Qatar played a major role in manipulating the uprisings of the so- called ‘Arab Spring ‘, with the aim of bringing about political change in the Middle East in accordance with the theory of Creative Chaos. That theory is based upon a desire to make essential changes in the old Sykes-Picot map of the region, and to come up with another map for the so-called New Middle East.
This was made clear in Egypt, during the January 25, 2011 uprising, in two very symbolic scenes:
Scene One was the scene of the Muslim Brotherhood ex-Member of Parliament- a runaway convict, at the time- Muhammad Morsi al-Ayat, on the phone with the Qatar satellite channel Aljazeera, the moment he escaped, declaring that ‘townspeople liberated 34 MB members.’
In that telephone conversation, Muhammad Morsi al- Ayat, who later became President, gave precise information concerning his escape and his whereabouts, at a time of a complete shutdown of communication tools. This could be seen as a message that he wanted to get across, through the Qatar satellite channel and with its help, to members and supporters of the MB group at home and abroad.
Scene Two, featured the no less symbolic entry of Sheikh Yussuf al-Qaradawi, who held a Qatari passport in addition to his Egyptian one, to Tahrir Square, arriving in Cairo from Qatar after many years of being excluded, when ex-President Hosny Mubarak stepped down, on February 11, 2011. The sight of al-Qaradawi in Tahrir Square made many people wary of a possible hijack of the Egyptian popular uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood, with Qatari support.
Actually, what was only a worrisome speculation changed into reality when the Muslim Brethren, over the next few months, had their dream come true, by making one of them, a politician whose wildest dream never went beyond the status of a Member of Parliament, President of the Republic.
The echoes of MB celebrations in Egypt rang in Qatar which was the main source of support for the new regime in Cairo.
Khairat al-Shater set free
Following the January uprising, Khairat al-Shater and his fellow-traveller Hassan Malik came out of prison by a special amnesty decree signed by Mubarak’s last Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq.
Once out of prison, Khairat al-Shater asked the Prime Minister of Qatar at the time, Hamad bin Jassim to inform the United States that the Muslim Brethren would uphold the Camp David Accords, in case they became rulers of Egypt, either through a vote in the parliament or through general elections.
The new constitution was not yet ready and no one knew whether the new system would be a parliamentary system , as MB wanted it to be, or a presidential one.
Khairat al-Shater also wanted bin Jassim to reassure Washington that once the Brethren were in power they would respect all international relations and adhere to international conventions. He also asked for financial support which was promptly given by Qatar, through Qatar Islamic Bank, by sending the money, in May 2011, to the bank account of the ‘Academy of Change’, an academy run by Hisham Morsi, son-in-law of Yussuf al –Qaradawi.
A favor for a favor
The Muslim brotherhood were quick to pay Qatar back. Only a few months after Muhammad Morsi had become President, specifically in December 2012, Qatar’s man in al- Ittihadiyya presidential palace began harnessing Egyptian economy, in its entirety, to Qatari interests.
This was uncovered, later on, by the coalition of the ‘Support for Egypt Fund’, in a petition to the Attorney General, asking for immediate investigations of the contents of report number 4210 by the Technical – supported by documents- accusing the spurned president, Muhammad Morsi and his Prime Minister Hisham Qandil of deliberately damaging Egyptian national interests, by planning to conclude shady deals with the State of Qatar, by instructions from the MB Maktab al-Ershad (Guidance Office).
The Report revealed that Qatar, through those agreements and transactions, would be given a monopoly over investment in Suez Canal zone and in other vital regions in Egypt. The monopoly rights were to extend to iron and steel projects and other investment projects in Hurghada and Sharm al-Sheikh.
An agreement was signed, giving Qatar the right to set up a Qatari Industrial Complex, a Qatari Electricity Station and a complete Logistics Village in the east of port-Said Port. All these agreements and transactions aimed at subordinating Egyptian economy and all Egyptian resources to Qatari domination, contrary to letter and spirit of the law of the land.
Spying for Qatar
Things didn’t stop just there, they went further. Qatari officials received intelligence information and Egyptian National Security files, by orders from ex- President Muhammad Morsi al -Ayat. This was revealed after he had been removed from power and taken to court, accused of spying for Qatar.
Legal papers in the case no. 10154/Second Criminal Subdivision, 6thOctober, year 2014, registered under the number 3690,of Full Jurisdiction court, South Giza, year 2014, show that defendants Ala’a Sablan, a news script writer in Aljazeera and Ibrahim Hilal, News Department head of the same channel were given photocopies, reports and documents issued by the General Intelligence Service, the Military Intelligence Service, the Armed Forces, the National Security sector, and the Administrative Control Authority, with the purpose of handing them over to a foreign authority, to the Qatar Intelligence Service.
The information obtained by the defendants included data related to the Armed Forces and its deployment areas, to the State’s domestic and foreign policies and to training techniques and types of armament. The minutes of the record of judicial investigations of the case, known to the media by the name ‘Spying for Qatar’, show that the defendants, Amin al-Serafi, the private secretary of ex- President Muhammad Morsi, al-Serafi’s daughter and Ahmed Abdu Afifi, all members of the Brotherhood, agreed, in private conversations and by Email, with defendants Ala’a Sablan and Ibrahim Hilal, in the presence of ex-Prime Minister of Qatar Hamad bin Jassim, to provide the Qatari side with reports and documents kept in special safety-deposit boxes in the presidential palace, in violation of Egypt’s military, political, diplomatic and economic interests.
The legal papers also included testimony given by the officer in charge of investigations in the National security sector, Major Tariq Muhammad Sabry, asserting that the defendant Amin al-Serafy, a secretary to ex- President Muhammad Morsi, after having taken the official documents out of the presidential palace, had given, before his apprehension, a written order to his daughter to hand the documents over to Ahmed Abdu Afifi and to Ala’a Sablan.
Sablan then went to Qatar to show Qatari officials copies of the said documents. Sablan met Ibrahim Hilal who, after having been shown the documents, arranged a meeting for Sablan with Hamad bin Jassim, in the presence of a Qatar Intelligence officer.
The witness said that the defendant, enquired from his wife, during one of her visits to him in prison, about the reports and documents and what his daughter did with them. He commissioned his wife, who knew nothing about it, to hand the papers to Ahmed Abdu Afifi and to the Brotherhood member Ala’a Sablan who used to visit Serafy in the Presidential palace.
The witness reiterated that all defendants were aware of the agreement with the Qatari Intelligence officer and Hamad bin Jassim to sell them the original reports and documents for U.S.D.1.5 million.
The legal papers of the case included records of confessions made by a number of defendants admitting that the reports and documents were taken out of the presidential palace by orders from ex-President Muhammad Morsi al-Ayat and members of the MB International organization, towards the end of their time in the presidency, sometime before June 30, 2013.
The court was also told by ex- Director of the President’s office Mustafa al-Shafei, retired since June 21, 2013, that ex-President Morsi, in order to collect documents and then ship them off to Qatar, replaced, since his Day One in the presidency, a number of workers and employees hand-picked from among supporters of MB. He reiterated that the reports and documents were leaked out 48 hours before Morsi had been ousted.
Brethren received by Qatar
Following the fall from power of the MB, the failure of the two sit-ins of Rabaa and al-Nahda Squares, MB leadership had no place to go other than Qatar and Turkey, the two countries that received them with open arms, after all the acts of violence and terrorism that they committed in Egypt.
They have been staying there with the purpose of continuing their criminal acts of incitement against the state through media forums in Turkey and Qatar, as well as conferences and symposia organized by leaders of the MB international organization in a number of European countries.
Among the most conspicuous fugitives now in Qatar, besides Yussuf al-Qaradawi, are Jamal Abdel Sattar, Esam Tellima, Wagdy Ghoneim, Aymen Abdel Ghani, ex-MP Muhammad Jamal Hishmat, ex- Secretary for Youth in the disbanded Freedom and Justice party Ali Khafaji Ahmed el-Sherif, Spokesman of the ‘Judges for Egypt’ movement Ahmed Sharabi, T.V. presenter Ahmed Mansour, ex-MP for al-Asala Salfi party Mamdouh Ismail, Salafi preacher Dr. Muhammad Abdel Maksoud, Ehab Sheiha, Leader of Salafist party Fadila Muhammad Mahmoud Fathy Muhammad Badr, a member of the so – called ‘The Alliance to Consolidate Legality’, the two leading members of Egypt’s Islamic Group, Tarik el-Zumar and Assem Abdel Majid.
Abdel Majid is one of the most dangerous among the fugitives in Qatar, as he used to terrorize people during the days of MB rule and during the Rabaa sit-in. He threatened to ‘set the country on fire if anyone would dare to think of removing Morsi from power’. After having been sentenced to death by Gizeh criminal court in the case known to the media as ‘ el-Estikama mosque incident’, Abdel Majid became one of the most wanted by security authorities
Qatar and al-Qaeda
The media strategies of al-Qaeda, in defense of Qatar, can be put into perspective only when one realizes how Qatar is closely related to various terrorist groups.
In the June 2017 issue of al-Masra newsletter, published by al-Qaeda organization in the Arabian Peninsula, following the declaration of boycott of Qatar by the Arab Quartet including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Arab Emirates and Bahrain, the prominent leader and former Emir of Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) Abdel Hakim Belhadj was straightforward in his condemnation of the boycott of what he called ‘those who are dedicated to the Nation and to its cause’, in an indirect threat from al-Qaeda to those who may target Doha, in what amounted to playing the role of a Qatari spokesman, providing the world with the response that everybody expected from Qatar.
This also applies to the support by Jabhat al-Nusra (Army of Conquest), an off-shoot of al-Qaeda in Syria, as expressed by its Mufti (religious judge) Abdullah al-Muhaisni, of Qatar, by a hashtag on Twitter, saying: ‘I even say that Muslim nations reject siege against a Muslim nation’, adding’I say this to our brethren in Qatar, suffice it to say that, here in Syria, we hear old women of the Levant praying for you. This is a message to every benevolent person who sided with the down – trodden and gave assistance to the needy.’
It is noteworthy to mention that al-Muhaisni’s relations to Qatar were not limited to this expression of support, he is a permanent guest of various shows on Aljazeera, he used to be Imam of the Qatari mosque in Mecca and he became a permanent resident in Doha in 2012, when he presented a paper titled ‘Rules in times of disaster’, in the second conference of the League of Muslim Scholars.
Qatari financial support for terrorism
According to documents published by the United States Department of the Treasury in Octobre 2014, Qatar provides al-Qaeda with financial support through some of its citizens, like Salim Hassan Khalifa Rashed al-Kuwari, often referred to as ‘al-Qaeda money man’, who is accused of having transferred ‘hundreds of thousands’ of U.S.dollars to al-Qaeda, in addition to indirect financial support from Qatar to al-Qaeda, disguised as paying ‘fedyah’ (ransom) for the release of hostages.
Aljazeera satellite channel is the media forum through which Qatar supports al-Qaeda by broadcasting communiqués and publicity material produced by that terrorist organization. Interviews with the leaders of al-Qaeda, especially with Ayman al-Zawahiri, and statements made by them, in addition to interviews with leaders of subsidiary groups of al-Qaeda, like the leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, Abu Muhammad al-Julani, and Abdullah al-Muhaisni, religious judge of Jabhat al-Nusra who featured in a program in 2016 after having been seen, in a pre-recorded program while he was giving his blessings to a terrorist getting ready for a suicide attack.
In addition to financial and media support, Qatar has provided a number of leaders and operatives with a safe refuge on its territory.
According to Khalid Sheikh Muhammad(KSM), named “the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks” in the 9/11 Commission Report, and to what was found in the Abbottabad collection of documents, confiscated after the liquidation of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, KSM had spent a whole year in hiding in the private residence of the former Minister of Interior of Qatar, Abdallah bin Khalid Al Thani, before information came that an American ground team was on its way to snatch that most wanted terrorist. KSM was quick to leave Doha, after having been given a diplomatic passport, to Pakistan where he was grabbed.
According to Treasury Under-Secretary David S. Cohen, two prominent government officials in Qatar have been listed by Washington as main providers of financial support to al-Qaeda. Yet, both men, Khalifa Muhammad Turk al- Siba’ei of the Central Bank of Qatar and abdul Rahman bin Omeir al-Nuaimi, an adviser to the Qatar government- a close friend of the ruling family, enjoy perfect liberty in Doha.
The same source asserted that Nuaimi transferred U.S.D. 600,000 to Abu Khalid al-Suri (Muhammad al-Bahaiya), the special envoy of Ayman al- Zawhiri in Syria, who has been financing al-Qaeda since 2003. Another two Qataris have their places among the principal financial supporters of terrorism according to American government sources.
Those are salim Hassan Kuwari and Abdallah Ghanim Khawar. Both men have been accused of being heads of some of the most important financial networks bwhind the operations of l-Qaeda in the Middle East and South Asia(in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan), according to a report by U.S. Treasury Department in 2011.
In 2007, Khalifa Muhammad Turki al-Subaiy, the highest-ranking civil servant in Qatar, has been put on the black list of ‘terrorism financiers’. The report issued by the National Committee of 9/11 indicates the role played by charity organizations in Qatar, like Qatar Charity, in financing al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. The report also indicates the part played by Abdullah bin Khalid Al Thani in protecting the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks KSM and in providing him with a safe hiding place for a whole year.
Armament for ISIS
Various in-depth studies have noted the financial resources made available by Qatar for Daesh (ISIS) to pay for the armament needed for its terrorist operations, in addition to logistic services provided by Turkey, facilitating transfer of military hardware to flashpoints in the Middle East, over the last couple of years.
In a statement to the same effect, Julian Assange, wikileaks founder, said” we found a note by Hillary Clinton, after having quit her job as Secretary of State, to the boss of her electoral campaign John Podesta, early in 2014, revealing that Washington was “providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL.”
In an exclusive interview with the Russian satellite channel RT, Assange considered that note much more important than all previous leaks, as it negates all claims by the government of Qatar that financial contributions to terroristst come from unruly Sheikhs in Qatar.
Wikileaks also uncovered the support given by ex- foreign minister of Qatar to terrorism in Egypt through Aljazeera, in accordance with his plans towards Arab States. The Foreign Minister held a special meeting with the Aljazeera senior operatives to plan for inciting of political troubles in Egypt.
It has been leaked that Qatar purchased extremely precise espionage devices worth USD 638 million, to apprehend those who dare to publish anti-government material.
Concerning support for terrorism in Syria, CNN broadcast a report on Qatar as a financier of terrorism, including a videotape showing how Qatar used Aljazeera in paving the road for diplomatic deals, in addition to a discussion of an operation to assassinate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with the help of various American and Israeli parties. The report also said that Qatar funds Daesh, and that it was the only state that had connections with Taliban.
Qatar, official sponsor of Taliban
After 13 years of fight against Taliban, the American government endorsed the opening of an office for the Afghani movement, classified internationally as a terrorist movement, in Doha. This was a first step on the road to negotiations with, and eventually recognition of, Taliban.
A month later, the office had to close down because the then president of Afghnistan Hamid Karzai became extremely angry and because Taliban raised its flag on the building, along with a signboard displaying the name of’ The Embassy of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’.
The American government asked Taliban to lower its flag and take the signboard away, but the movement was adamant in its refusal of the two requests. Taliban said the flag and the signboard were part of the agreement reached with the government of Qatar, therefore Qatar was expected to respect its agreements. The office(the embassy) was closed in July 2013, only two months after the opening ceremony attended by the Foreign Minister of Qatar at the time, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani and a number of ambassadors accredited in Doha.
With all this in mind, the American news agency, Associated Press said that the political crisis facing Qatar at present stems from accusations by Qatars neighbors that that Gulf Sheikhdom is funding terrorism, accusations rejected by Qatar. Yet, Qatar’s close links to Iran and the fact that has been a haven for terrorists for a long time, both facts remind us of the fact that where there’s smoke there’s fire.
All the above is just the tip of the huge iceberg of Qatari funding of terrorist groups. If the international community is serious about drying out the financial flow from terrorist financiers to terrorist groups, it has, first of all, to stand up to the flow from Qatar. Otherwise all denunciation of terrorists and of their financiers is just talk, simply throwing dust in the eyes of world public opinion.