Pro-Iran, pro-terror group's comments attributed to Qatari Emir sparks GCC outrage

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani
Updated 24 May 2017
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Pro-Iran, pro-terror group's comments attributed to Qatari Emir sparks GCC outrage

JEDDAH: An outpour of criticism was unleashed via social and traditional media outlets in the Gulf after the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) carried comments attributed to the nation's Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, said to have been made at a graduation ceremony of the national service (military conscription) where he has endorsed Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah.
He also reportedly spoke of "tensions" with the new US administration and predicted the President Donald J. Trump will not last long, citing domestic political problems in Washington over ties with Russia.
Al-Thani also seems to have praised Iran which even the previous US administration under President Obama labeled as the "biggest state sponsor of terror" as an "Islamic power" and a source of stability in the region.
“There is no wisdom in harboring hostility towards Iran,” he said.
Despite the emir allegedly Saying that the relations with Israel are “good,” he went on to describe Hamas — which is designated as a terrorist organization by the US, EU and Israel and is condemned even by Arab countries for firing missiles towards civilians — as the "official representative of Palestinians."
Hamas — either in whole or in part — is regarded as a terrorist organization by several countries and international organizations, most notably by Israel, US and EU.
Despite this endorsement of Hamas, the Emir seems to have still refuted allegations of his country supporting terror, yet Doha is infamous for supporting both Lebanon's Hezbollah and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, which is designated a terrorist group by fellow GCC countries.
He reportedly also criticized the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt for waging a campaign against Doha. All three counties are fierce critics of the Muslim Brotherhood. However, he seems to have not mentioned Saudi Arabia by name.
He did seem however to criticize what he described as "exaggerated" recent arms deals and said that countries should be spending that money on development projects, an apparent attack on the recent enormous Saudi-US arms deals signed in Riyadh during President Trump's visit.
The Emir is said to have credited Al-Udeid Air Base, which houses the biggest US Air Force base in the region, with protecting Doha from some neighboring countries, without mentioning any names but some experts believe he may have meant a fellow GCC country.
A few hours after the controversial statements broke on QNA, the government's communication team tried to downplay them saying that the news agency's website was hacked. However, the report was simultaneously posted in different languages and social media platforms, where they remained. The comments also go in line with recent criticism waged against the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in other state-sponsored media outlets such as Al-Jazeera, Al-Arab and the London-based Middle East Eye.


US weighing options on American Daesh sympathizer in Syria

A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stands guard on top of a building on February 17, 2019, in the frontline Syrian village of Baghuz. (AFP)
Updated 20 February 2019
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US weighing options on American Daesh sympathizer in Syria

  • Neither option would likely pass muster in the cases of US citizens, who enjoy strong legal protections under the Constitution

WASHINGTON: The United States said Tuesday it wanted to ensure foreign terrorists remain off the battlefield as it weighed options on an American detained in Syria who says she wants to return home.
The United States has urged European powers to take back hundreds of their citizens who fought with the Daesh group in Syria, but acknowledged the situation was complex in the rare case of an American terrorist.
Hoda Muthana, a 24-year-old from Alabama who became a prominent online agitator for the extremists, said in an interview published Sunday with The Guardian that she had been brainwashed online and “deeply regrets” joining the movement.
While declining to discuss Muthana’s case specifically, State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said that the status of US citizens detained in Syria “is by definition extremely complicated.”
“We’re looking into these cases to better understand the details,” he told reporters.
Palladino said that the United States generally did not see a different solution between what to do with US fighters and with foreigners, saying the fighters pose “a global threat.”
“Repatriating these foreign terrorist fighters to their countries of origin, ensuring that they are prosecuted and detained — that’s the best solution, preventing them from returning to the battlefield,” he said.
The situation of foreign terrorists detained by US-allied Kurdish forces has taken a new urgency as President Donald Trump plans to withdraw US troops from Syria.
The Syrian Democratic Forces say they may have to refocus on fighting Turkey, which has vowed to crush Kurdish fighters it links to separatists at home.
Trump has contemplated reopening the US military base at Guantanamo Bay to take in new foreign inmates, while Britain on Tuesday revoked the citizenship of a female terrorsist who wanted to return home with her newborn baby.
Neither option would likely pass muster in the cases of US citizens, who enjoy strong legal protections under the Constitution.
Muthana, who was married three times to terrorists and has a son with one of her husbands, fled her family in 2014 to join the Daesh group in Syria, where she took to Twitter to urge attacks on fellow Americans.
In the interview with The Guardian, Muthana said that she was “really young and ignorant” when she joined Daesh and has since renounced radicalism.
“I believe that America gives second chances. I want to return and I’ll never come back to the Middle East,” she told the newspaper.
Hassan Shilby, a lawyer for Muthana, told ABC television’s “Good Morning America” that the young woman had been “brainwashed and manipulated” and is “absolutely disgusted” by the person she became.