The Star, by Mohamed Fahmy, April 11, 2017:
Earlier this year U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis called Iran the world’s “biggest state sponsor of terrorism.” It may be time to include the little oil-rich Arab state of Qatar on the top of the list since it continues to house and protect wanted financiers of Al Qaeda, Daesh, Al Nusra Front, Taliban, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups designated as terrorists by many countries and the United Nations.
In 2013, the U.S. Treasury Department named Qatari citizen Abdul Rahman Bin Umair Al Nuaimi as a “Special Designated Terrorist.”
Based on vetted and declassified information released by the U.S., Al Nuaimi, who once headed the Qatari Soccer Federation, transferred millions of dollars over a decade to Al Qaeda affiliates in Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen and Lebanon. Al Nuaimi at one point ran a charity owned by a member of the Qatari royal family and donated $2 million a month to Al Qaeda in Iraq.
Khalifa Al Subaey, an Al Qaeda Qatari financier jailed for only six months in 2008 on terrorism charges and known for funding the mastermind behind 9-11, is once again raising money for terrorists in Syria and Iraq, according to a more recent designation by the U.S.
Those two dangerous men, Al Nuaimi and Al Subaey, are strolling freely in Qatar’s malls and posting photographs of their expensive cars flanked by rare falcons and tigers.
Twitter also has a responsibility in flushing them out as they continue to post from handles @binomeir and@khalifasubaey.
It is not negligence or turning a blind eye. It is blatant state-sponsorship of terrorism.
At one point in 2013 Qatar opened an office for Taliban who had recently rebranded their identity to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
Right then and there the Al Thani ruling family of Qatar gave legitimacy to murderers who committed horrific massacres in Afghanistan for decades, staged targeted killings and kidnappings of diplomats and civilians.
In 2012, AdelAziz Bin Khalifa Al Atya, the cousin of Qatar’s former foreign minister and brother of the current political adviser to the Emir of Qatar, was arrested in Lebanon and charged with funding Al Nusra Front. The group is an Al Qaeda’s affiliate operating mostly in Syria and designated as terrorists by Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.
Qatar immediately pressured the Lebanese government and reportedly threatened to expel 30,000 Lebanese citizens working in Qatar if he was not deported before the trial commenced. Two years later he was sentenced to seven years in absentia — time he will never serve.
Meanwhile, the Qatari leadership maintains policies of duplicity, using an unprecedented flaunting of cash to keep the international community from taking a tougher stance against it.
You will not see the United Kingdom, for example, taking a punitive position against Qatar. Why?
The Telegraph newspaper summed it up recently: “Qatari investors own more property in the capital than the Mayor of London’s office and three times more than the Queen.”
“You have to ask, who is arming, who is financing ISIS troops?,” German Development minister Gerd Muller asked during an interview with the German public broadcaster. “The keyword there is Qatar — and how do we deal with these people and states politically?”
Indeed, how do you deal with the Al Thani rulers who donate $100 million to the victims of Hurricane Katrina one day, then turn around and donate $31 million to pay the salaries of Hamas, a Palestinian militant group designated as terrorists by Canada, U.S., and the United Kingdom.
How do they justify housing senior leaders of Hamas and the military wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group designated as terrorists by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and Russia?
The world remains idle even after Hillary Clinton’s recently leaked Podesta emails, where she states Qatar finances Daesh. Qatar also donated $1 million to The Clinton Foundation.
In January, the U.S. designated Hamza Bin Laden, the youngest son of Osama bin Laden, as a terrorist.
Months earlier I had interviewed for my book Zaina Bin Laden, the wife of Omar Bin Laden, Osama’s eldest son. The peace-promoting couple resides in Qatar. She told me Hamza had been detained in Iran until 2010 before he was allowed to go to Pakistan with his mother.
Three exiled prominent Qataris with close ties to the Qatari royal family’s inner circle, who I interviewed recently, including Mona Al Sulaiti, the sister of the current Qatari communication and transportation minister, believe Hamza is safe and sound in Qatar.
If the U.S. is serious about combating terrorism and arresting Hamza, who has released a number of audio recordings from unknown locations calling on his disciples to stage terrorist attacks on Western nations, then maybe they should be looking for him in Qatar — the first Arab country slated to host the FIFA Soccer World Cup in 2022.
Mohamed Fahmy is an award winning journalist and war correspondent. He is the author of The Marriott Cell: An Epic Journey from Cairo’s Scorpion Prison to Freedom.