May 7, 2019 Special Dispatch No. 8050

Saudi Journalist: Why Does U.S. Ignore Qatar's Support Of Terror, Ties With Iran?

May 7, 2019
Qatar, Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 8050

In his April 16, 2019 column in the Dubai-based Saudi daily Al-Hayat, Turki Muhammad Al-Sudairi pointed to discrepancies between the stated positions of some Western countries, chiefly the U.S., on various regional issues and the policy they pursue in practice. Focusing first on U.S. relations Qatar, he wondered why the U.S. – which purports to combat terror and to oppose all its supporters – ignores the fact that Qatar hosts leaders of terrorist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Taliban and maintains trade relations with Iran despite the U.S. sanctions on it. Not only does the U.S. not lift a finger against Qatar, it regards this country as an ally and continues to keep its largest foreign base on its soil, he wrote.

As another example Al-Sudairi pointed to the recent events in Libya, asking why the U.S. and the West oppose the Libyan army under Khalifa Haftar as it fights against armed militias which, according to Al-Sudairi, comprise members of Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS and are supported by Qatar, Turkey and Iran. He also mentions Yemen, wondering why the West urges the Yemeni government to negotiate with the Iran-backed Houthis, when it knows that the Houthis are no proponents of dialogue.

Turki Al-Sudairi (image:  

The following are excerpts from his article:

"Whoever follows the events these days is bewildered and confounded by the contradictions in the policies of countries vis-a-vis the events taking place in other countries... [and] may get a headache trying to figure out the positions of certain countries about all sorts of events. When the U.S. and several [other] Western states say that they are acting to combat terror and eliminate it everywhere, people may believe them. But whoever thinks deeply, analyses the events and tries to connects them will find it difficult to believe [this claim]. To clarify my point, let me present some examples.

"Qatar is home to the Al-'Udeid [Air] Base, the largest American base outside the U.S. But at the same time, Qatar hosts the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood party, when some U.S. allies have designated [the Muslim Brotherhood] as a terror organization. It also hosts Taliban leaders, and has even set up a [Taliban] diplomatic representation [in Qatar], despite the hostility that prevails between the Taliban and the U.S. Qatar also maintains trade relations and close ties with Iran, which shelters the remnants of the Al-Qaeda leadership, even though the U.S. has imposed harsh sanctions on Iran. Despite [all of this], the U.S. does not lift a finger and does not even condemn the conduct of the Qatari government.

"Whoever contemplates the relations between the two countries therefore feels bewildered and confused, and might almost conclude that [their] stated policy is at odds with reality and that there is more going on than meets the eye. Furthermore, Qatar tries to sow division among the Gulf states and feeds terrorism in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, some North African Arab countries and some African countries, yet the U.S. and the West do not lift a finger against the Qatari government's conduct. They did not even respond to the [FIFA] World Cup scandal, [namely to the allegations that Qatar] engaged in bribery and the buying of votes in order to host it... except by calling on all sides to resolve their differences by means of dialogue.

"Another example is what is happening in Libya. The Libyan army, under Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who has the support of the Libyan parliament, controls the eastern part of the country, while a [national] accord government headed by Fayez Al-Sarraj, who is backed by the international community and by several armed militias, controls the western part of the country. According to some sources, most of these militias are made up of the remnants of Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS. There is a clear rift between the two parts of the country, and all the mediation [efforts] and meetings that have been held in attempt to resolve the conflict have come to naught. The strange thing is that some [Western] countries support eastern Libya while others support the western part of the country, which, since the ouster of the Qaddafi regime, has been torn by conflict and by various armed militias with different loyalties that have spread throughout its territory.

"[This situation] prompted the remnants of the Libyan army to unite in order to purge eastern Libya of these militias, with the support of the Libyan parliament... The role of the Libyan army has steadily grown... and [in the recent weeks] it has finally turned towards western Libya. If there is truth to the reports that the militias deployed in western Libya – especially in Al-Misrata and Al-Zintan – are defending the national accord government in Tripoli and are supported by Qatar, Turkey and Iran, why do Western countries, chief of them the U.S., oppose the Libyan army and demand that it immediately stop its advance [in western Libya]?

"This is a strange contradiction in the Western policy towards the events in Libya. Perhaps the reason for these contradictory positions is that these [Western] countries wish to perpetuate the conflict [in Libya], which yields them millions in profits from selling arms and military gear and preserves their influence there, or perhaps they want to implement the principle of 'divide and conquer' and cleave Libya into two parts, just as Palestine has been divided into the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

"This leads us to [another] big question: What benefit do Qatar, Turkey and Iran derive by sowing division among the Palestinians? Especially considering that the head of the occupation government, [Binyamin Netanyahu], states explicitly that the rift between the West Bank and Gaza is an Israeli interest? This is yet another contradiction in the policy of the countries that purport to support the Palestinians' rights, but [actually] do the opposite.

"The third example is what is happening in Yemen, where the Iran-backed Houthi militia has taken over several regions by force and is sowing destruction and persecuting anyone who opposes it. [Yet] when the official regime, which is supported by the Arab coalition, tries to regain control [of the country], the West and the UN rush to demand a truce and dialogue, even though they know that these militias do not recognize [the notion of] dialogue and have frequently acted to sabotage it...

"Are we learning a lesson from what is happening around us? I hope we are."

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