Doha’s Actions May Destabilize the Region: Saudi Minister

An aerial view of Doha's diplomatic area.

BY Leila Hatoum

At a time when the world is suffering “horrendous” terrorist attacks, Qatar continues to harbor wanted terrorists, providing them with “financial” and logistical aid, a thing which “has to stop immediately,” said Saudi Arabia’s Minister for Culture and Information Dr Awwad Alawwad.

In an emailed statement to Newsweek Middle East, Dr Alawwad said the “details of the terrorists being harbored by Qatar will shock everyone, at a time when we are suffering so many horrendous attacks across the world.”

Three Gulf Arab states, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, in addition to Egypt severed their diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, after accusing it of funding terrorism and extremist groups. On Friday, the three states issued a list identifying 59 individuals and 12 entities as terrorists living in Qatar.

“For too long, the Government of Qatar has followed a policy of supporting terrorist organizations, which have as their stated objectives, the destabilization of governments in the region, while professing to support efforts to destroy those same entities,” said Alawwad.

In this regard, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain have also enforced a ban on the tiny peninsula-state. As such, Doha was prohibited from using their land, airspace and territorial waters in addition to expelling all Qatari citizens found on their territories. Qatari’s married to Saudis, Emiratis and Bahrainis were excluded from the ban for “humanitarian” reasons.

Alawwad, who called upon the government of Qatar to take immediate and decisive action after the Friday list of names was released, revealed that the “support provided to these organizations is staggering in both its extent and sophistication.”

He added that aside from providing safe haven for the leadership, of terrorist organizations, Doha has also designated its media outlets, including Al Jazeera tv, to serve as a “mouthpiece for the propaganda” of those figures, in addition to providing “financial and material support for their members.”

The organizations and individuals identified in the list presented to the government of Qatar are responsible for carrying out and sponsoring terrorist attacks around the world that have claimed the lives of thousands of people, including hundreds in Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom says these individuals continue to operate freely out of Doha and with the best knowledge of the Qatari government.

According to the emailed statement, “Qatar’s action to deal with these terrorists will significantly help maintain security and stability in the region. Failure to do so, could have the opposite effect.

Among the terrorists being harbored by Qatar are:

• Khalifa Mohammed Turki Al Subaiy, who has been designated by the U.S. government as a financier for Al Qaeda and is widely known to have supported Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the mastermind of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

• Abdulaziz bin Khalifa Al Attiyah, a financier for Al Qaeda and its Syrian affiliate, Nusra Front. He was arrested in Lebanon in 2012, but was released due to the intensive lobbying efforts by Qatari authorities, which included reportedly threatening to deport over 30,000 Lebanese expats residing in Qatar if their demands of Attiyah’s release were not met.

• Yusul Al Qaradawi, who is the unofficial ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood. He is Egyptian with a Qatari passport. He is banned from entering the U.S., U.K., and France due to his reputation as a violence-inciting Islamist.

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