

Wittes conceded that MB President Mohamed Morsi governed in an "exclusionary manner that derailed Egypt's nascent democratic transition," in a July 4, 2013 piece published the day after Morsi's ouster.

Nonetheless, any effort to ban the MB and "forcibly secularize the public sphere" would alienate the majority of Egyptians who believe politics should reflect Islamic values, Wittes warned. She predicted that any attempt by the military to purge the Brotherhood from public life would lead to "destabilizing social conflict." Her piece additionally labeled Morsi's departure a "coup" even as she admitted that millions of Egyptians took to the streets demanding it.

A month later, Wittes petitioned the Obama administration to cut off military aid to Egypt's military leaders.

"The United States must establish distance from an Egyptian military that's stoking vicious anti-Americanism, violating human rights, and revitalizing the repressive apparatus of the old dictatorship," Wittes wrote. "That means doing what should have been done on July 3 and complying with the Foreign Assistance Act.

"This law requires that aid be halted in the face of a military coup until a democratic government is restored."

Wittes also warned on multiple occasions that the crackdown would lead MB members to resort to terror. Writing with Daniel Byman, director of research and a senior fellow at Brookings' Center for Middle East Policy, they warned that Morsi's dismissal lent credibility to al-Qaida's view that participation in electoral politics was "treacherous" and that the "Islamist project could be only advanced through violence."

"Morsi's tenure forced the Brotherhood to accede to measures to contain Hamas in Gaza, but the coup gives the Brotherhood incentives to strengthen ties with its terrorist cousins," Byman and Wittes wrote in a Jan. 10, 2014 column titled "Now that the Muslim Brotherhood is declared a terrorist group, it might just become one," published in the Washington Post. "If even if a fraction of the millions of Brotherhood supporters embrace violence, that means tens of thousands of Egyptians are potential recruits for jihadis."
Two weeks later, Byman and Wittes followed up these sentiments by imploring American policymakers to pressure the Egyptian government "to allow paths for Brotherhood supporters to participate in legitimate political and social activity."

"To sustain a peaceful alternative for Brotherhood supporters, you should press the Egyptian government to release from prison Islamist politicians who commit to non-violence, and to allow a range of Islamist parties to organize, compete in elections, and participate in governance," Byman and Wittes wrote.

Brookings scholar Shadi Hamid, former research director at the BDC, disputed his colleagues' alarmism at the April launch of his book about the Egyptian MB's missteps. Hamid noted that no credible evidence existed that MB members had joined Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis as a consequence of the crackdown.

Brookings' support for Turkey's Islamization

In addition to lamenting the fate of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, Brookings scholars use a light touch when discussing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Erdogan's Turkey embodies a sort of American-style secularism in which religion and government remain separate, yet a visible role for theology remains in public life, visiting BDC Fellow Ahmet T. Kuru wrote in a February 2013 paper. The AKP is a "model for governance" for Islamists throughout the Middle East, demonstrating the possibility of "pursuing Muslim politics without establishing an 'Islamic state.'"

"Islamic parties can also promote diverse understanding of shariah [Islamic law] through free and democratic processes," Kuru wrote. "Internationally, the AKP has succeeded in convincing the United States and European countries that a party with roots in Islamism can be a reliable ally.

Turkey's refusal to fight the Islamic State (IS), formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, amid its onslaught against the Kurds underscores the NATO member's failure as an ally. Turkish troops sit idle on their side of the border with Syria even as the terrorist army squeezes the Kurds. Erdogan equates the Kurdish groups that have fought the Turkish government for decades with IS, and has been reluctant to cooperate unless the West turns its guns on the Assad regime.

Evidence suggests double-dealing between Turkey and IS using the Turkish charity Humanitarian Aid Foundation (IHH) as an intermediary. Turkey's intelligence service MIT is known to have maintained close ties with IHH and has been alleged to have unofficially funded the charity since 2003.

The charity allegedly smuggled weapons into Syria for use by various jihadist factions including IS. Some members of Turkey's parliament became so alarmed by these allegations that they wrote to Erdogan and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu asking for an explanation of the Turkish government's relations with IS this summer.
"One could argue that the AKP experience in the 2000s is one of the reasons why Western countries are today tolerant toward Islamists in states affected by the Arab Spring," Kuru wrote.

Turkish opponents, however, insist that AKP's pragmatism serves as a means to an end. Under AKP rule, the strict secularism introduced by Turkey's founder, Kemal Mustafa Attaturk, has eroded. Government policies encourage religious sects economically and assist them in expanding their causes, Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News newspaper reports in a 2008 article.

Secularists assert that such policies expose them to discrimination.

"Some social pressures, such as the government-origin discrimination and compulsion against the secularists, the activities of the religious sects in education, the isolation of secularists from economic life, alcohol bans, intolerance toward people who do not fast during Ramadan, and compulsory attendance at Friday prayers, show the presence of a new atmosphere which did not exist," the article said.

Talk of turning Istanbul's Hagia Sophia, formerly Byzantine Christianity's holiest church, into a mosque this summer over Orthodox Christian objections highlights the trend. Tens of thousands of Islamists protested outside the religious site in June demanding that Erdogan reopen it to Muslim worship.

AKP's Turkish critics maintain that it has a "flawed understanding of democracy" and accuse it of speaking the language of pluralism in a "selective way." Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian tendencies highlight this failing.

A 2014 HRW report explores the erosion of basic democratic freedoms under the AKP, including press autonomy, freedom of assembly, women's rights and the rule of law.
The report does not begin to cover Erdogan's role in supporting Islamist terror groups such as Hamas and his rumored double-dealing with the Islamic State.

Israeli intelligence provides evidence of Turkey's emergence as Hamas' top financial backer since 2012. Erdogan's government transferred $250 million to Hamas between 2012 and January 2014. It happened with the "full support of Erdogan and his aides."

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal spoke with Erdogan in October 2013 about moving its headquarters from Qatar to Turkey, and many key Hamas operatives operate there.
Whitewashing conditions inside Qatar

The Brookings Doha Center "also works to contribute to the local society, supporting the National Vision's goals of human and social development in Qatar," Director Salman Shaikh wrote in an April opinion piece. "At the same time, the Center's publications and public events foster Qatar's 'knowledge economy' by promoting a culture of informed citizenship."

Such studies read like propaganda designed to encourage foreign investment in the emirate rather than provide complete and unvarnished truth.

Reality in Qatar is quite different from the picture Brookings paints. Human Rights Watch notes that only 10 percent of Qatar's population of 2 million are citizens. Most are foreign migrants who live under conditions that HRW describes as those of "exploitation" and "forced labor." Shaikh makes no mention of this.

The January HRW report also finds that "[d]omestic migrant workers, almost all women, are especially vulnerable to abuse," and that Qatar's standards fall well short of international labor norms.

"Qatar's record on freedom of expression causes concern. In February, an appeals court affirmed the conviction of a Qatari poet for incitement to overthrow the government over poems critical of Qatar's then-emir," HRW wrote.

None of these independent observations appear in any Brookings reports published by its Doha-based scholars.

Building one-way bridges

Brookings engaged with Qatar 12 years ago, seeking to build bridges with the Muslim world, but that bridge seems to steer traffic in one direction. As subsequent stories in this series will show, Muslim participants in its Doha conferences remain unflinching in their support for Hamas and other Palestinian terror factions. Brookings scholars, similar to their Islamist partners, now unequivocally classify al-Qaida and similar groups as terrorists while attaching caveats to describing Hamas in the same vein.

Such a shift marks a clear victory for Qatar.
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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2014, 05:06:54 PM »

Qatar - Where Obama sent released Guantanamo terrorists .....

Today's Opinion
The Role of Hamas and Fatah in the Jerusalem Disturbances
Everyone is competing for Qatar money – a fact that only spurs local groups
towards greater levels of violence

Pinhas Inbari October 26, 2014
Jerusalem Issue Briefs Vol. 14, No. 34

The Muslim Brotherhood seeks to unite all of the region’s Islamic movements
around the idea of the Muslim Caliphate with the Al-Aqsa Mosque as its hub.

-Hamas’ Khaled Mashal lives in Qatar and has helped the Qataris realize that
by ratcheting up the Palestinian issue they can reignite the passion of the
Arab masses throughout the Arab world in support of the Muslim Brotherhood.

-Fatah’s Silwan (Jerusalem) branch was quick to glorify the hit-and-run
killer of the three-month-old American-Israeli baby, Chaya Zissel Braun. On
the issue of funding Fatah activity in Jerusalem, eyes are turned to Qatar.

-Both Fatah and Hamas compete for Qatar’s favor, provoking greater levels of
violence on the ground in Jerusalem.

The deterioration of the security situation in Jerusalem cannot be
understood only on the Israeli-Palestinian level; it is umbilically
connected to the chaos in the Middle East and to the great struggle between
the moderate Sunni regimes and the Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks to make
the Jerusalem issue a rallying cry of the “Arab Storm.” The Brotherhood’s
strategy hopes to unite all of the region’s Islamic movements around the
idea of the Muslim Caliphate with the Al-Aqsa Mosque as its hub.

As demonstrated during Operation Protective Edge, the Brotherhood flaunted
the banner “the siege of Gaza” to incite European Muslims to demonstrate in
the streets with their leftist allies, thereby advancing the status of Islam
on the Christian continent. Today, the Muslim jihadists use the “Save
Jerusalem” campaign to again bring millions of agitated Muslims into the
streets of Europe.

Before the recent hit-and-run terror attack on a Jerusalem light rail
platform that killed an American-Israeli infant, the head of Hamas’
Political Bureau, Khaled Mashal, published a special announcement calling
“on our people to hasten immediately to defend Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa, and on
the Muslim nation to send a painful message of rage to the world that the
Palestinian people and with them the Arab and Islamic nation will not keep
quiet about Israeli crime.”1 Thus, in Hamas’s view it is the Jerusalem issue
that can place the Palestinians at the forefront of the revolution unfolding
in the Arab world, and of the Muslim awakening in Europe.

A Call to Muslim Faithful to Converge on Jerusalem

The clarion call of Al-Aqsa was sounded by the eminent Muslim Brotherhood
jurist, Doha-based Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, when in Cairo’s Tahrir Square
in February 2011, immediately after the ouster of President Mubarak, he
called for Al-Aqsa’s liberation. Subsequently, he published a book titled
Jerusalem: The Problem of Every Muslim.2 In the introduction, the preeminent
scholar of the Muslim Brotherhood says, “O nation of Islam, arise, the hour
has come, and the hour of danger beckons – to Jerusalem, to Jerusalem –
Al-Aqsa, Al-Aqsa!”

Sheikh Qaradawi got into a bitter polemic with the head of the Palestinian
Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, after Abbas called to inundate Jerusalem with
massive Muslim tourism so as to preserve its Muslim nature in the face of
the “Judaization of the city.” Sheikh Qaradawi has ruled that visiting
Jerusalem is forbidden so long as it is under Israeli occupation;3 Jerusalem
must be liberated by force and not by “tourism.”4

The leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh
Raed Salah, who belongs to the circles closest to Sheikh Qaradawi,5 stated
that “Jerusalem is the capital of the imminently approaching Islamic

In monitoring Hamas’s websites, one gets the impression that pressure to sow
discord in Jerusalem greatly intensified after the overthrow of former
Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood
there and its designation as a terrorist movement.7 Meanwhile, a crisis
erupted between Saudi Arabia and Qatar over the funding of the Brotherhood
branches in the Arab world, including Hamas, based on the claim that these
are terror organizations.8 Presumably, Qatar tried indirectly to help the
Brotherhood in Egypt by inspiring support for them on the Jerusalem issue.
It is also evident that in Syria, Qatar has funded an attempt to establish
terror groups that put Jerusalem at the top of their concerns, such as the
“Al-Aqsa Army.”

The fact that Khaled Mashal is living in Qatar has helped the Qataris
realize that by ratcheting up the Palestinian issue it can reignite the
passion of the Arab masses throughout the Arab world in support of the
Muslim Brotherhood. As we saw in Operation Protective Edge, Qatar dictated a
tough line against a ceasefire in the hope of bringing the Arab masses out
into the streets. Qatar failed in the Arab world – but succeeded in Europe.

Muslim Brotherhood Pressures Jordan

The use of the Jerusalem issue to exert pressure on the Arab world in
general has greatly increased the pressure on Jordan, which was recognized
in its peace treaty with Israel as custodian of the Jerusalem holy places.9
The pretension of the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood movement to represent the
Jerusalem issue has led the Brotherhood in Jordan to censure the Hashemite
government in this regard and question whether Jordan is really safeguarding

The fact that the Palestinian Authority has joined Hamas’s campaign to “Save
Al-Aqsa,” notwithstanding the agreement that the Authority has signed with
Jordan, will likely lead to difficulties between the latter two. King
Abdullah has harshly castigated Israel on the Jerusalem issue;11 it must be
understood that he himself is in distress.

During the two previous intifadas, Fatah of Jerusalem in fact took pains to
exclude Jerusalem from the sphere of the conflict. Fatah sources say it was
indeed the Fatah Tanzim in Jerusalem that told Arafat, “The interest of the
residents of east Jerusalem in steadfastness – sumud – requires excluding
them from the sphere of violence.” Hence, whereas the West Bank and Gaza
engaged in terror, the Fatah Tanzim made the struggle an issue of sumud,
such as safeguarding illegal construction; and even though the Second
Intifada was dubbed the “Al-Aqsa Intifada,” Fatah took care to distance it
from the holy place.

Today, the situation is the opposite: quiet Gaza is licking its wounds, the
West Bank is also – relatively – quiet, while most of the focus is on
Jerusalem. The main reason is a drastic decline in support for Fatah in
Jerusalem, so that it is the Islamic movements such as Hamas and the
international Hizb ut-Tahrir movement, which advocates a caliphate, that are
directing the events. For Fatah there is nothing left but to be pulled along
by Hamas.

Looking for Qatari Funding

With an eye to the seventh Fatah conference, planned for the end of the year
though its date has not yet been set, Abbas met with members of the
“Jerusalem district” of Fatah. Fatah sources in Jerusalem say that the
makeup of the cadres has been changed so that “street punks” and even the
“underworld” have been recruited to foment an intifada in Jerusalem. They
have demanded payment for their activity but so far no budget has been
provided to them. Legal costs for those arrested are supposed to have been
paid, but receipt of the funds is not certain.

Fatah’s Silwan (Jerusalem) branch was quick to glorify the hit-and-run
killer of the three-month-old American-Israeli baby, Chaya Zissel Braun,
posting an obituary for the murderer on its official Facebook page, and also
using the words “heroic Martyr.”12

On the issue of funding Fatah activity in Jerusalem, eyes are turned to
Qatar, the great financier of all the movements that are undermining
regional stability, including in Israel. The large sums evidently being used
by the websites of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood to wage the Jerusalem
campaign indicate that much Qatari money has already flowed their way, and
Fatah is now waiting in line.

Fatah’s very weak standing in the Al-Aqsa compound was apparent in the
attack –wild to the point of life-endangering — on Palestinian religious
affairs minister Mahmoud al-Habash when he visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque at the
end of June this year. His attackers were Hamas and Hizbat ut-Tahrir men,
and the Palestinian Authority’s security forces had a very hard time
rescuing him. 13 The joint attack also conveyed a message that these two
movements, which have struggled over hegemony on the Mount, have reconciled
and are now acting in unison.

Yet everyone is competing for Qatar money – a fact that only spurs local
groups towards greater levels of violence. Fatah’s joining of the Al-Aqsa
campaign as a wagon hitched to fundamentalist Qatar may well herald a
takeover of Ramallah by the radical Islamic movements – unless the
Palestinian Authority regains its bearings in time.

* * *
Roger Gerber explains:
Jerusalem has been subjected recently to a steady barrage of violence against both civilians and infrastructure, resulting in both loss of life and serious damage to about one-thrid of the city's light rail cars.  Palestinian Authority President Abbas has spread unfounded incendiary rumors among his populace to the effect that Israeli settlers were "desecrating" Al-Aqsa Mosque and, in a public speech last week, he asserted that "We must stop them (the settlers) from entering by any means possible."  It should be noted that under both Arafat and Abbas whenever it was deemed necessary to stir up the populace the imaginary threat against al-Aqsa Mosque was invoked (the brutal second intifada was even dubbed the "Al-Aqsa Intifada"). Accordingly, P.M Netanyahu has charged that "the attacks in Jerusalem are supported by P.A. Chairman Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] who both extols the murderers and embraces the organization that the terrorists belong to, Hamas".  Israel's Ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, on October 26 averred that Mahmoud Abbas is “an enemy of Israel, who educates children to hate Jews and wants to establish a Judenrein” state.  One wonders whether our State Department is truly oblivious to all this or just pretends not to see or hear it.  The following analysis by Pinhas Inbari should be read in conjunction with the complementary piece by Nadav Shragai distributed simultaneously.]





4 Sheikh Kamal Hativ of the Islamic Movement in Israel said in response to a
visit to Al-Aqsa by Egyptian religious figures that “Jerusalem will receive
these ulema as conquerors and not as tourists.”

5 At one point it was reported that Sheikh Raed Salah had attacked Sheikh
Qaradawi for a ruling that forbade tourism in Jerusalem. Sheikh Raed Salah
hastened to publish a special announcement denying this; on the contrary, he
recognized Sheikh Qaradawi’s authority “as head of the World Federation of
Muslim Scholars.” He supported the sheikh’s visit to Gaza in lieu of
Jerusalem because “Gaza has already been liberated.”,48852


7 Thus, for example, several campaigns were inaugurated such as “Al-Aqsa Is
Ours and Is Not Your Temple,” which were disseminated via Facebook to the
whole Arab world and even to Europe.


9 Even after the Palestinian Authority joined UNESCO, Jordan forced Ramallah
to ratify Jordan’s status as custodian of Al-Aqsa and as the representative
of Jerusalem in UNESCO.





About Pinhas Inbari

Pinhas Inbari is a veteran Arab affairs correspondent who formerly reported
for Israel Radio and Al Hamishmar newspaper, and currently serves as an
analyst for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
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« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2017, 07:53:59 PM »

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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2017, 03:19:45 PM »

June 07, 2017
The Qatar "Crisis"
I asked an informed source about this "crisis" that seems to have recently erupted without warning. This is what I learned:

First of all, though there's some recent news which seems to be sparking this -- leaked documents showing cooperation between the UAE and Israel, leaked documents showing Qatar cozying up to Russia -- in fact, those are just shots being fired in an information operation war that has been going on for years. Those are not the cause of the tensions, just the recent signs that the Gulf States are no longer willing to paper over its problems with Qatar.

Although states like Saudi Arabia are frequently charged with inciting terrorism or permitting their citizens to fund terrorism, they are, at least officially, anti-terrorist-uprising/anti-Islamist-takeover, if only for reasons of self-preservation. States that align against destablilization by Islamists are Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait.

And Egypt, which was briefly given to the Islamists, gift-wrapped by Barack Obama.

Also Jordan, a fairly friendly country, and also, kind of secretly, Israel. The Gulf States do not openly brag about their cooperation with Israel, and Israel keeps it quiet so as not to embarrass them, but Israel is a quiet secret partner against the Islamists.

Meanwhile, there's a pro-Islamist slate of powers in the region: the once secular, now Islamist Turkey, the Mohammad Brotherhood (not an official power, but can't say Obama didn't try), and... Qatar, which openly supports Islamist movements itself, and propagandizes for them through its Al Jazeera network.

Meanwhile, not only is Qatar funding and fueling Sunni Islamist movements, but they're also cozying up to Obama's favorite country Iran, against which most of the Sunni Muslim world is allied.

Recently members of the Qatar royal family were kidnapped while in Iran, likely by Iranian agents or Iran-supported groups, and Qatar paid more than $700 million in ransom to have them back. This money is now in the hands of Iran and its various terror sects.

So the other members of the non-openly-Islamist-supporting coalition have demanded that Qatar announce it is one one side of the line or the other -- with the Islamist terrorists and Iran, or with the other Sunni Arab states -- and stop funding the terrorist-friendly Al Jazeera. Several countries have shut Al Jazeera's local offices down as part of this effort.

One more thing: We have an airbase in Qatar, and some claim that this is a major complicating factor. However, I'm told the UAE actually would like to host a US airbase, so if we were to isolate Qatar (and cause them to demand we depart their nation), it would be a temporary problem rather than a long-term strategic loss.

Also, expect the elements of the Iran Echo Chamber to begin pumping out pro-Qatar propaganda. Qatar is looking to have leftwing "think tanks" provide the same support that Iran got under Obama, and have just agreed to pump millions of dollars into the leftwing Brookings Institute.

Can a leftwing "institute" be corrupted by foreign terror 'n oil money? Only time will tell.

But the answer is Yes.
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« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2017, 06:58:26 PM »

Former Obama DHS Adviser Tweets Support for Qatar
by John Rossomando  •  Jun 14, 2017 at 6:15 pm
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« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2017, 12:00:57 PM »
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« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2017, 01:03:55 PM »
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« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2017, 05:30:10 PM »

Terror-Tied Qatari Think Tank's Anti-Israel, Pro-BDS Stance
IPT News
June 26, 2017
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« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2017, 11:20:21 AM »
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« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2017, 04:55:17 PM »

No idea who is behind this site, but it looks to be real interesting
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« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2017, 05:24:32 PM »

No idea who is behind this site, but it looks to be real interesting

This is what they are using for a hosting service:

Address: Ocean Centre, Montagu Foreshore, East Bay Street, Nassau, 0000, New Providence, BS
Phone: +1.5163872248
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« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2017, 08:05:23 AM »
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« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2017, 02:49:01 PM »


    Regions & Countries


Forecast Highlights

    Qatar's vast wealth of liquefied natural gas (LNG) will enable it to weather economic pressure from Saudi Arabia as Riyadh tries to limit Doha's foreign policy.
    Doha will continue to balance its relationships with Saudi Arabia and with Iran while working to forge ties with larger powers such as Turkey, Russia and the United States.
    The ruling al-Thani family will not face threats to its power from within Qatar, so long as it keeps the wealth flowing.

Qatar has distinguished itself from its peers. Among the world's oil-producing states, it is one of the richest. Among developed countries today, it blossomed more quickly than almost any other. And among the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), it is one of the few states that dares to push back against Saudi Arabia's ideas on culture, on economics and especially on foreign policy. But in the country's dazzling growth and development lie the seeds of its current dispute with three fellow members of the Gulf bloc. Thanks to its extensive natural gas reserves and the ruling family's resistance to Saudi control, Qatar will continue to challenge Riyadh and the United Arab Emirates in their attempts to dominate it.
Photos from the Qatari capital of Doha in 1953 (top) and 2014 (bottom) showcase the country's rapid development.

Photos from the Qatari capital of Doha in 1953 (top) and 2014 (bottom) showcase the country's rapid development.
(Keystone Features / Stringer, Francois Nel/Getty Images)
A Small Country With Big Riches
Qatar's significant natural gas wealth sets the country apart from its prosperous neighbors, which mostly depend on oil. By selling its gas to a wide range of partners abroad — currently mostly in Asia — the country has managed to establish economic security that reaches beyond the GCC.
But what Qatar has in money and resources, it lacks in people and territory. Its native population is only 300,000 people; foreign workers from Asia and the Middle East account for 89 percent of the total population of 2.6 million. With such a homogenous and small native population, Qatar doesn't face the same kinds of sectarian divisions that plague Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. (The lack of sectarian strife also helps Doha avoid domestic backlash when it gets involved in religious conflicts such as the Syrian crisis.) Nor does it have to worry about supplying enough jobs to its native population. Saudi Arabia, by contrast, is struggling to employ its 22 million native citizens while undertaking economic reform, and other GCC states, such as Oman, don't have the money to provide for their people as abundantly as Qatar does.
Qatar's GDP Per Capita
The tiny population has its downsides, however. Qatar's demographic size pales in comparison with that of Iran or Saudi Arabia. The country's leaders, moreover, have found it difficult to construct a shared aim and civic identity as they pursued nation building. Wahabbi Islam offered a sense of common purpose during the 20th century, but the state has become more secular in recent years. And though Qatar is a majority-Sunni state, it eschews the Sunni-Shiite divide between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Because its geography makes it so vulnerable — Saudi Arabia sits on its only land border and the contentious Persian Gulf surrounds the rest — Qatar seeks the protection of stronger nations. As it developed into a modern state, it was firmly under the sway and protection of the United Kingdom. It joined the GCC in 1981, a decade after the British relinquished their protectorate. U.S.-Gulf relations were acrimonious throughout the 1970s largely because of Washington's pro-Israeli policies. But the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 drove home the reality of Qatar's perilous position. Doha needed the protection of a more powerful ally. Qatar signed its first military agreement with the United States in 1992, and since then, the countries' military ties have flourished.
Qatar's Strategic Location
Seeking More Baskets
To keep Qatar relevant on the world stage, meanwhile, Doha created a liberal media environment including state-funded news network Al Jazeera, sponsored global sporting events, mediated in Middle Eastern conflicts and made sizable investments worldwide, especially in Europe. Qatar has also pursued policies independent of Saudi Arabia. It has shown a penchant for buying, or at least considering purchases of, Russian and Chinese military equipment. It has developed closer ties with Iran in recent years, as Doha and Tehran work out an arrangement to share the North Pars Gas Field, and has bolstered its military cooperation with Turkey. Elsewhere in the Middle East, Qatar has inserted itself into Lebanese and Palestinian politics. What's more, it was the first GCC state to toy with normalizing relations with Israel. In short, the country maintains a vast network of relationships with states large and small to avoid putting all its eggs in the GCC's basket.
But its activities don't always suit its neighbors in the bloc. Qatar has hosted multiple Taliban negotiations and has become a second home for Muslim Brotherhood figures in exile from countries such as Egypt that have turned against political Islamist movements. Embracing Islamism enables Qatar not only to reaffirm its Wahabbi mores, but also to extend its influence beyond the confines of its small territory and population. For Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, however, the groups' politics pose a challenge to their leadership.
The Al-Thani Dynasty
At the helm of the country's foreign policy is the ruling al-Thani family. The al-Thanis, who have ruled Qatar continuously since the early 20th century (with help from other influential families), have proved effective at using the country's geopolitical position to its advantage. As in the rest of the Arabian Gulf monarchies, Qatar's ruling family retains control over the state's means of generating and distributing wealth. A small handful of elites directs all policy behind closed doors, in what Qatar calls a "consultative monarchy."
For the al-Thanis, succession is done through controlled internal coups, in which a cousin usurps a cousin or a son usurps his father. The transition takes place with the help of the institutional bureaucracy, whose loyalty a rising emir cultivates over the years before he takes the throne. The dearth of intertribal conflict in Qatar denies its GCC neighbors opportunities to meddle with the al-Thanis' dominance, though the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have tried.
Under Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who usurped power from his father, the al-Thani family became known for its independence from the GCC. Qatar's current emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, doubled down on this strategy, while also working to build his support among Qataris. The current GCC crisis has reinforced his popularity, despite his efforts to trim some of the extensive social benefits available to Qatari citizens. (In 2015 he said that Qataris would need to wean themselves off of a "dependence on the state for everything.")
Still, Doha's commitment to self-determination is a double-edged sword. Though on the one hand, it has enabled Qatar to forge a diverse array of international relationships, on the other, it has jeopardized its relationship with the rest of the GCC. And the longer the crisis in the bloc goes on, the more it will strain Qatar's ties abroad. To solve the current crisis, Doha might be willing to oust some individuals tied to Islamist movements. But it won't budge on its sovereignty. The governing ethos of the al-Thani family may be complex and contradictory, but it leaves little room for Saudi Arabia to call the shots in Qatar.
Tiny Qatar Goes Its Own Way

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« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2017, 02:13:19 PM »

Turkey Strives to Influence the Gulf States 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia over the weekend, in an effort to further insert Ankara into the ongoing Gulf dispute. Ankara has made clear its backing for Qatar's position in the conflict by reinforcing and accelerating the deployment of Turkish military personnel — and this week, equipment — to Qatar. The Turkish backing for Doha will help Qatar outlast further threats from the four blockading countries — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt — as the crisis continues but slowly begins to de-escalate. Erdogan is not visiting the UAE on his Gulf tour: the animosity between the two countries, based on their opposing stances on supporting Islamist groups, is still on display. U.S. mediation in the crisis as well as a pullback from the initial 13 demands on Qatar helped elicit a small concession when Doha submitted a revised anti-terror law this week that correlates with one of the main imperatives for behavior laid out by Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Cairo and Manama. The UAE, the most vocal of the blockading countries seeking to isolate Qatar, has expressed its approval of the small step made by Qatar, an important sign of de-escalation.
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« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2017, 11:07:03 PM »

The four countries currently blockading Qatar in the ongoing Gulf crisis have issued a new list of individuals and entities linked to terrorist activity, Al Arabiya reported July 24. The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have designated nine individuals and nine entities from across the Middle East as having links to both terrorist groups and Qatar. Three organizations and two individuals from Yemen are accused of supporting al Qaeda. A number of Libyan individuals and news agencies are accused of receiving Qatari funding to support terrorist activity in Libya. And three Qatari individuals and a Kuwaiti citizen are alleged to have engaged in fund-raising campaigns to support terrorist militias in Syria. Though this isn't exactly an escalation, but it shows that the battle between the Gulf states and Qatar is far from over.
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« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2017, 12:28:47 PM »

    Regions & Countries


Qatar filed sweeping complaints with the World Trade Organization (WTO) on July 31 requesting consultations with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates for their trade boycott against Qatar. Each of the three blockading countries has 10 days to respond to Qatar and must enter consultations within 30 days. If the consultation does not resolve the disputes within 60 days, Qatar can request that the WTO authorize a dispute panel. (In practice, however, the establishment of a panel takes longer than 60 days.) Though WTO rulings are not binding, if a dispute panel rules in Qatar's favor, Qatar can then impose WTO-sanctioned countermeasures that would give it a stronger negotiating position against the blockading states.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing Doha of financing terrorism and allying with Iran (a regional foe, especially to Saudi Arabia), among other things. Qatar — a major global natural gas supplier and host to one of the largest U.S. military bases in the Middle East — denies the accusations. Qatar also complained to the WTO that its Gulf neighbors had closed land borders and halted air and sea traffic to put economic pressure on Doha.

Notably, the WTO suit does not include Egypt, the fourth country involved in the regional trade boycott. Egypt has largely ignored the ban against Qatari commerce. It was Qatar that suspended the selling of natural gas to Egypt, but Egypt's Suez Canal still operates as a corridor for natural gas destined to and coming from Qatar.

The states mentioned in the WTO suit, meanwhile, could use a national security exception under Article XXI to justify their actions against Qatar. But invoking the controversial exemption allowed under WTO rules is almost unprecedented and risks weakening WTO regulations by potentially encouraging other countries to defy international trade agreements.
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« Reply #21 on: August 02, 2017, 12:57:42 PM »

Qatar's Comeuppance Is a Long Time Coming
by Raymond Stock
The Diplomatist
July 2017
Qatar through the eyes of Arab cartoonists in recent weeks.

Jutting into the Persian Gulf like lower Michigan minus its thumb, the super-rich peninsular nation of Qatar has long been a problem—one that has now brought the region to the brink of a potentially catastrophic conflict.

Seen for decades as a more liberal extension of the arch-conservative Saudi Kingdom, since the mid-1990s Qatar has striven to maintain that façade, even as it aided and funded the global jihad, both directly indirectly, and grew dangerously close with an ever-more strident and aggressive Iran. As the tensions built, erupted, subsided and built again during this time, it finally took a US administration willing to back up and rally the countries that Qatar's actions have threatened—primarily the very states that have moved against it now—to bring matters to a head.

The result has been a lengthening physical and diplomatic embargo on Qatar that could lead to war, or perhaps impede the war to kill the Islamic State (IS). In either case it would leave a lasting rift among four of the six states in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and lands far beyond them.

Begun by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain, later joined by Chad, Libya, the Maldives, Niger and Yemen, this was a crisis, sadly, whose time had come.
"Fake News" vs. Real Ransom

While much has been made of the reaction to a May 23 report by Qatar's state news agency (improbably) praising both Iran and Israel and predicting a short term in office for Trump, it does not appear to have been the real trigger for the incident. Qatar claims it was hacked, dismissing the disputed posting as "fake news." CNN reported on June 7 that US intelligence believes it was the work of unnamed Russians, though the FBI is now on the case.
Hackers were reportedly responsible for a May 23 post by Qatar's state news agency praising Iran and Israel.

Yet the real kicker was clearly the $1 billion Qatar paid in April to free a group of 26 of its nationals kidnapped by the Iran-linked Shi'ite militia Kita'eb Hizbollah while hunting in Iraq in December 2015. Freed in the same deal were 50 Islamists seized by other jihadis in Syria, as reported in The Financial Times on June 5—thus both "Iranian security officials" and an al-Qaeda (AQ) affiliate, al-Nusra Front, apparently received the cash.

Worse, the deal was evidently done behind the back of the Baghdad government led by Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi—who is trying to rein in the brutal Shi'ite militias while fighting ISIS. Al-Abadi announced in April that Iraq had confiscated "millions of dollars" in suitcases from Qatari planes on its territory, says the FT.

Meanwhile, Iyad Allawi, Iraq's secular Shi'ite vice president, quoted by Reuters at a Cairo news conference June 19, accused Qatar of seeking to divide Iraq "into a Sunni region in exchange for a Shi'ite region."

"It is time we spoke honestly and made things clear (to the Qataris) so that we can reach some results," Allawi insisted. "After that confrontation, comes reconciliation," he stated--without saying how.

The Root of the Trouble

Qatar has not always behaved this way. I served as Head of the Academic Section under the Cultural Attaché of the State of Qatar, part of the Qatari embassy in the US, from 1986-90, advising students on university scholarship from Doha in North America. The Qataris with whom I worked and met at the time were generally conservative, but kind-hearted, forward-looking and not fanatical—hence it is hard indeed to personally advocate action against their country.

The trouble began with the overthrow of the old emir, Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, by his son, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, in 1995. Sheikh Hamad pushed for a more modern, constitutional, somewhat more egalitarian government at home (primarily for its roughly 300,000 citizens, rather than its 2,000,000-plus, often virtually enslaved foreign workers)—while apostasy from Islam, adultery and homosexuality remain capital crimes.

Hailed by many as a voice of open democracy, Qatar's Al-Jazeera television network has specialized in agitation against other Arab regimes.

He also allowed the creation of Al Jazeera television, hailed by many as a voice of open democracy—though its Arabic arm has mainly carried a mixture of Islamist and other anti-Western propaganda with agitation against other Arab regimes (along with often vociferous debate programs), and has had ties to AQ behind the scenes. (The network's more secular-left leaning English-language service has won many fans in the West, who do not grasp or would even rationalize the radicalism of the Arabic version seen in the Middle East.)

Stunningly, Al Jazeera's former bureau chief in Cairo, Canadian-Egyptian citizen Mohamed Fahmy, jailed for 438 days in Egypt for allegedly colluding with efforts by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) to overthrow Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi in 2014, has recently filed a lawsuit in British Columbia against his former employers. Eli Lake of Bloomberg News wrote on June 23 that Fahmy accuses Al Jazeera of deliberately serving the MB and of being "a mouthpiece for Qatari intelligence" and "a voice for terrorists," something he says he learned from Islamists in Cairo's infamous Tora Prison, who told him how they had cooperated closely with the network.
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani (right) handed power to his son Tamim (left) in 2013.

Under Hamad and his son, Sheikh Tamim, who took over in 2013, Qatar has gone far beyond media agitation on behalf of the terrorists. Under them, Qatar began funding, or in some cases permitting others to fund, groups like the MB—the ideological parent of all the Islamist groups operating today.

Also those very offshoots themselves, including Salafi jihadis, Hamas (which it has endorsed as a "legitimate resistance organization," according to Al Jazeera on June 10) and the Taliban--to whom it has offered refuge, or funnelled ransom--as well.

Under former President Barack Obama, America too backed the MB in the Arab Spring, and worked with Qatar as well as Saudi Arabia—which has historically exported the same ideology—to aid obvious Islamists in the uprisings against Mu'ammar al-Qaddafi in Libya and Bashar al-Asad in Syria.

Qatar still helps the MB, which seeks to overthrow al-Sisi, whom most Egyptians backed in the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, and hence has had frequent quarrels with Cairo. Saudi Arabia—whose still-new king, Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, has pledged to fight "extremist ideology," and unveiled a high-tech centre at the Riyadh summit with the stated aim of doing the same--along with the UAE, have each also banned the MB for plotting to bring down their own regimes.

Yet Egypt has recently strengthened its own ties with Hamas, apparently to turn it from an ally of the hostile MB to a partner in securing its north-eastern border against attacks by other Islamists. According to Reuters July 5, al-Sisi "may well insist on Hamas giving up its friendship" with Qatar as a price for continuing the relationship.

The BBC quoted FM Sheikh Mohammed June 6 as having complained to Al Jazeera of those "trying to impose their will on Qatar, or intervene in its internal affairs." At the word "intervene," Qatar's critics can only laugh—as it has laughed with a Janus face at those fighting the jihadi menace, and its millions of suffering victims, for years.
Raymond Stock, a Shillman-Ginsburg Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and Instructor of Arabic at Louisiana State University, spent twenty years in Egypt, and was deported by the Mubarak regime in 2010.
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