Qatar: Arab boycott is a ‘declaration of war’

Image of Khaled Al-Attiyah, Qatari Image of Khaled Al-Attiyah, Qatari Minister of State for Defence [US Department of State/Flickr]

Image of Khaled Al-Attiyah, Qatari Minister of State for Defence

A “declaration of war without blood” has been made against Qatar by the countries which have imposed a siege on the Gulf state, Minister of State for Defence, Khaled Al-Attiyah, said yesterday.

“What can the closure of the land, sea and air borders to harm the citizens and hit the social fabric among the Gulf countries be described as?” he asked in an interview with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

“What Qatar is being subjected to is a campaign and siege which is a declaration of war without blood.”Speaking ahead of his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, due to take place in Ankara today, Al-Attiyah said: “Qatar and Turkey have historical and continuing ties, and my visit comes in the context of strengthening defence cooperation between the two countries.”

Read: Qatar says it will not negotiate unless neighbours lift ‘blockade’

Adding that the Turkish military base in Qatar would be discussed during the meeting.

Reagarding Doha’s relationship with America, Al-Attiyah said: “Qatar’s relationship with the United States is a strategic one, especially in the fight against terrorism.”

The closure of the American military base in Qatar is absolutely out of the question.

“Qatar is working to help the Syrian people through its international partners, the group of friends of Syria, headed by the United States, so all that is said about financing terrorist groups is totally shameful, and it means the demonisation of Qatar,” he said.

(Source / 30.06.2017)

Qatari FM: Hamas is a resistance movement, not terrorism

DOHA, PALESTINOW.COM — Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani said the Arab countries consider Hamas a resistance movement.

Hamas is not listed in the Gulf Cooperation Council’s terrorism lists even though it is listed in the US list of terrorist groups, he said, adding that relations with Hamas is not a charge.

In an interview with Russia Today during a visit he paid to Moscow on Saturday, the Qatari Minister denounced accusing Qatar of supporting Hamas Movement.

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He affirmed that his country supports the Palestinian people. Doha is assigned to coordinate the Palestinian reconciliation, he underlined. (PIC)

(Source / 11.06.2017)

Qatar working to achieve Palestinian reconciliation

Qatari construction materials in Gaza [file photo]

Qatari construction materials in Gaza [file photo]

Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Bin Jassim Al-Thani confirmed his country’s on-going efforts to achieve Palestinian reconciliation and end the division lasting years.

In a tweet posted by the minister after a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, head of Hamas’ political bureau, Khaled Meshaal, and his deputy, Ismail Haniyah, Al-Thani wrote: “I was happy to host Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Khaled Meshaal and Ismail Haniyeh earlier today. Qatar confirms its on-going efforts to achieve a national reconciliation.”

Al-Thani met with the Palestinian president on Thursday to discuss the bilateral relations between the two countries and to present the latest developments on the Palestinian arena.

The meeting also discussed Qatari efforts to achieve reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, and to unite the Palestinian ranks in its confrontation against the Israeli violations and meet the aspirations of Palestinians in restoring their legitimate rights.

During the meeting, the Palestinian president praised Qatar’s consistent and firm support for the Palestinian cause, it humanitarian efforts and initiatives to provide relief to the Palestinians. He also expressed his appreciation for Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad’s continued efforts and attempts to end the division and achieve national Palestinian reconciliation, according to the Qatar News Agency.

(Source / 29.10.2016)

Qatar calls on Israel to stop ‘illegal acts’ against Al-Aqsa Mosque

Al-Aqsa Mosque.  [File photo]

Qatar has condemned the actions of Israeli police and settlers regarding Al-Aqsa Mosque and has called on Israel to stop its “illegal acts” against the third holiest place for Muslims on earth, Anadolu agency reported.

A statement issue by the Qatari foreign ministry said that: “The state of Qatar strongly condemns the continuous and hostile practices carried out by Israel in Jerusalem.”

Qatar, according to the statement, considered attacks against Al-Aqsa Mosque carried out by Israeli settlers as “an incitement of Muslims’ feelings”.

The statement stressed that the “continuous Israeli violations against holy places” will only increase anger in the region.

On Sunday, Palestinian worshipers at Al-Aqsa Mosque faced a fierce attack carried out by Israeli settlers escorted by Israeli police and military. The attack resulted in dozens of wounded among the worshipers.

The Director of Al-Aqsa Mosque Omar Al-Kiswani previously told Anadolu that Israel’s Agriculture Minister, Uri Ariel, and around 120 settlers broke into Al-Aqsa Mosque on the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple Mount.

(Source / 29.07.2015)

Qatar says it will begin rebuilding 1,000 homes in Gaza

Palestinians, whose house was destroyed by what witnesses said was Israeli shelling during a 50-day war last summer, sit outside their wooden shelter donated by Catholic Relief Services, east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip Feb. 16, 2015

A Qatari official visiting a Gaza neighborhood heavily bombed in last summer’s war with Israel said on Tuesday the Gulf Arab state had begun a project to rebuild 1,000 homes as part of a $1 billion aid pledge.

Mohammad al-Amadi, head of the Qatari Committee to Rebuild Gaza, said that earlier in the day Israel had allowed four truckloads of cement into the Gaza Strip so that the planned construction of the dwellings could begin.

Asked about the shipment, the Israeli military agency that oversees civil interaction with the Hamas Islamist-ruled Palestinian enclave, declined immediate comment.

“Today we are starting the $1 billion (effort),” Amadi told reporters as he stood in the rubble of a hospital destroyed during the 50-day Gaza war.

Palestinian and United Nations officials said 130,000 houses had either been destroyed or damaged in the fighting.

“We want more countries to come and build Gaza. Gaza suffered from previous wars,” Amadi said.

At a donors’ conference in Cairo in October, some two months after the latest conflict ended in an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire, Qatar said it would provide $1 billion in reconstruction assistance for Gaza.

In all, some $5.4 billion was pledged at the meeting, but little of that has reached the Gaza Strip.

U.N. officials have said internal Palestinian divisions have blocked oversight by the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, Hamas’s rival, of the import of building materials.

Israel also tightly limits the flow of concrete, cement, iron bars and other materials into Gaza, as “dual use” items that could have a military purpose if they were seized by Hamas to rebuild tunnels used to launch attacks.

Qatar is a major ally of Hamas and currently hosts the group’s chief political leader, Khaled Meshaal.

(Source / 10.03.2015)

Qatar recalls ambassador from Egypt over Libya row

An Egyptian air force fighter jet is pictured landing at an undisclosed location in Egypt after air strikes against jihadist targets in Libya in this photo from Cairo's Ministry of Defence
.

Doha (AFP) – Qatar recalled its envoy to Cairo following a row over Egypt’s air strikes on Islamic State group targets in Libya, where jihadists tightened their grip Thursday by seizing a university.

Gunmen claiming IS affiliation seized Sirte university and a conference centre, days after taking control of state radio and other government buildings in the coastal city, witnesses said.

Sirte, the hometown of slain dictator Moamer Kadhafi, is a stronghold of Ansar al-Sharia, classified as a terrorist organisation by the United Nations and believed to have links to IS.

Last week, jihadists released a video showing the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya, most of them Egyptian, prompting Cairo to launch air strikes on IS targets in the eastern city of Derna.

Qatar reportedly expressed reservations over the strikes at a meeting in Cairo of the Arab League, raising the ire of Egypt’s delegate Tareq Adel who hit back by accusing it of supporting “terrorism”.

The Gulf state responded by recalling its ambassador to Cairo for consultations.

The spat came as Libyan officials urged the UN Security Council to lift an arms embargo to allow the country’s military to fight jihadists, who are spreading their influence from Syria and Iraq to the North African nation.

US President Barack Obama challenged Middle Eastern powers to stop actions that he claimed stoked the rise of IS, Al-Qaeda and other radical Islamic groups, urging them to stand up to “violent extremism”.

“All of us, regardless of our faith have a responsibility to reject it,” said Obama.

Most Gulf Arab nations, including Qatar, have joined the US-led coalition waging air strikes on IS in Iraq and Syria, where the jihadists have declared a “caliphate” across swathes of territory they control.

Egypt is also an ally of Washington, and a rift with Qatar and other Gulf monarchies would complicate efforts to forge a united front against IS and its affiliates across the region.

– Lawless Libya –

There is increasing concern that some rival militias battling for power and the oil wealth of lawless Libya have pledged allegiance to the Sunni Muslim extremists.

On Thursday, pictures emerged on social media of hooded gunmen in Sirte brandishing the black flag of IS on vehicles mounted with anti-aircraft guns.

Witnesses said the gunmen who seized Sirte University claimed to be IS jihadists.

The takeover came as the Islamist-backed Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn) coalition of militias that controls Tripoli and other key Libyan cities said it had sent units to “restore security in the city”.

An AFP photographer who visited Sirte briefly said Fajr Libya and IS forces kept their distance from each other, and that there were no hostilities.

Libya has been awash with weapons since Kadhafi was ousted and killed in 2011. It now has two rival governments and parliaments, one recognised by the international community and the other with ties to Islamists.

– Arab rift over Libya –

On Wednesday Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Dairi appealed to the Security Council to lift an arms embargo it imposed on Libya in 2011.

“Libya needs a decisive stance from the international community to help us build our national army’s capacity and this would come through a lifting of the embargo on weapons, so that our army can receive material and weapons, so as to deal with this rampant terrorism,” Dairi said.

But Qatar said it wants the embargo to remain in place and expressed reservations over Egypt’s air raids.

Saad bin Ali al-Mohannadi, director of Arab affairs at Qatar’s foreign ministry, stressed the need for “consultations before any unilateral military action against another member state”.

The ministry denounced Cairo’s “tense” statement at the Arab League but said Qatar would always remain supportive of Egypt.

The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council said it rejected “accusations by Egypt’s permanent envoy at the Arab League that Qatar supports terrorism”.

Ties between Doha and Cairo had been strained over Qatar’s backing for Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, ousted by then army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in 2013.

In December, however, there was an apparent thaw when Qatar gave full support to Sisi, although Doha still shelters many leaders of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood blacklisted by Cairo.

(Source / 19.02.2015)

Top Qatari editor urges Muslims ‘not to apologize’ for Paris shooting

A member of the media makes images of the front page of Charlie Hebdo which shows a caricature of French author Michel Houellebecq near the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper, after a shooting Jan. 7, 2015

The editor-in-chief of a major Qatari newspaper has stirred controversy on Twitter after urging Muslims “not to apologize” for the killing of journalists in Paris, claiming that “France was looking for an excuse to intervene in Libya.”

“Don’t apologize for a crime you did not commit,” said Abdullah Al Athba, prominent Qatari journalist and editor-in-chief Al Arab newspaper, in a twitter statement.

أرجو ألا يعتذر المسلمون عن قتل الصحافيين في فرنسا. لا تعتذروا عن جريمة لم تفعلوها!!! لا يجلبن عليكم الريبرارين العرب بقنواتهم وصحافتهم..

He also suggested there could be a link between what he said was an increase in attacks on Mosques across Europe and the latest attack on the French newspaper’s offices.

Al Athba told Al Arabiya News in an email statement that: “Attacking innocents is unacceptable and should be condemned and I am against the killing of my fellow journalists.”

“But why is the issue being linked Islam and Muslims? There are extremist Christians as there are extremist Jews, yet no one asks the Church for example to condemn attacks on Muslims and Mosques in Sweden and hatred campaigns against Muslims in Germany.”

“So why do we as Muslims have to apologize for a crime we have not committed? We have to deal with the individual, or individuals who committed a crime without regard to their religion, especially that punishment in law only applies to the perpetrator,” he added.

“The French judiciary is supposed to deal with the case without politicizing it or taking it as an excuse against Muslims in France or in the West or elsewhere,” Al Athba continued.

Reactions

Al Athba’s comments were criticized by several of his followers, with one Twitter user (Takhabbatasiran) replying: “Does France need this operation to intervene in Libya, give us a break.”

“Man, spare us your analyses,” said another user (AldosariFfqatar), before suggesting that such comments could create a crisis for Qatar with France.

Yasser Abdel Aziz, a Cairo-based media analyst, said Arab journalists should first condemn “any attack on journalism and journalists from any source.”

“Second, they should not rush into conclusions on the incident and its perpetrators until evidence is unveiled,” he added.

“What happened is a massive assault on the press and the freedom of press,” he said. “And this assault follows a series of attacks and violations on the press and journalists in different parts of the world, which appeared to increase over the past few years, from different sources, including governments, and extremist groups.”

He explained that “unsound or surprise reactions” from some Arab journalists or media figures could be attributed to “uncertainties” in the Arab world toward “Western political and media behavior toward the situation of extremism in the Middle East.”

The Arab League and Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world’s top religious institution, strongly condemned the deadly shooting by the black-hooded gunmen.

“Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi strongly condemns the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris,” the League said.

In remarks carried by Egypt’s state news agency MENA, Al-Azhar said: “Islam denounces any violence.”

Saudi Arabia has also condemned the shooting at the French newspaper in Paris.

The official SPA news agency carried a statement saying: “Saudi Arabia denounces this cowardly terrorist act which Islam as well as other religions reject.”

“[Saudi Arabia] offers its condolences to the families of the victims as well as the government and people of the French republic and wishes a speedy recovery for the wounded,” the statement added.

(Source / 09.01.2015)

Qatar gives ‘full support’ to Sisi’s Egypt

Qatar’s backing ends more than a year of regional isolation over its support of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi

Egyptian demonstrators supporting President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at a rally in November

Qatar has pledged its “full support” to Egypt, an official statement said, ending more than a year of regional isolation over its support for Cairo’s ousted Islamist president.

“The security of Egypt is important for the security of Qatar . . . the two countries are linked by deep and fraternal ties,” said a statement from the office of the Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

The statement came a day after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met in Cairo with a Qatari envoy.

After the meeting with Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdel Rahman Al-Thani, Sisi’s office issued a statement saying: “Egypt looks forward to a new era that ends past disagreements.”

In its statement Sunday, Qatar thanked Saudi Arabia for its mediation in a diplomatic crisis that had seen several Gulf states pull their ambassadors from Doha.

Saudi, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed ties following Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood after the ouster of Islamist Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in July last year.

But at a reconciliation summit in November hosted by Riyadh, Qatar joined its Gulf neighbours in supporting Egypt under Sisi.

The summit came amid security fears over the rise of the Islamic State jihadist group in Syria and Iraq. Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have all joined US-led air strikes against the IS in Syria.

Qatar had repeatedly denounced Morsi’s removal, and has provided shelter for many Brotherhood leaders, including those who have been forced to flee a crackdown in Egypt.

According to the pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat, Sisi and Thani are expected in Riyadh soon for a summit hosted by Saudi King Abdullah.

(Source / 21.12.2014)

More than 100 migrant workers may be deported after Qatar strike

Workers complain of not being paid previously promised salaries

Nepalese migrant workers queue to receive official documents in order to leave Nepal

More than a hundred migrant workers, striking over low pay in Qatar, are currently being detained and in the midst of being processed for deportation.

Doha News reported on Monday that the men, who primarily originate from Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were arrested after striking for three days straight. According to their colleagues, the workers refused to return until pay and conditions were improved.

Police and other company workers, however, scuffled with the strikers with one camp boss allegedly hitting workers with a piece of plastic pipe. Hours later the 100-odd workers were arrested.

Around 800 people from two subcontractors, Qatar Freelance Trading & Contracting and Qatar Middle East Co., participated in the strike.

“I’m hard working, but the salary is not on time, the food is not good … and when people are sick, the company takes their pay,” one worker told Doha News.

A number of Nepali workers complained that they had been paid only QR600 ($165) as opposed to the minimum monthly salary of QR900 ($250) set by the Nepal government, with several saying they had signed contracts promising QR1,200 ($330).

But Hamid Nawaz, the general manager of Qatar Freelance Trading and Contracting, denied accusations that he had not paid workers their fair share and claimed they were striking simply because they “wanted more money.”

Nepali news website eKantipur quoted one migrant worker as saying he had worked at a monthly salary of QR600 for the past four years and that after all his expenses he could barely save money to send home, as migrant workers commonly do.

“We’d rather return home with all perks we are entitled to if our demand is not met,” he said.

The labour attaché at the Nepali embassy in Qatar told the news website that he had discussed the issue with the employer, who could not “increase salary of the workers at this time” but were “ready to repatriate them.”

The GCC countries, including Qatar, have promised a raft of reforms to help tackle issues concerning migrant and domestic workers, although change has been slow despite growing international pressure ahead of the FIFA football World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) said in a statement that “Qatar’s brutal disregard for migrant workers is on display once again. The ‘labour reforms’ promised by the authorities add up to nothing, and FIFA, the athletics body IAAF, multinationals and others which are getting a free ride on the back of modern slavery in Qatar should be ashamed to be in league with a dictatorship like this.”

She slammed Qatar’s restrictive labour laws, which the ITUC has previously ranked as among the worst in the world, on a par with those of a failed state.

“This is what life without the right to strike looks like,” said Burrow. “It is deeply troubling that employer groups are now trying to undermine that very right at the International Labour Organisation.”

“The world needs to uphold rights, and not put every worker at the mercy of their employer with no right to strike against exploitation and abuse, like in Qatar.”

(Source / 26.11.2014)

ISIS Free Movements in Qatar’s Western Bay

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, Emir of Qatar,

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, Emir of Qatar

Qatar has joined the American-led coalition to fight ISIS, yet the emirate is a haven for anti-Western groups and foreign diplomats have reported seeing cars with ISIS logos in an affluent bay district.

Such ambiguity runs through Qatari policy. When the United States sought allies against ISIS in Sept, Qatar was among the Persian Gulf Arab states that sent its warplanes into action.

But while Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates welcomed media coverage, Qatar was silent. There was talk among diplomats that Qatari planes merely flew a reconnaissance mission on the first night of the attacks.

In fact, a security source close to the government said, its planes did attack ISIS targets in Syria later in the campaign, although that has not been officially confirmed.

Diplomats and analysts said the episode showed two things: First, Qatar’s decision to join the hostilities was a pragmatic response to pressure from fellow Persian Gulf Arabs, who have rebuked Qatar for backing “Islamists” during “Arab Spring revolts”. Second, diplomats say, Qatar’s reticence about its role suggests that it is also being careful to preserve influence with Islamist forces it believes are the long-term future.

Three years after the start of the Arab Spring, the Middle East is experiencing a backlash against “political Islam”, and Qatar is trimming its policies. In so doing, the contradictory nature of those policies is being exposed.

Two F-15E Strike Eagle’s from the 336th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron taxi for take off prior to a combat mission at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar

Qatar hosts the largest U.S. air base in the Middle East, owns swathes of Western real estate and is an enthusiastic customer for Western weaponry. Yet it also provides haven to anti-Western groups such as the Afghan Taliban, Palestinian Hamas and Algeria’s Islamic Salvation Front.

Their members frequent downtown shopping malls, rubbing shoulders with Western expatriates, and worship in mosques attended by Qataris and Muslim guest workers.

They live out of town in secluded districts. North of Doha lies the town of Umm al-Amad, a huddle of farms and small mosques, which shelters a number of Syrians belonging to the al-Tawhid, one of dozens of armed Islamist factions fighting the Syrian Army and government.

Opinions that would invite the attention of the police in pro-Western Bahrain or UAE, are commonplace here. In Umm al-Amad, the Egyptian director of a private religious school teaching young girls the Koran, said the Qatari government did not interfere with the school’s teaching.

“What’s happening these days is a war against Islam,” she said. Then, apparently referring to ISIS or the al Qaeda-aligned Nusra Front, she added: “Those fighters in Syria and Iraq fighting against the crusaders… have a just cause.”

SUSPICION

The breadth and resilience of Qatar’s links to Islamist groups fuels suspicions in many other Persian Gulf states. Three of them – the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain – withdrew ambassadors from Qatar earlier this year in protest at what they saw as Doha’s interference in their internal affairs.

That allegation – denied by Qatar – centres on Doha’s backing for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and sister organisations that oppose the absolute rule of the Persian Gulf’s hereditary rulers.

The open rift among the Arab world’s wealthiest countries has ramifications across the Middle East, because Qatar and its Persian Gulf Arab critics find themselves backing rival forces in struggles from Libya and Egypt to Lebanon and Gaza.

Qatar has sought to soothe tensions. In September, Qatar asked seven senior Brotherhood figures to leave the country, following months of pressure from neighbors to stop backing the Islamists.

Ibrahim Munir, a senior Brotherhood official based in London, told Reuters at the time that the departures did not mean a rupture in ties between Qatar and the Brotherhood.

owever diplomatic sources in the Persian Gulf say that to placate Saudi Arabia, another batch of slamists including Brotherhood members would be leaving soon.

A July 4, 2012 file picture shows Egyptian former President Mohamed Morsi (R) shaking hands with Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusef al-Qaradawi, chairman of the International Association of Muslim Scholars (IAMS), during a meeting in Cairo.

Other sources of dispute are Youssef al-Qaradawi, a prominent cleric associated with the Brotherhood, and Doha-based Al Jazeera news channel, which is accused by some Persian Gulf states of promoting the Brotherhood, a charge the channel denies.

Qaradawi, whose sermons have often criticised Egypt’s army-backed rulers, has spoken less frequently in public in recent months.

But still, mistrust remains. “The Muslim Brotherhood expulsions helped, and Qaradawi has been quiet,” said a senior Western diplomat in the Persian Gulf, “But the Qataris are trying to do the absolute minimum.

“Like members of foreign Islamist groups, Brotherhood people live in Qatar on condition that they do not cause any political disruption to the country’s security or leadership. But there is a grey area in the deal that worries Qatar’s Persian Gulf Arab neighbours.”

Qatar says that these Islamists cannot engage in political activity, but that’s only related to their (Qatari) security, not to others’ (security).”Islamists here use Doha as an active launch pad for their media campaigns, communications and logistics which directly have an impact on the security of other Arab states,” said an Arab diplomat in Doha.

LOGOS AND RANSOMS          

Western diplomats in Doha say they have spotted cars with ISIS logos driving around West Bay, one of Qatar’s most affluent areas where the majority of expats live and work.
“Of course we were alarmed when we saw the logos, but we were told they were being watched closely by authorities and there isn’t much to worry about,” said a diplomat who spotted the logos.

The recent pragmatic tone in Qatari policy, diplomats and analysts say, is attributable to its new ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. His style is in contrast to that of his father Sheikh Hamad, who abdicated last year after steering the nation to global prominence in media, sports, finance and energy.

The extent to which Tamim is prepared to reduce ties to Islamists is not clear. “The new emir is pragmatic, he doesn’t want trouble … sometimes you need to stay quiet for a while, to come back stronger,” said a Qatari government consultant.

Qatar’s critics say Doha continues to back militant Islamists in Libya and elsewhere and pays ransoms to militants for the release of hostages, helping to enrich radical groups, a charge Qatar denies.

Qatar’s relationship with Nusra Front is a case in point. Qatar was more hesitant than fellow Persian Gulf states about the bombing campaign in Syria, in part because it was keen to avoid targeting sites of Nusra, an al-Qaeda affiliate with which Qatar has kept contact since the start of the Syrian unrest, said the security source close to the Qatari government.

Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (L) meeting King Abdullah in Mecca on August 2, 2013

Nusra was hit by U.S. planes on the campaign’s first night.Militant funding was brought up by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah when Sheikh Tamim flew to meet him in Jeddah earlier this month to try to mend the rift in relations.

A senior Jeddah-based source said the king questioned Qatar’s methods of freeing hostages and asked for tighter control on individuals in Doha financing terrorist groups.

Qatari officials deny paying ransom for hostages, but Western diplomatic sources in Doha say otherwise. Payment for captives is discouraged by Saudi Arabia and Washington.

A Qatari source involved in charity work and coordination of freeing political hostages told Reuters that in the case of the 13 Greek Orthodox nuns who were released in March by Islamist fighters in Syria, Qatar had paid for their release.

In August a German cabinet minister accused Qatar of financing IS militants. The United States has repeatedly expressed concern about funding from Arab states. To try to put an end to the criticism, the Gulf state’s leadership has spoken out.

“What is happening in Iraq and Syria is extremism and such organizations are partly financed from abroad, but Qatar has never supported and will never support terrorist organizations,” said Sheikh Tamim during a visit to Germany in September.

The emir later issued a law to regulate charities involved in politics, as well as those that sent money abroad or received foreign financing, to try to crack down on any terror financing. But in Qatar, what constitutes extremism is open for debate.

In a CNN interview aired on Sept 25, Sheikh Tamim acknowledged Qatar’s differences with its Persian Gulf neighbours over its Islamist allies. He said some countries had argued that “any group which is – which comes from an Islamist background – are terrorists. And we don’t accept that … To consider them extremist, I think, this is a big mistake and it’s a danger.”

(Source / 03.11.2014)