Crown Prince says world betrayed Syrian opposition

Updated 27 March 2014

Crown Prince says world betrayed Syrian opposition

Crown Prince Salman said the international community has let down the Syrian opposition, calling on the Arab League to grant Syria’s seat at the summit to the Syrian National Coalition.
“There is a legitimate resistance in Syria that was betrayed by the international community and left as a prey in the face of an oppression force,” the prince, who is also Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, said at the opening session of the 25th ordinary Arab Summit in Kuwait.
The prince called for changing the balance of power on the ground in Syria, where he said terrorist groups from several areas has entered the country.
“The crisis in Syria has reached catastrophic levels as half of the Syrian people either suffer from displacement of fled their country as refugees,” Prince Salman said at the summit, which was attended by 13 heads of Arab states.
Prince Salman called for greater support to the Syrian National Coalition, which he stressed is the sole representative of the Syrian people.
“It is strange that we do not see today taking Syria’s seat at the summit and assuming its natural place. We hope this situation will be corrected,” said the Prince.
At last year’s summit in Doha, Arab leaders agreed to give Syria’s seat to the coalition. Iraq and Algeria have reservations about giving it to the Syria National Coalition, while Lebanon did not wish to take a stand. The rest of the Arab states want the coalition to take up the seat, with conditions.
Ahmad Jarba, president of the coalition, urged Arab leaders Tuesday to grant Syria's vacant Arab League seat to the coalition and let it take over Syria's embassies in the Arab countries.
"Leaving Syria's seat empty sends a message al-Assad...'Kill, kill the seat is waiting for you once the battle is settled'," Jarba said in a speech at the opening session of the summit.
“Reality dictates that the Syrian embassies in the Arab capitals should be given to the coalition after the regime lost its legitimacy and nobody remains to cater to Syrians’ interests in Arab capitals, making their situation worse,” Jarba said at the session.
Addressing the heads of the Arab states present at the summit,” Jarba called on Arabs states to put pressure on the international community to commit to its pledges to provide heavy weapons to the rebels.
In his speech, he called for increasing humanitarian aid to the Syrians suffering inside and outside Syria and especially to Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

Terrorism: Major threat to the region
“We all suffer from terrorism…we are required to double our efforts and join international efforts seeking to put an end to this dangerous phenomenon regardless of its types, goals or sources,” Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah said at the summit, the first to be held in Kuwait.
Prince Salman said terrorism, especially in the region, poses serious threat to the peoples of the region, their stsbaility and development.
“We are required to be cautious and take necessary measures to combat and uproot terrorism….terrorism has become a tool to spread chaos, division and sow seeds of sedition, which necessitates a joint, unified stand to face it,” Prince Salman said in his address.
“Saudi Arabia condemns all types of terrorism and will spare no effort to continue to fight it through issuing regulations and taking procedures that criminalize terrorism and those behind it,” said the Prince.
On the Palestinian issue, the leaders stressed its remains the core issue in the Middle East, noting that any solution should lead to the creation of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
They condemned all Israeli attempts to juadize Jerusalem and alter the identity of the city, slamming the Israeli violations against Al Aqsa Mosque.


Time for Arabs to shun differences

Time for Arabs to shun differences

Seamless decision-making is a rare commodity during Arab summits because the League’s 21 member states hold differing regional views. There have been notable exceptions, such as the 2002 Beirut Summit that floated the Arab Peace Initiative and the emergency summit held last year, endorsing Geneva II talks to end the Syrian civil war. The fact that Arab leaders can agree on common goals negates accusations that the Arab League is little more than “a glorified debating society.”
However, few are holding their breath expecting great things from the upcoming Arab Summit to be hosted by Kuwait for the first time since it joined the League in 1961 on March 25 and 26. So far, 13 heads of state have confirmed their attendance. It’s sad to say that Arab governments have rarely been this divided on numerous issues.
Kuwait is keen to maintain its role as a neutral bridge-mending mediator. Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Minister for Cabinet Affairs, is optimistic. “Wisdom always prevails among Arab leaders during difficult times…” he told Asharq Al-Awsat, adding, “Kuwait always plays the role of calming and supporting cooperation and joint [Arab] interests.
High on the agenda is the violence spilling over from the Syrian conflict into Lebanon. On the wish list of the Lebanese President Michel Suleiman is the League’s backing for a strengthened Lebanese military to defend the country against Israeli incursions and terrorism. Saudi Arabia has already donated a whopping $3 billion toward a weapons upgrade. He will also ask for humanitarian assistance for the more than one million Syrian refugees who’ve fled to Lebanon.
Talks on the Syrian crisis are unlikely to be fruitful following the failure of Geneva II participants to make progress. Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government and Iran’s proxy in Lebanon Hezbollah cheer the Assad regime, while other member states have no appetite to insert boots on the ground. The Syrian opposition would like to claim Syria’s seat in the League but on that they’re crying to the wind. There might, however, be consensus on the need for humanitarian corridors and increased aid.
As always, Palestine will loom large within the proceedings. And on this perennial issue there’ll be few disagreements. At a time when the US-brokered peace process is in shambles over Israel’s fast-tracked “settlement” land grab, its attacks on Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank and Benjamin Netanyahu’s unwillingness to make concessions unless the Palestinian National Authority first recognizes Israel as a “Jewish state,” talks are poised to collapse.
According to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), the League will draft a resolution rejecting the concept of a Jewish state because such recognition would undermine refugees’ right of return and could deprive Palestinians choosing to remain where they are of compensation.
So what makes this 25th Arab League Summit different from all others?
There’s an unprecedented and growing rift between Gulf States centered upon Qatar’s maverick foreign policy, which several of its neighbors believe directly threatens regional security. At its core is Doha’s unwavering support for the Muslim Brotherhood that’s been declared a terrorist organization by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani is unapologetic for being out of step with GCC allies in the belief his tiny country has the right to choose its own course. Earlier this month, the Kingdom, the UAE and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar to protest Doha’s interference in their affairs. A joint statement issued by the trio indicated that they feel Sheikh Tamim has reneged on a commitment given last year “not to support any party aiming to threaten the security and stability of any GCC member.”
Points of contention include Qatar’s harboring of Muslim Brotherhood leaders and the platform given by Al-Jazeera to the global organization’s de facto spiritual leader Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi to stir-up dissent in Egypt and heap insults on neighboring Gulf countries. It is further alleged that Qatar gives material support to Houthi rebels in Yemen as well as the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front in Syria.
The dispute between Qatar and hitherto brotherly states does not feature on the Summit’s schedule. It will rather be the elephant in the room, unspoken except during behind-closed-door discussions or at peripheral meetings. Kuwait is anxious to see the parties involved patch-up their differences but is also eager to avoid stormy sessions.
Cracks in the GCC serve none of its members, especially when the Obama administration is stretching out its hand to Iran which some analysts feel is a prelude to some sort of geopolitical “Grand Bargain” on the lines of that made between the US and the Shah.

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Security alert as Qatari ex-minister linked to terror reappears in public

Updated 16 July 2018

Security alert as Qatari ex-minister linked to terror reappears in public

  • Abdullah bin Khalid Al-Thani was photographed in Doha recently autographing a wall portrait of Qatar ruler
  • The Anti-Terror Quartet — Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt – placed Abdullah Al-Thani on a list of 59 terrorists being sheltered by Qatar

JEDDAH: The re-emergence in public of a former Qatari interior minister linked to financing and promoting terrorism has rung alarm bells in the security community.

Abdullah bin Khalid Al-Thani was photographed in Doha recently autographing a wall portrait of Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

The Anti-Terror Quartet — Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt  — placed Abdullah Al-Thani on a list of 59 terrorists being sheltered by Qatar. He has been accused of financing several terror operations and of accommodating terrorists, including those involved in the planning and execution of the 9/11 attacks, at his farmhouse in Qatar.

Al-Qaeda operative Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the principal architect of those attacks, moved to Qatar “at the suggestion of Abdullah Al-Thani,” according to the US Department of Defense.

In 1995, Abdullah Al-Thani is believed to have provided funding to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to support him in combat in the Bosnian war. While the US pushed for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s arrest, Abdullah Al-Thani told Khalid Sheikh Mohammed about the growing pressure for his detention, leading to him leaving the country with a Qatar-provided passport on a government executive jet. When he returned, Abdullah Al-Thani was briefly confined to house arrest.

“This man is a big supporter of terrorism and of Al-Qaeda and there is no doubt that he enjoys the patronage of the Qatari regime. His re-appearance confirms all our worst fears that Qatar is a hotbed of terrorists and anti-Arab plotters,” said Saudi scholar and international affairs expert Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri.

“We had no problem with the United States. We were great allies. But Qatar wanted to drive a wedge between our good ties and so, in league with Iran, they supported and facilitated Al-Qaeda's 9/11 operation.”

Al-Shehri said it was not a coincidence that 15 Saudis were selected by Al-Qaeda, Iran and Qatar for the 9/11 operation. “Their primary purpose was to finish our relationship with the United States. With time and painstaking work by other countries it soon became obvious who was pulling the strings of those terrorists, and why.”

"I think it's the right time to put all international pressure on the Qatari regime," said Salman Al-Ansari, head of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC).

Abdullah Al-Thani was among the key links, Al-Shehri said. “When Doha realized it was being exposed it sent Abdullah Al-Thani out of the public eye. But it now seems emboldened enough to bring him back into the public glare. This proves once again that Qatar is the biggest promoter and supporter of terrorism, and that the Arabs, led by Saudi Arabia, have been absolutely justified in snapping ties with Qatar.”

After Saudi Arabia and three other states severed relations with Qatar in June 2017, Al-Qaeda operatives and ideologues came out instantly in support of Qatar. Egyptian Mohammed Shawqi Islambouli, a US-designated terrorist, described Qatar as “the pride of the Arabs.” Abdalrahman bin Omeir Al-Nuaymi, who the US sanctioned in December 2013 for “providing financial support to Al-Qaeda, Asbat Al-Ansar, Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and Al-Shabaab,” was also among those who rallied in support of Qatar.

On June 4, Al-Nuaymi posted on Twitter: “The latest developments in our region have proven that a state that sows destruction (Saudi Arabia) is inciting the West to sanction states (Qatar) and individuals.”

Al-Nuaymi is a Qatar University professor and former president of the Qatar Football Association. He was also a founding member of a prominent charity — the Sheikh Eid bin Mohammad Al-Thani Charitable Foundation, named after a member of the country’s ruling family. The Telegraph newspaper described him as “one of the world’s most prolific terrorist financiers.”

Among the list of 59 individuals and 12 organizations that the ATQ blamed for supporting terror are several who are also sanctioned by international organizations, including the UN. 

Sa’d bin Sa’d Muhammad Shariyan Al-Ka’bi, a Qatari national openly living in Qatar, was designated by the UN in 2015 as a known facilitator and fundraiser for the Nusra Front. Al-Ka’bi’s activities in Qatar, including the arranging of funding and transferring funds are well known and documented, yet the Qatari government has done nothing to stop his actions.

Abd Al-Latif bin Abdallah Salih Mohammed Al-Kawari is a known fundraiser for terrorist groups dating back to the early 2000s. At that time Al-Kawari was associated with Ibrahim Isa Haji Mohammed Al-Bakr, himself a designated terrorist by the UN and US. The two were working in Qatar to raise funds for Al-Qaeda organizations based in Pakistan and Al- Kawari was directly connected to the transfer of funds from Qatar to Pakistan. Al-Kawari has also been associated with fundraising and the transfer of funders to the Al-Qaeda offshoot, the Nusra Front.

One of the major demands made of Qatar by the Anti-Terror Quartet was: “Full withdrawal of all support, shelter and funding for terror and extremist organizations of all kinds.”