Founder of Qatari Intelligence: US will never allow Iranian, Turkish presence in Doha

Updated 12 June 2017
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Founder of Qatari Intelligence: US will never allow Iranian, Turkish presence in Doha

JEDDAH: Ret. Gen. Mahmoud Mansour, the founder of Qatari Intelligence, said he believes it is impossible for Doha to implement its aim to have Iranian and Turkish soldiers deployed in its territory.
In a phone interview with Makkah newspaper, Mansour said the US will not allow fighters of other nationalities to be deployed in Qatar territories near its large base, adding that talks of foreign soldiers (to be used by Qatar) are no more than “vocal waves that will disappear.”
The statement comes in response to official and media reports about Qatar’s intention to host military personnel from Iran, Turkey and Pakistan in response to the fact that 16 Arab and Islamic countries have severed relations with it.
He said a list that named 59 individuals and 12 entities, issued jointly by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt, “is only the first step and will be followed by others.”
“In the coming days, many terrorist persons and entities will be added, especially those who Qatar has funded in the Arab world, Africa, Asia and Europe.”
He said it is time to bring the Qatari regime to account whether by the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Arab League or the UN.
The general said that former Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa and his government executive head Hamad bin Jasim turned Doha “to a department for the execution of operations aimed at achieving the goals of previous US administrations in the region.” They supported armed and terrorist groups in Asia, Africa, the Arab world and some European regions.
He said arrogance made them (the Hamads) think they could outsmart the US and seek the creation of a huge Islamic state with Doha as its capital.
Doha looking for agents
During that period (under the two Hamads), Qatar started looking for agents to recruit in Somalia, Eretria, Central and Western Africa, Egypt, some of the Gulf states “if not all of them,” in addition to the Levant region and even Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Philippines.
They started providing the funds and arms for those agents, while deceiving the Qatari people who thought the funds were for humanitarian purposes at those societies.
“The truth is, their goal was to create unrest in the countries they succeeded in penetrating using their (the then-Qatar government) vast amounts of money.”
Gen. Mansour said he was confident that the US is fully aware of the recent Qatari financial support for organizations and activities inciting against other societies.
Al-Baghdadi in Qatar?
He said he would not be surprised if Qatar was found to be hosting Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
“Was he smuggled into Qatar? Where is he? Is he one of those who turned their countries to hell and are hosted in Doha’s large hotels?”


Yarmuk, an epicenter of Syria’s bloody conflict

Updated 24 April 2018
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Yarmuk, an epicenter of Syria’s bloody conflict

BEIRUT: Poverty and exile, siege and starvation, militant rule and government shelling — few places have seen more suffering in Syria’s seven year, atrocity-filled war than the Palestinian camp of Yarmuk.
A striking 2014 picture of tired, gaunt-looking residents massing among the ruins for a food distribution drew comparisons with a World War II ghetto and became a symbol of the Syrian conflict.
The gutted neighborhood in southern Damascus, which is now Daesh’s last urban redoubt in Syria or Iraq, was once Syria’s biggest Palestinian refugee camp, home to around 160,000 people.
Years of crippling siege and bombardment by the regime of President Bashar Assad, whose presidential compound is visible from the camp, had already sent tens of thousands of them into a second exile.
Yarmuk is one of the closest spots to central Damascus to have been controlled by Daesh.
After months of sporadic shelling as it concentrated its efforts on retaking the rebel stronghold of Eastern Ghouta, the resurgent regime launched a final offensive last week to retake Yarmuk.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, around 1,000 Daesh fighters remain in Yarmuk and the adjacent neighborhoods of Hajjar Al-Aswad, Tadamun and Qadam.
Most of them are former members of Al-Qaeda’s Syrian ex-affiliate Al-Nusra Front, but Daesh fighters also include Palestinian refugees who joined when the extremists took over much of the camp in 2015.
Facing them are regime and allied forces who have turned their attention to militant-held pockets in southern Damascus after completing their recapture of Ghouta, an area east of the capital.
According to the Britain-based Observatory, the Syrian army is leading the battle, with Russian officers supervising and Palestinian militias contributing hundreds of foot soldiers.
The Observatory said dozens of fighters had already been killed in the fighting on both sides.
Daesh militants have posted several grisly pictures on their social media accounts purportedly showing regime or allied fighters they beheaded.
But the militants are unlikely to hold out much longer. Seven years of conflict that made Yarmuk one of the conflict’s worst humanitarian and military flashpoints looks set to end in further death and destruction.
Yarmuk camp was opened in 1957 with tents set up for Palestinian families forced to leave their homes by the establishment of Israel. These were soon replaced by permanent structures.
The wider area of Yarmuk was also home to hundreds of thousands of Syrians.
In 2011, regime attempts to use the traditionally apolitical Palestinian refugee community to raise tensions with Israel and divert attention from the internal uprising in Syria backfired.
Syrian opposition groups came to see Yarmuk as a potential forward base in their campaign to unseat Assad. The fighting that ensued levelled the area and forced most residents to flee.
According to the United Nations’ agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA, most of the camp’s 6,000 residents have been displaced by the recent fighting.
The agency’s spokesman Chris Gunness said he was “deeply concerned” about them and asked the belligerent parties to give the UN humanitarian access to the besieged neighborhood.
Yarmuk, which was meant as a haven for displaced Palestinians, had come to symbolize a humanitarian catastrophe that caused some of the worst displacement since World War II.
A picture taken during a UN food distribution in January 2014 gripped the world’s imagination and drew attention to Yarmuk’s plight.
The photo — depicting thousands of haggard-looking civilians thronging the ruins of their neighborhood as they waited for a food handout — drew parallels with the Warsaw ghetto, even in the Israeli press.
Gunness, the UNRWA spokesman, said that year: “The lexicon of man’s inhumanity to man has a new word: Yarmuk.”
Stories of children eating paper, families surviving on animal feed, and outbreaks of typhoid made Yarmuk a cause celebre, contributing to the global pressure on Assad.