Qatar’s ties with Iran and terror groups

Qatar’s ties with Iran and terror groups

June 13, 2017
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Fatma Al Dubais

DUBAI — The political crisis engulfing Qatar stems its supports for terror groups. Qatar denies the allegations, but its ties with Iran and embrace of various terror groups have brought intense scrutiny, made it a regional outlier and created enough smoke to suggest a fire.

Last week, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed ties with Qatar amid a slew of punitive measures.

On Friday, the four Arab states upped the pressure by naming 59 people and several charities linked to Qatar on a terrorist list.

Here’s a look at the various groups Qatar has been supporting and its relationship with them:

AL-QAEDA AND DAESH

Qatar’s Arab neighbors have said it of backing Al-Qaeda and the Daesh group’s ideology across the region, from Syria to the Sinai Peninsula. Experts and groups in Syria say Qatari finances have indirectly propped up militant groups.

MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD, A POLARIZING FORCE

The group remains one of the region’s most polarizing. Qatar aided the Brotherhood-led government in Cairo with billions of dollars. It was a key supporter of the group’s offshoots in Syria and Libya.

Qatar argues it supported Egypt as a whole, and not one particular faction, when the Brotherhood was in power.

HAMAS, THE RULER OF GAZA

The Palestinian group, an offshoot of Egypt’s Brotherhood, is considered a terrorist organization.

Qatar has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in roads, housing and a major hospital in the Gaza Strip. Its support for the territory makes Qatar one of its few foreign backers.

GROUPS HOLDING HOSTAGES FOR RANSOM

Qatar reportedly paid hundreds of millions of dollars to an Iranian-backed Shiite militia that had kidnapped the 26 hostages on Dec. 16, 2015 from a desert camp for falcon hunters in southern Iraq.

Egypt has asked the UN Security Council to investigate reports that Qatar “paid up to $1 billion to a terrorist group active in Iraq” to free the hostages, which would violate UN sanctions. The deal also allegedly resulted in the evacuation of residents of predominantly Shiite villages in Syria, where Iran’s proxies hold sway. Several people close to the negotiations say Qatar also paid a hefty sum to terror groups in Syria, including one linked to Al-Qaeda, for the evacuation of the residents.

IRAN, THE SHIITE POWERHOUSE

Qatar supports Shiite militant groups in Bahrain and Yemen. Qatar’s ambassador in Washington Meshal Bin Hamad Al Thani has said that the country has ties with Iran and shares with it a vast underwater natural gas field. — AP


June 13, 2017
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