Qatar terror links exposed at world court

Qatar launched on Wednesday an urgent case before the UN's highest court against United Arab Emirates. (AFP)
Updated 29 June 2018

Qatar terror links exposed at world court

  • Abu Dhabi’s representatives said it cut relations with Qatar “because of its support for terrorism and its interference with the affairs of its neighbors”
  • UAE representatives said Qatar has put forward no credible evidence to substantiate any of Doha's claims against the UAE

THE HAGUE:  Qatar supports terrorism, spreads hate speech and interferes in the affairs of its neighbors, judges at the International Court of Justice in The Hague heard on Thursday.

“Our government has asked Qatar time and again to cease this conduct,” the UAE’s ambassador to the Netherlands, Saeed Al-Nowais, told the court. “Although Qatar repeatedly committed to do so, it has failed to live up to its commitments.”

The UAE is defending a lawsuit brought by Doha over the boycott imposed last June by the Anti-Terror Quartet (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt), severing diplomatic ties and transport links. Qatar claims the UAE has forcibly separated families, in violation of an international treaty signed by both countries.

Al-Nowais said his country “completely rejects the allegations, all of which are without any merit or basis.”

“Qatar has put forward no credible evidence to substantiate any of these claims,” he said, and they consisted “only of anecdotal and unverified statements.”

“The UAE’s measures against the Qatari government are carefully measured to have the least possible impact on ordinary people,” Al-Nowais said.

Relations with Qatar were cut “because of its support for terrorism, its interference with the affairs of its neighbors and its dissemination of hate speech.”

The court is expected to take several months to deliver a judgment.

“This is a conflict based on disagreements over policy, not national origin,” Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president for research at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and a former terror-finance analyst at the US Department of Treasury, told Arab News. 

“It is ridiculous to see Doha claiming that it is suffering significantly while at the same time it is boasting that its standard of living has not changed after a year of the boycott.”

Fahad Nazer, a Saudi political analyst and an International Fellow at the National Council on US-Arab Relations, said Qatar should address its neighbors’ legitimate grievances rather than seek to “internationalize” the dispute.

“The Anti-Terror Quartet has made a compelling case that Qatar’s actions and policies have violated some of the most fundamental laws, conventions and norms of international relations,” he said.

Leaked audio of Assad forces shooting elderly women in Idlib proves civilian killings: Report

Updated 9 min 4 sec ago

Leaked audio of Assad forces shooting elderly women in Idlib proves civilian killings: Report

  • Syrian regime also attacked Turkish military posts in violation of cease-fire deal

LONDON: Syrian regime forces deliberately killed elderly women in northwest Syria, leaked recordings obtained by the UK’s Daily Telegraph have shown.

The audio recordings from Feb. 11 also suggest that forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad attacked Turkish military posts in violation of a cease-fire deal.

The recordings captured a conversation between soldiers from the infamous elite Tiger Forces, the 25th Division, tracking a vehicle driving into the village of Mizanaz, to the west of Aleppo.

In the audio, intercepted by spotters at an observatory in the local area who picked up the soldiers’ frequency, one soldier can be heard saying: “There are women driving, their car is stuck in the mud and they’re headed to a battlefield.”

A second soldier said: “She looks elderly. It’s clear she’s coming to pack her belongings, then she’s leaving.”

Despite a clear identification of the women, one of the soldiers is heard saying: “I’m watching them. They’re about to enter a house. Yallah, I’m firing now.”

At that point, rapid machine gun fire can be heard on the tape. “Fire, fire, I’m observing for you,” the second soldier replies.

Local media reports from the time and date of the audio recording support the assertion that the women were killed in the attack.

Regime forces have used attacks on civilians as part of their strategy to clear rebel-held areas of the country, while attacking civilian institutions such as schools and hospitals. 

In September 2019, pro-Assad militants reportedly executed an elderly woman who refused to leave her home when it was confiscated after they recaptured the town of Khan Sheikhoun. 

According to figures from the Syrian Network for Human Rights, regime forces and their Russian allies are responsible for 90 percent of civilian deaths in the nine-year conflict, with three-quarters of those people victims of artillery or aerial shelling. The deliberate killing of non-combatants is a war crime under international law.

The Telegraph’s report also revealed recordings showing regime forces actively attacking Turkish posts in Idlib province that were set up as part of a de-escalation deal negotiated with Russia in 2018.

The attacks prompted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday to urge his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to “restrain” Assad’s advance in Idlib.