The tiny, gas-rich emirate has pumped tens of millions of dollars through obscure funding networks to hard-line Syrian rebels and extremist Salafists, building a foreign policy that punches above its weight. After years of acquiescing — even taking advantage of its ally’s meddling — Washington may finally be punching back.
BY Elizabeth Dickinson SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
ABU DHABI and DOHA — Behind a glittering mall near Doha’s city center sits the quiet restaurant where Hossam used to run his Syrian rebel brigade. At the battalion’s peak in 2012 and 2013, he had 13,000 men under his control near the eastern city of Deir Ezzor. “Part of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), they are loyal to me,” he said over sweet tea and sugary pastries this spring. “I had a good team to fight.”
Hossam, a middle-aged Syrian expat, owns several restaurants throughout Doha, Qatar, catering mostly to the country’s upper crust. The food is excellent, and at night the tables are packed with well-dressed Qataris, Westerners, and Arabs. Some of his revenue still goes toward supporting brigades and civilians with humanitarian goods — blankets, food, even cigarettes.
He insists that he has stopped sending money to the battle, for now. His brigade’s funds came, at least in part, from Qatar, he says, under the discretion of then Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah. But the injection of cash was ad hoc: Dozens of other brigades like his received initial start-up funding, and only some continued to receive Qatari support as the months wore on. When the funds ran out in mid-2013, his fighters sought support elsewhere. “Money plays a big role in the FSA, and on that front, we didn’t have,” he explained. Continue reading
English: Location of Iran and Saudi Arabia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Project Iran Analyst Will Fulton and Iran Intern Amir Toumaj. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
(E) = Article in English
Excerpts of these translations may only be used with the expressed consent of the authors.
- Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reacted to recent Syria developments:
- “We hope America’s new position regarding Syria is serious, without deception and a true reversal from their arbitrary and mistaken position of the past few weeks.”
- “Unfortunately, with an incorrect interpretation of not fighting during Hajj [season], some mistaken [individuals] are attempting to undermine the philosophy of establishing the bara’at az moshrekin [Interpretation of Qur’an referring to political activities that take place socially during Hajj pilgrimage], though fighting blasphemy is one of Islam’s most fundamental orders.”
- “Enemies of Islamic society have noticed that conflict within Islamic sects is to the benefit of the usurping Zionist regime. On this basis, by establishing takfiri groups from one side and creating Islamic and even Shi’a looking media to expand divisions from another, they are seeking to make Muslims fight each other.”
- “Shi’a elders, including Imam [Khomeini] and others, continuously emphasized Islamic society’s unity. Therefore, the Shi’ism that propagates from media in London and America with the goal of expanding conflicts is not in the path of true Shi’a.” Continue reading
Posted in Iran, Politics, Reports, Security
- Tagged Americans, Iran, Middle East, Persian Gulf, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United States
Gulf media is reporting that a recent charity dinner for an Islamic endowment sponsored by the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) has raised over $6.5 million dollars for the project. Of particular interest is that the Gulf News report indicates that Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi personally donated over half a million dollars of that amount:
May 15, 2012 A charity dinner in Qatar has raised QR 24 million ($6,586,170) for the ‘Renaissance of a Nation’ endowment project launched by the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS). The project aims to raise enough funds to help the union, headed by Doha-based scholar Yusuf Al Qaradawi, be financially self-sustained. The dinner was attended by Qatar’s Crown Prince Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, ministers, diplomats and business people, local Arabic daily Al Sharq reported on Tuesday. ‘Your generous donations and the funds raised by selling some rare items will help us build a tower and acquire buildings and shares for the endowments of the union,’ Shaikh Ali Mohieddeen Al Qardaghi, the union secretary general, said in his address. The union has plans to invest up to $100 million within the next 10 years to help secure financial returns that will be used for its charity work. Antique carpets, clothing The sale of historic carpets and Ottoman-era clothes and copies of the Holy Quran from Turkey raised QR17 million. The amount was topped by a QR 5 million ($1,372,120) donation by Shaikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani, owner of Al Faisal Without Borders Charity Foundation who was awarded the Personality of the Year distinction by the union. Al Qaradawi donated another SR2 million ($548,847). Al Faisal Without Borders Charity Foundation was set up in June 2011 by Shaikh Faisal, a prominent businessman, as a foundation ‘for the benefit of all, at home and abroad, without any reservation or discrimination on the basis of nationality, race or religion.’
Posted in Africa, Islam, Middle East, Muslim Brotherhood, Reports
- Tagged Egypt, International Institute of Islamic Thought, Islam, Muslim, Muslim Brotherhood, Qaradawi, Qatar, Yusuf al-Qaradawi