Qatar made $200m in ransom payments to terror groups, report claims

Updated 01 December 2017
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Qatar made $200m in ransom payments to terror groups, report claims

LONDON: A new report from the Henry Jackson Society claims extremist groups Al-Nusra and Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham have received as much as $200 million in ransoms paid or facilitated by Qatar.

The report coincides with a visit by British Prime Minister Theresa May to the region this week where she highlighted the importance of combating the threat of groups from Hezbollah to Daesh.

“The report raises some troubling questions about Qatar’s regional policies,” said Kyle Orton, author and research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society.

“Despite finding that in a number of areas Qatar has made significant improvements over time, it shows that the effects of prior policies— notably in Syria and Libya— will be lasting and deleterious.

“There is still progress to be made in terms of cracking down on terror finance from Qatar and the use of its state-run media as a platform for incitement and the dissemination of extremism.”

Though Qatar has for some time positioned itself as a mediator and safe-haven for dissidents, it also hosts a number of terrorist organizations such as Hamas and the Taliban, the report found.

It recommends that while Britain should avoid publicly taking sides in the broader dispute between the Gulf states, Downing Street should use its influence in the region to press for changes in Qatar’s ransom payments policy, the appearance of extremists on state-run media and make major improvements in human rights.

The Anti-Terror Quartet — comprising Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain — cut links with Qatar in early June over allegations it supports extremists. Qatar denies the claim.
 


Syria state media: rebels reportedly agree surrender deal in Al-Quneitra

Updated 19 July 2018
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Syria state media: rebels reportedly agree surrender deal in Al-Quneitra

  • If verified, the move would mark another major victory for President Bashar Assad
  • Putin, Assad’s most powerful ally, cited the need to restore the situation along the Golan borders

BEIRUT/AMMAN: The Syrian state news agency SANA said on Thursday there are reports that rebels had agreed a surrender deal in the southwestern province of Al-Quneitra at the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
Reuters could not independently confirm the report.
If verified, the move would mark another major victory for President Bashar Assad, who has recovered swathes of southwestern Syria over the last month in a Russian-backed offensive that has forced many rebels to surrender.
SANA, citing its correspondent, said the deal stipulated a return of the Syrian army to positions it held prior to 2011, when the Syrian conflict erupted.
Citing reports, SANA said the agreement “stipulates the departure to Idlib of terrorists who reject the settlement” and allowed those who wish to remain to “settle” their status with the authorities, meaning accepting a return of Assad’s rule.
A rebel source sent a copy of what he said was the final agreement — that included a provision that Russian military police would accompany two Syrian army brigades into a demilitarized zone that has been in place on the Golan Heights since 1974.
The zone was agreed after the 1973 Middle Eastern war.
There would be further negotiations on a deadline for handing over medium and heavy weapons, according to the agreement sent by the rebel source.
US President Donald Trump said at a news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday in Helsinki that both had agreed to work together to help ensure Israel’s security.
Putin, Assad’s most powerful ally, cited the need to restore the situation along the Golan borders to the state that prevailed before the outbreak of the Syrian crisis in 2011.