UI – Part 494 – Qatar
Friend or Foe?
Honest or Lying?
Qatar is a small Arab nation, one of the emirates. It’s capital is Doha. Pronounced ‘cutter.’ It borders the eastern side of Saudi Arabia, it’s only land border. Otherwise it is surrounded by water, the Persian Gulf or Arabian Sea, as you prefer. The U.A.E is due south. The population is between 2.6 and 2.7 million. A family, the Al Thani family, rule. Qatar is a hereditary monarchy. Of the total population only 300,000, slightly more, are Qatari citizens. The remainder are foreigners, mostly workers, some referred to as expatriates. Gas and oil are the primary source of revenues, 3rd-largest in reserves.
In June 2017 several surrounding Arab nations cut ties with Qatar, calling this country out for supporting terrorists, financially and otherwise. It was Qatar that agreed to harbor 5 Gitmo detainees in an agreement with Obama (44th President of the USA). Qatar supports the Muslim Brotherhood (‘MB’) as well as extremist groups in Syria, possibly Hizbollah, and Hamas (Palestine). The Arab news journal Al Jazeera is based in Qatar. It is owned by the State of Qatar. What comes into question is Qatar’s foreign policy when Islamist terrorist groups are aided to undermine governments in Egypt, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Mali, mostly MB affiliates. Taliban and al-Qaeda linked groups are also helped by Qatar.
Long term Guantanamo detainees from Afghanistan, the Taliban Five, described as “the hardest of the hard-core,” were released by President Obama in custody to Qatar on June 1, 2014. This was in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl, the army deserter held captive by the Taliban. A House Armed Services Committee report in December 2015 reported the five have resumed their terrorist activities that include killing Shiite Muslims and plugging into their past terrorist networks.
Sharia Law is the rule of Law in Qatar. Polygamy is permitted. Death for apostates of Islam enforced. Interpretation is Wahhabism. Stoning is a form of punishment. Punishment for homosexuality is death. Religions other than Islam, proselytizing, are not permitted, punishable by 10 years in prison. Non-Muslims can drink, Muslims cannot, punishable by being whipped. Tourists are encouraged to respect dress codes calling for modesty.
Qatar recently hired several lobbying firms to aide in building positive PR for this Country as well as avoid being either labelled a terrorist support nation or a backer of terrorist organizations, such as the MB. The funding of lobbyists is an attempt to get the ear of Trump and SOS Tillerson to thwart any movement towards categorizing C.A.I.R. or MB or affiliates as terrorist organizations (which they are). From The hill.com on June 13, 2017, “Qatar has five K Street firms on retainer, paying more than $1.8 million on its advocacy efforts…,” “Qatar agreed to pay the firm (of former US AG John Ashcroft) $2.5 million up front for three months of work that will be led by Ashcroft (to improve or ‘bolster’ US relations).” From Politico.com on July 19, 2017, “Qatar also hired another Washington firm, Information Management Services, on a separate three-month contract worth more than $1.1 million (to do PR),” “Qatar insists it is on board with the U.S. goal of defeating terrorism. But there’s evidence Qatar maintains links to questionable outfits.” “Lobbyists familiar with the efforts say the Qataris are looking to add even more lobbying muscle. ‘I know the Qataris are actively looking for lobbyists,’ one lobbyist said. ‘And they’re ready to spend money.’”
In 1995 Sheikh Al Thani, a moderate and egalitarian leader, was overthrown by his son (same name) a more fundamentalist Islamist. The foreign workers (over 2,000,000) are considered “often virtually enslaved foreign workers,” by Raymond Stock, previously Head of the Academic Section under the Cultural Attaché of the State of Qatar, part of the Qatari embassy in the US (1986-1990). The son has ties to Al Qaeda (AQ) which is worrisome. His role with Al Jazeera has influenced its use as a propaganda arm agitating other Arab regimes, using Islamist ideals and offering anti-Western messages. He is also a proponent of the MB and their policies and objectives. Another son, Sheikh Tamim, that of the 1995 successor, assumed the reigns of power (Emir) in 2013 when his father abdicated. That is when most of the funding of Islamic terrorist organizations is reported to have begun. It needs to be noted that Obama backed the MB at the time of the Arab spring in Egypt, working with Qatar as well as Saudi Arabia. Qatar still desires the overthrown of Egypt’s President , al Sisi. It continues to have strong ties with Hamas, although claiming it is mostly a supporter of Palestine.
Tamim continues to support Islamist causes, upsetting to other Muslim regimes as well as the West. Will this new young leader be more conservative and less of an agitator that his father? Migrant workers in Qatar remain as slaves, live under unsanitary conditions, many have to give up their passports, often receive wages late or not at all, and have little to say or can say. Tamim is indifferent to the struggle of foreign workers.
We must be aware and beware of extremely wealthy pockets of Islamist control such as Qatar.
Grace and Peace