Saudi vs. Qatar

Nervana Mahmoud criticizes the Western Media’s unbalanced portrayal of the Qatar crisis

The behaviour of those Western media outlets reminds me of a similar pattern in Arabic media that I have witnessed from a very young age. Whenever a crisis emerged in the region between Arab states, Arab pundits and newspaper editorial boards took sides and started to shower opponents with accusations. The result has always been a constant state of polarization and confusion in which public opinion is shaped by distorted truth. I grew up yearning for the day I could read Western editorials and opinion pieces, assuming (rather naively) that the level of depth and professionalism would be much better. And it was; when I first moved to England, reading the printed editions of most prominent American and British outlets was simply a pleasure. Depth and nuance and covering various angles of conflicts have always been the staples of Western journalism.

Not any more. Recently a new trend has emerged, in which liberal journalists seem to think that defending Islamism, particularly after the failure of the various Arab uprisings, is a moral duty against the various autocratic leaders in the Middle East. Editorials defending political Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and its patron nations like Qatar has become a recurring theme. Legitimate accusations against Islamists are downplayed, dismissed, or ignored altogether. Balance, nuance, and depth in covering the region’s complex crises have become a rarity these days; shallowness, instead, is now the journalistic neo-norm. The easy way to defend the Brotherhood Islamism and its patron Qatar is to write about Saudi Salafism and Egypt’s Sisi oppression. Both are indeed facts, but both are also part of a complex and intertwined net of events in which Islamists are not innocent victims.

Qatar’s support of the Brotherhood’s style of Islamism is problematic mainly because of its deceptive faux moderate veneer and its disingenuous support of democracy, while it is as autocratic and oppressive as the autocratic leadership they claim to oppose. If Qatar is truly moderate, it will not tolerate Al-Jazeera Arabic’s open sectarian tone, and it will not allow its Doha- based anchors and scholars to spread hatred and xenophobia. Since 2011, none of the Qatar-based activists, pundits, or scholars has once advocated harmony or reconciliation; instead they feed more anger, hatred, and division.

I despise Qatar and Saudi equally, so I don’t take sides. I’m just sitting here, eating popcorn, watching them pelt each other with their own filth.

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Saudi also Supports Terrorism

Thanks to news.com.au:

While Qatar has no doubt supported Islamist and extremist groups, Saudi Arabia is far from innocent. Therein lies the hypocrisy.
Riyadh, the capital, has itself faced accusations of tolerating or even supporting extremists, in particular after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

And in some cases there’s evidence to suggest Saudi Arabia has supported or co-sponsored some of the same figures it has accused its own neighbour of supporting.

Among Saudi’s biggest gripes is Qatar’s support for figures such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Islamist theologian and the “unofficial ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood”.

According to non-profit policy organisation the Counter Extremism Project, the Doha-based cleric — known for his extremist rhetoric and militant fatwas and is one of Sunni Islam’s most influential scholars.

He’s been offered a leadership role within the Brotherhood but has refused and doesn’t want to limit his reach by joining any organisation that might “constrain (his) actions”.

The Egyptian-born figure has been banned from visiting the US, UK and France due to his reputation as a violence-inciting Islamist, the CEP report.

Al-Qaradawi has been open about urging Muslims who are unable to fight jihad to financially support the mujahedeen, supported suicide bombings, and has called for the execution of Americans in Iraq, homosexuals and Jewish people.

Former Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal is also on the list.

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Saudi says Qatar sponsors terrorism

The Saudis and their friends (United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain) have collectively designated 59 individuals and 12 institutions that have financed terrorist organizations and received support from Qatar.

Since I wish a pox on both of the Saud and Thani houses, I’m publishing it here for later reference.

List of designated individuals:
1. Khalifa Mohammed Turki al-Subaie – Qatari
2. Abdelmalek Mohammed Yousef Abdel Salam – Jordanian
3. Ashraf Mohammed Yusuf Othman Abdel Salam – Jordanian
4. Ibrahim Eissa Al-Hajji Mohammed Al-Baker – Qatari
5. Abdulaziz bin Khalifa al-Attiyah – Qatari
6. Salem Hassan Khalifa Rashid al-Kuwari – Qatari
7. Abdullah Ghanem Muslim al-Khawar – Qatari
8. Saad bin Saad Mohammed al-Kaabi – Qatari
9. Abdullatif bin Abdullah al-Kuwari – Qatari
10. Mohammed Saeed Bin Helwan al-Sakhtari – Qatari
11. Abdul Rahman bin Omair al-Nuaimi – Qatari
12. Abdul Wahab Mohammed Abdul Rahman al-Hmeikani – Yemeni
13. Khalifa bin Mohammed al-Rabban – Qatari
14. Abdullah Bin Khalid al-Thani – Qatari
15. Abdul Rahim Ahmad al-Haram – Qatari
16. Hajjaj bin Fahad Hajjaj Mohammed al-Ajmi – Kuwaiti
17. Mubarak Mohammed al-Ajji – Qatari
18. Jaber bin Nasser al-Marri – Qatari
19. Yusuf Abdullah al-Qaradawi – Egyptian
20. Mohammed Jassim al-Sulaiti – Qatari
21. Ali bin Abdullah al-Suwaidi – Qatari
22. Hashem Saleh Abdullah al-Awadhi – Qatari
23. Ali Mohammed Mohammed al-Salabi – Libyan
24. Abdelhakim Belhadj – Libyan
25. Mahdi Harati – Libyan
26. Ismail Muhammad Mohammed al-Salabi – Libyan
27. Al-Sadiq Abdulrahman Ali al-Ghuraini – Libyan
28. Hamad Abdullah Al-Futtais al-Marri – Qatari
29. Mohamed Ahmed Shawky Islambouli – Egyptian
30. Tariq Abdelmagoud Ibrahim al-Zomor – Egyptian
31. Mohamed Abdelmaksoud Mohamed Afifi – Egyptian
32. Mohamed el-Saghir Abdel Rahim Mohamed – Egyptian
33. Wagdy Abdelhamid Ghoneim – Egyptian
34. Hassan Ahmed Hassan Mohammed Al Dokki Al Houti – UAE
35. Hakem al-Humaidi al-Mutairi – Saudi / Kuwaiti
36. Abdullah al-Muhaysini – Saudi
37. Hamed Abdullah Ahmed al-Ali – Kuwaiti
38. Ayman Ahmed Abdel Ghani Hassanein – Egyptian
39. Assem Abdel-Maged Mohamed Madi – Egyptian
40. Yahya Aqil Salman Aqeel – Egyptian
41. Mohamed Hamada el-Sayed Ibrahim – Egyptian
42. Abdel Rahman Mohamed Shokry Abdel Rahman – Egyptian
43. Hussein Mohamed Reza Ibrahim Youssef – Egyptian
44. Ahmed Abdelhafif Mahmoud Abdelhady – Egyptian
45. Muslim Fouad Tafran – Egyptian
46. Ayman Mahmoud Sadeq Rifat – Egyptian
47. Mohamed Saad Abdel-Naim Ahmed – Egyptian
48. Mohamed Saad Abdel Muttalib Abdo Al-Razaki – Egyptian
49. Ahmed Fouad Ahmed Gad Beltagy – Egyptian
50. Ahmed Ragab Ragab Soliman – Egyptian
51. Karim Mohamed Mohamed Abdel Aziz – Egyptian
52. Ali Zaki Mohammed Ali – Egyptian
53. Naji Ibrahim Ezzouli – Egyptian
54. Shehata Fathi Hafez Mohammed Suleiman – Egyptian
55. Muhammad Muharram Fahmi Abu Zeid – Egyptian
56. Amr Abdel Nasser Abdelhak Abdel-Barry – Egyptian
57. Ali Hassan Ibrahim Abdel-Zaher – Egyptian
58. Murtada Majeed al-Sindi – Bahraini
59. Ahmed Al-Hassan al-Daski – Bahraini

List of entities:
1. Qatar Volunteer Center – Qatar
2. Doha Apple Company (Internet and Technology Support Company) – Qatar
3. Qatar Charity – Qatar
4. Sheikh Eid al-Thani Charity Foundation (Eid Charity) – Qatar
5. Sheikh Thani Bin Abdullah Foundation for Humanitarian Services – Qatar
6. Saraya Defend Benghazi – Libya
7. Saraya al-Ashtar – Bahrain
8. February 14 Coalition – Bahrain
9. The Resistance Brigades – Bahrain
10. Hezbollah Bahrain – Bahrain
11. Saraya al-Mukhtar – Bahrain
12. Harakat Ahrar Bahrain – Bahrain Movement

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The Rivalry between Qatar and Saudi is Dragging Everyone in…

All the terror-supporting leaders are coming out from the shadows and taking sides ..

Turkey on Wednesday threw its weight behind its ally Qatar, fast-tracking plans to deploy extra Turkish troops to the emirate as Arab rivals cut transport links and supply lines.

The move potentially puts Ankara on collision course with Riyadh as tensions flare over Saudi-led attempts to isolate Qatar in protest at its alleged support for extremist groups in the Middle East and its softer approach to Iran.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that it was wrong to impose sanctions on Doha. “It will not contribute to solving any problem to try and isolate in this way Qatar, which we know for sure has fought very effectively against terrorist groups,” he said.

Turkey’s parliament on Wednesday night adopted a law to allow Turkish troops to be stationed on Qatari soil.

Turkish officials were eager to stress that the country wanted to be seen as neutral in the dispute. “We feel Qatar and Saudi Arabia are very close friends and we do not want to differentiate between them and take sides,” said a senior Turkish official. He added, however, that Turkey “will not allow Qatar to be beaten up”.

The show-down with Qatar has created what is arguably the most serious crisis between Gulf nations since since Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The animosity between Saudi Arabia and Iran that partly lies behind it intensified on Wednesday when Iranian hardliners blamed Riyadh for a twin terror attack in Tehran that killed 12 people.

After initially lending his backing to Saudi Arabia’s clampdown on Qatar, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday called Qatar’s emir Tamim bin Hamad to urge a negotiated solution among Gulf countrie. Mr Trump offered “to help the parties resolve their differences, including through a meeting at the White House if necessary”.

via Turkey throws weight behind Qatar in Gulf showdown

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Saudi Arabia’s role in 9/11

We’re empowering the worst of the worst

The pages are devastating:

Page 415: “While in the United States, some of the September 11 hijackers were in contact with, and received support and assistance from, individuals who may be connected to the Saudi Government.… [A]t least two of those individuals were alleged by some to be Saudi intelligence officers.”

Page 417:

One of the individuals identified in the pages as a financial supporter of two of the 9/11 hijackers, Osama Bassnan, later received a “significant amount of cash” from “a member of the Saudi Royal Family”

One of the individuals identified in the pages as a financial supporter of two of the 9/11 hijackers, Osama Bassnan, later received a “significant amount of cash” from “a member of the Saudi Royal Family” during a 2002 trip to Houston.

Page 418: “Another Saudi national with close ties to the Saudi Royal Family, [deleted], is the subject of FBI counterterrorism investigations.”

Pages 418 and 419: Detained al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida had in his phone book the unlisted number for the security company that managed the Colorado residence of the then-Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan.

Page 421: “a [deleted], dated July 2, 2002, [indicates] ‘incontrovertible evidence that there is support for these terrorists inside the Saudi Government.’”

Page 426: Bassnan’s wife was receiving money “from Princess Haifa Bint Sultan,” the wife of the Saudi ambassador. (Her correct name is actually Princess Haifa bint Faisal.)

Page 436: The general counsel of the U.S. Treasury Department, David Aufhauser, testified that “offices [of the Saudi charity al-Haramain] have significant contacts with extremists, Islamic extremists.” CIA officials also testified “that they were making progress on their investigations of al-Haramain.… [T]he head of the central office is complicit in supporting terrorism, and it also raised questions about [then-Saudi Interior Minister] Prince Nayef.”

On reading this, I let out a shout: “Yes!”

In January 2002, U.S. News & World Report quoted two unidentified Clinton administration officials as saying that two senior Saudi princes had been paying off Osama bin Laden since a 1995 bombing in Riyadh, which killed five American military advisors. I followed up in an August 2002 Wall Street Journal op-ed, reporting that U.S. and British officials had told me the names of the two senior princes who were using official Saudi money — not their own — to pay off bin Laden to cause trouble elsewhere but not in the kingdom. I referred to the princes in a later Wall Street Journal op-ed: They were Prince Nayef, the father of the current crown prince, Muhammad bin Nayef, and his brother Prince Sultan, then-defense minister and father of Prince Bandar. Both Prince Nayef and Prince Sultan are now dead.

The U.S. News & World Reportarticle quoted a Saudi official as saying: “Where’s the evidence? Nobody offers proof.”

The U.S. News & World Report article quoted a Saudi official as saying: “Where’s the evidence? Nobody offers proof.” That official was current Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, who has no doubt spent recent days lobbying members of Congress and doing advance damage control — my bet is he has probably been using the same lines.

But with the release of the 29 pages, and their detailed description of the financial connections between the 9/11 hijackers and Saudi officials, Jubeir’s argument has become increasingly difficult to make. The inquiry, after all, quotes a redacted source alleging “incontrovertible evidence that there is support for these terrorists within the Saudi Government.”

Upon the pages’ release, Washington-based public relations firm Qorvis, which has a lucrative contract with the kingdom, released its own analysis that began with a quote from an interview CIA Director John Brennan gave to Al Arabiya on June 11. It reads in part: “[T]here was no evidence to indicate that the Saudi government as an institution, or senior Saudi officials individually, had supported the 9/11 attacks.”

That could very well be right. But it still allows for the possibility, indeed the probability, that the actions of senior Saudi officials resulted in those terrorist outrages. I have never suggested that the Saudi government or members of the royal family directly supported or financed the 9/11 attacks. But official Saudi money ended up in the pockets of the attackers, without a doubt. I once asked a British official: “How do we know?” He replied that we know what account the money came out of and where it ended up.

On Friday, Jubeir held a news conference at the Saudi Embassy in Washington where he declared, “The matter is now finished.” Asked whether the report exonerated the kingdom, he replied: “Absolutely.” I think not.

via What We Know About Saudi Arabia’s Role in 9/11 | Foreign Policy

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How Saudi Arabia manipulates the foreign press

Another method used by the government is to counter-attack or sanction in response to damaging media reports. This is what happened to the London-based Financial Times newspaper. It had to withdraw its correspondent and close its Riyadh bureau for publishing “lies” about Saudi Arabia. The Saudi authorities even considered legal proceedings if the newspaper did not issue an apology and undertake to cover Saudi Arabia in a “neutral” and “objective” manner.
The Saudi ambassador in Beirut was asked to explain the apparent change in the Lebanese newspaper Al-Safir’s editorial policy after it published a story about Osama Bin Laden and the Wahhabis, one that – in Riyadh’s view – was full of “specious arguments” and “false information.”
In an undated cable, the Saudi embassy in Berlin informed the foreign ministry about rumours of a media campaign against Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, by the Israeli embassy in Berlin in cooperation with German media outlets.
In counteract this offensive, the Saudi embassy proposed using experienced German journalists and writers to write articles about Saudi Arabia every six months, and to translate books by Saudis that would be promoted at cultural events. The five journalists were to be paid at least 7,500 euros a month.

via How Saudi Arabia manipulates foreign media outlets | RSF

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Oped attacks “westerners fighting ISIS” as “no heroes”, but they are heroes

Seth J. Frantzman

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN

Since 2014 dozens of volunteers have joined the Kurdish YPG in the war against ISIS. They came from all walks of life and from all over the world, but most of them came from the west. They included Americans, Canadians, British, German, Portuguese, Australian and many other volunteers. Some of their names will never be known. They went, they volunteered and after a short period training and learning about the YPG’s ideology, they went to combat. Some of them served for two years or more. Most came and went after a shorter period of service.

More than two dozen were killed. In July 2015 I called them the “heroes of our generation.” Malak Chabkoun at Al-Jazeera doesn’t agree. She wrote a piece on May 14th titled “Westerners joining the fight against ISIL are no heroes” and sub-headed “Western anti-ISIL fighters volunteering in Syria and Iraq are…

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