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April 18, 2019 No.
8011

Saudi Journalist: Qatar's Claim That It Does Not Support The Muslim Brotherhood And Hamas Is A Lie

In a March 26, 2019 interview with the American website Al-Monitor, Lolwah Al-Khater, spokeswoman for the Qatari Foreign Ministry, denied claims that the Qatari regime supports the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and Hamas. She stated that Qatar's contacts with Hamas began only after the administration of former U.S. president George W. Bush asked it to mediate between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, and that the current U.S. administration does not object to these ties either, and in fact approves of Qatar's role in extending aid to Gaza. As for the MB, Al-Khater said that "the United States does not consider the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, [and] neither does the European Union. And that’s the stance of Qatar, just like all Arab countries with the exception of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt." She added that, despite this, "there is a huge spectrum between not considering [the Muslim Brotherhood] a terrorist organization and supporting it... We definitely don’t support the Muslim Brotherhood... We don’t antagonize them, but we don’t support them."[1]

In response to Al-Khater's statements in this interview, Saudi journalist 'Abdallah bin Bjad Al-'Otaibi wrote in the UAE daily Al-Ittihad that her claims bore no relation to reality. Qatar's ties with political Islam organizations such as the MB, he wrote, as well as with terror organizations like Al-Qaeda, ISIS and Jabhat Al-Nursa, are close and long standing, and on various occasions Qatar even paid these organizations millions of dollars.  Al-'Otaibi  also noted Qatar's support for the Arab Spring revolutions, during which, he said, Qatar provided funds, arms and military personnel to political Islam organizations. He concluded by stating that, as long as Qatar maintains these ties and refrains from reassessing its policies, it will remain weak and isolated.

The following are excerpts from his article.[2]


Lolwah Al-Khater (image: Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London)

"In the 20 years since the coup carried out by [the former Qatari emir], Hamad bin Khalifa, against his father [Khalifa bin Hamad Aal Al-Thani] in the mid-1990s,[3] Qatar has earned many apt epithets, including 'Qatar of the Conspiracies,' 'Treasonous Qatar,' and 'Contradictory Qatar,' and, following the boycott [imposed on it in June 2017] by four Arab countries [Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain], also 'Qatar of the Strategic Obstinacy,' 'Qatar the Sanctuary State,' and many other [epithets].[4]

"[During her visit to] Washington, Qatar's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Lolwah Al-Khater made a statement that contravened all of Qatar's policies, its strategic inclination towards the MB and all [other]  political Islam organizations and their terror militias, and the support it extends to various organizations and currents [of this sort] on the political, economic, media and cultural levels and on every other conceivable level. Describing Qatar's position on the MB, she said, 'we neither oppose them nor support them,' and justified this with obsolete arguments whose shameful [falsity] was exposed years ago, for Qatar's ties with these organizations are as clear as day.  In fact, Qatar has gone far beyond this, and has supported Al-Qaeda, ISIS and Iran's terror militias in various ways. It especially [supported them] financially, [giving them] billions of dollars in various proven and documented incidents, mainly by [paying] ransom – whether to Jabhat Al-Nusra in Syria in the incident of the nuns of Ma'aloula,[5] or to Shi'ite militias in Iraq, in the well-known incident of the hunters.[6] 

"[Al-Khater's] statements may be a trial balloon ahead of [Qatar's] succumbing to the demands of the boycott countries and renouncing the MB and all the terror organizations, and perhaps it is merely a statement meant to throw sand in [everyone's] eyes – especially since she spoke in Washington, the capital of U.S. decision making, where President Trump is adopting a firm policy towards Iran and its allies in the region. He is also planning to reassess his treatment of the MB, in light of a new inclination that is emerging in several European states, to thoroughly examine this organization and the roles it is playing in those countries.

"Qatar's ties with the political Islam organizations are inextricable. They date back to the late 1950s and early 1990s [sic, probably meant 'early 1960s'], when [prominent Egyptian] MB members Yousuf Al-Qaradawi and 'Abd Al-Badi' Al-Saqer arrived [in Qatar], and gained momentum and impact with great speed after the 1995 coup [in Qatar], following which the Qatari leadership became hostile towards all its brethren [in the Arab states] and [started] spreading chaos within them and supporting fundamentalism and terror.

"These ties reached their peak during the so-called Arab Spring, which was blatantly the spring of fundamentalism and terror. Qatar supported it by every means at its disposal, as part of its firm alliance with the terror organizations that formed over 15 years ago. Qatari assistance was extended especially to these dangerous and organized [terror] groups in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and other countries where it was possible to supply these groups not just with money but also with weapons of every kind. [This was done] with the direct involvement of Qatari officers and military personnel, who managed some of these diverse operations, [for they] planned to destroy the Arab peoples, and succeeded in several countries, where Qatar's terrorists continue to sow ruin and destruction.

"Following the boycott imposed by the four Arab countries... on Doha, the latter was forced, due to the tight monitoring of its actions, to curb its urge to [support] these organizations, for it failed in most of the countries [where they operated]: Tunisia recovered following a difficult period, Egypt recovered [thanks to] the strength of its people and army, Yemen and its people will come back with a vengeance, for the war there continues and Qatar's allies are losing... and Libya is [also] about to liberate itself from the Qatar-supported terrorists.

"In sum, the decision-maker in Qatar is in crisis, for his cards, his failures and his plans have been exposed. As long as Qatar refrains from undertaking a genuine reassessment [of its policies] and performing a kind of coup, it will remain isolated and weak."   

 


[1] Al-monitor.com, March 26, 2019.

[2] Al-Ittihad (UAE), March 31, 2019.

[3] Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa, the father of the present Emir, deposed his own father in a bloodless coup in 1995.

[5] The reference is to a group of Greek Orthodox nuns from a monastery in Ma'aloula, north of Damascus, who were abducted in December 2013 by Jabhat Al-Nusra and released three months later. According to some reports, Qatar, which was involved in mediating their release, paid the organization 16 million dollars. See Raialyoum.com, March 10, 2014; aljazeera.net, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), March 11, 2014.  

[6] This refers to an incident in which Qatar reportedly paid a billion dollars to ransom 28 members of Qatar's ruling family who had been abducted by terror groups in Iraq in 2015 while on a hunting trip. See bbc.com/Arabic, July 17, 2018, mobtada.com, March 30, 2019.