The Case Against Qatar

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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

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Saudi Arabia to supply Syrian rebels with anti-aircraft missiles – report

Published time: February 15, 2014 04:14

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Frustrated by the deadlock of the second round of Geneva 2 talks, Saudi Arabia has reportedly offered to supply the rebels with anti-aircraft missiles. Meanwhile Russia has accused the US of once again hijacking peace talks and pushing for regime change.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Russian-made antitank guided missiles and Chinese man-portable air-defense systems are up for grabs, already waiting in warehouses in Jordan and Turkey.
An Arab diplomat and several opposition figures with knowledge of the Saudi efforts have told WSJ that these supplies are likely to tip the battlefield scales, as the rebels will become capable of taking on the government’s air power and destroying heavy armored vehicles.

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Iran News Round Up September 11, 2013

English: Location of Iran and Saudi Arabia.

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.

Politics

  • 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

Bin Laden was in Muslim Brotherhood, says al-Qaeda chief

27 September 2012, 16:47 (GMT+05:00)

Al-Qaeda’s late leader Osama bin Laden was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood before taking up arms against Soviets in Afghanistan, his successor Ayman al-Zawahiri said in a video message released Thursday, dpa reported.

“Sheikh Osama bin Laden was in the Muslim Brotherhood organization in the Arabian Peninsula. When the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan began (in 1979), he immediately went to Pakistan to meet the mujahideen and assist them,” al-Zawahiri added in the hour-long video reposted on Jihadology, a US-based website on extremist groups. Continue reading

Spy who uncovered underwear bomb plot is British national, sources say

Trouser Bomber at Home

Trouser Bomber at Home (Photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com)

would-be suicide bomber was actually a British national, working through British intelligence to infiltrate the terror organization in Yemen.

By Robert Windrem
NBC News

The spy who helped Western intelligence agencies thwart a plot to bomb a U.S.-bound airliner was a British national of Middle Eastern origin, sources tell NBC News.

The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, also say that British intelligence was “heavily involved” in recruiting the spy, who has not yet been identified publicly, and penetrating the plot by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula to detonate a new, more sophisticated underwear bomb aboard a U.S. jetliner.

A senior U.S. counterterrorism official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, would say only that multiple friendly security services were involved in the operation. Saudi Arabia’s counterterrorism operation also were involved, other U.S. officials have told NBC News.

U.S. and British officials have long reported that AQAP has wanted to recruit Muslims with Western passports to carry out attacks like the one revealed this week. As an example, the officials cited AQAP’s recruitment of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who failed in the Christmas Day 2009 attempt to bring down Northwest Airlines Flight 253 over Detroit.

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Saudi Arabia shuts down its embassy in Egypt

Credit: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Police detain a protester at the Saudi Embassy in Cairo during Saturday’s demonstration demanding the release of Egyptian human rights lawyer Ahmed el-Gezawi, who is being detained in Saudi Arabia on suspicion of drug possession. El-Gezawi’s attorney denied the charge.

By: Associated Press | Published: April 29, 2012    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia —

Saudi Arabia closed its Cairo embassy Saturday and recalled its ambassador following protests over a detained Egyptian human rights lawyer in a sharp escalation of tension between two regional powerhouses already on shaky terms due to uprisings in the Arab world.

The unexpected Saudi diplomatic break came following days of protests by hundreds of Egyptians outside the Saudi Embassy in Cairo and consulates in other cities to demand the release of Ahmed el-Gezawi. Relatives and human rights groups say he was detained for allegedly insulting the kingdom’s monarch.

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Iran Daily Brief April 16, 2012 – Full Report

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International Affairs

Deputy FM: Ahmadinejad’s visit to Abu Musa is an internal affair – Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, described Ahmadinejad’s official trip to the island of Abu Musa as “an internal affair, done as part of his schedule of provincial tours.” The comments came after the UAE recalled its ambassador to Tehran in protest to Ahmadinejad’s trip. The Emirati Foreign Minister criticized the visit as a “violation of UAE sovereignty over its territories.” Amir-Abdollahian stressed that the Persian Gulf islands of the Greater Tunb, the Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa have historically, and will eternally belong to Iran…

(Source: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/235935.html)

IranSyria

Iranian Deputy Chief-of-Staff: “Imperialism failed in its war against Syria” Deputy Chief-of-Staff of the Armed Forces and Defense Diplomacy, Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri, emphasized that imperialism had failed in its battle against Syria. He stated:

They are attempting to compensate for their failure through diplomatic efforts, sending envoys and engaging in consultation. No hope should be pinned on these diplomatic talks. The solution in Syria will only be meaningful when it comes from within the country itself. Others have no right to intervene in the affairs of this country that is at the forefront of the resistance. Anyone who is involved in any way in the outbreak of hostilities in Syria will be punished. The people in the region will not forget this interference. If Syria’s enemies had the ability to continue the military action, they would not, even for a moment, stop the pressure being applied to the resistance front. The enemy knows that it is within the target of the resistance.

(Source: http://www.mehrnews.ir/NewsPrint.aspx?NewsID=1574807)

Supreme Leader’s representative to the IRGC: Syria is paying the price for its resolute stance against Israel – In an interview with the Mehr News Agency, Hojatoleslam Ali Saeedi discussed a plot by corrupt Arab leaders and Western nations to provoke riots in Syria. He said that:

Unfortunately, one of imperialism’s constant aims has been to lead and create streams and movements in other countries, with the goal of placing their mercenaries in positions of power. Corrupt Middle Eastern nations could never oppose Israel however for the last sixty years Syria has faced the Zionist regime, and is thus at the forefront of the resistance. In light of the Islamic awakenings in the region, the reinforcement of the resistance front, and Iran’s increased ability to maneuver in the Middle East, the West devised a new scheme to restrain the Islamic awakening in the region. In this anti-Syrian plot, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are serving as emissaries of the US. The Middle Eastern situation is not moving in a direction serving the interests of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and several other nations, and the legitimacy of these regimes has lapsed. The Syrian nation is faithful to the resistance (against Israel and the US), and possesses a good understanding of the circumstances. Additionally, on several occasions, the majority of the Syrian people have expressed support for their President. Thus, I believe that the moral support provided to Iran support, coupled with the steadfast positions of both Russia and China, will contribute to the failure of the American, Qatari and Saudi plot.

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