RYAN MAURO: QATAR (PRONOUNCED GUTTER) IS NO ALLY
After 9/11, it became commonplace to ridicule the status of Saudi Arabia as an “ally.” For decades, American leaders cuddled up to the Saudi Royal Family as it spent billions of dollars to export radical Islam around the globe. Today, the U.S. is eager to have our “ally,” Qatar, take a leading role in the region while it does the exact same thing.
Qatar is home to Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, the most influential Sunni theologian and top Muslim Brotherhood cleric. He uses his popular show on Al-Jazeera, also based in Qatar, to rally support for Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and terrorism and to spout the most vial forms of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism. Support flows to the Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabist ideologues from Qatar.
Soeren Kern wrote an eye-opening article about Qatar’s role in funding the spread of radical Islam in the West. In France, it is spending $65 million low-income suburbs inhabited mostly by Muslim immigrants. Hundreds of these areas were coined by Dr. Daniel Pipes as “No-Go Zones” after the French government designated them as “Sensitive Urban Zones” because of their hostility to authority. When the police dare to enforce the law in these areas, violent riots are often sparked that quickly spiral out of control.
Qatar funds many of the mosques in Italy, 60% of which are controlled by Muslim Brotherhood entities, including a mega-mosque in Sicily. Another mega-mosque is being built with Qatari financing in Ireland.
The U.S. has reached out to Qatar for help in negotiating with the Taliban, toppling Moammar Qaddafi, helping the Syrian opposition battle Bashar Assad and in all likelihood, various other important issues behind-the-scenes. A heavy price comes with enlisting Qatar’s help. Whenever it is given the opportunity, Qatar uses its influence to help the Islamists overpower their secular democratic rivals.
Hamas has moved out of Syria and is dispersing its leadership to various countries, reportedly including Qatar. Israel has expressed anger over Qatar’s growing closeness to Hamas. The Taliban opened an office in Doha as part of its negotiations with the U.S. Sheikh Qaradawi has been outrageously given a key role in these talks. The Muslim Brotherhood and the even more radical Salafists used their resources in Qatar to win overwhelming victories in Egypt’s elections. An investigation found that millions of dollars from Qatar had gone to just a single Salafist organization.
In Libya, Qatar was the first Arab country to militarily back the opposition fighting Qaddafi. The U.S. was elated that Qatar secretly deployed hundreds of soldiers to train, arm and oversee rebel operations. When the NATO mission in Libya expired, the Qatar-led Friends of Libya coalition replaced its role. And what has Qatar used its influence to accomplish?
Its arms and money were directed towards the Islamist militias and political forces. One of Qatar’s allies in Libya is Abdel-Hakim Belhaj. He used to lead the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, an Al-Qaeda affiliate. Ayman al-Zawahiri designated him as the “emir of the mujahideen” in Libya. The Qatar-based Muslim Brotherhood cleric, Sheikh Ali Sallabi, oversaw the organization’s operations in Libya. His newly-formed political party seeks Sharia-based governance.
Sallabi and Belhaj led the charge against Mahmoud Jibril, the new secularist Prime Minister. Jibril resigned after Qaddafi was killed, admitting that he was outmatched. He immediately began warning of what Qatar is up to. When the military tried to bring Belhaj’s militia under its authority, he refused as the Qatari chief of staff looked on. The Qatari-backed Islamist bloc in Libya successfully had one of their own named as the Minister of Religious Affairs. He immediately got to work declaring elements of Sharia to be the law of the land. The struggle between the secularists and Islamists over the future of Libya continues, while the secularists’ complaints about Qatari influence falling on deaf ears.
Qatar is doing the same thing in Syria. Belhaj, the exact same proxy used to bolster the Islamists in Libya, has teamed up with the Syrian rebels who have nowhere else to go for outside help. The Syrian National Council, an umbrella of opposition forces, sent a delegation to meet with Sheikh Qaradawi in Qatar. Secularists in Syria, like those in Libya, are warning of the rising Islamist influence among the opposition. It is reported that the Saudis and Qataris are secretly funding arms purchases by the Syrian rebels. The Arab League recently endorsed sending financial aid to the opposition.
Qatar’s support for the Islamist cause isn’t anything new. In 1996, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed avoided arrest by the U.S. with the help of a member of the Royal Family. Documents published by Wikileaks show that there is strong evidence that three Qataris were involved in 9/11 and escaped back home. In 2009, a State Department memo said that Qatar is “considered the worst in the region” when it comes to cooperation in the War on Terror.
Qatar is the bank for the Islamist current within the Arab Spring and a major promoter of the ideology in the Western world. And as it writes the checks, the U.S. is applauding its “ally” for allowing us to lead from behind.
Ryan Mauro is Family Security Matters’ national security analyst. He is a fellow with RadicalIslam.org, the founder of WorldThreats.com and a frequent national security analyst for Fox News Channel. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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