‘Malign state’ Qatar condemned for collusion in Somalia terrorism

Nurses at the Medina hospital assist a civilian wounded in an explosion outside a hotel near the international airport in Mogadishu, Somalia, on July 22, 2019. (REUTERS/Feisal Omar)
Updated 24 July 2019

‘Malign state’ Qatar condemned for collusion in Somalia terrorism

  • Proof of link with Al-Shabab justifies Anti-Terror Quartet’s boycott of Doha, analyst tells Arab News

JEDDAH: Qatar was accused on Tuesday of being a “malign state” after evidence emerged that Doha colluded in Islamist militant attacks in Somalia targeting the assets of other Gulf states.

A phone conversation between Khalifa Kayed Al-Muhanadi, a Qatari businessman close to Qatar’s emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and Hassan bin Hamza Hashem, the Qatari ambassador to Somalia, show’s Doha’s involvement in Al-Shabab terrorism in the Somali port of Bosaso, which is operated by the Dubai company DP World.

“The bombings and killings, we know who is behind them,” Al-Muhanadi says in a recording of the conversation leaked to The New York Times. “Our friends were behind the last bombings.” The attacks were “intended to make Dubai people run away from there,” he said. “Let them kick out the Emiratis, so they don’t renew the contracts with them and I will bring the contract here to Doha.”

The ambassador replies: “So that’s why they are having attacks there, to make them run away.”

Qatar will do whatever it can do to unleash and support the terror ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood and all the other groups that stem from it.

Salman Al-Ansari Founder, SAPRAC

US President Donald Trump has accused Qatar in the past of financing terror. However, on a visit by Sheikh Tamim to the White House this month, Trump said the emir was a friend, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin thanked Qatar for combating terrorist financing.

The world may be surprised by Doha’s sponsorship of terrorist attacks but Qatar's neighbors are not, Salman Al-Ansari, founder of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee, told Arab News.

It is why the Anti-Terror Quartet of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have operated a diplomatic, trade and travel boycott of Qatar since June 2017, he said.

 “Qatar will do whatever it can do to unleash and support the terror ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood and all the other groups that stem from it,” he said. “It exploits any instability in any country to support terrorist militias to advance its evil interests.

“This intelligence leak surely shows that the world is fed up with the two-faced Qatari policies. I expect more leaks against Qatar in the coming days.

“The world has the right to see the full picture and to name things by their names. Qatar is a malign state and needs to be confronted with nothing but decisiveness and strength.

“Doha has been trying its best to control the Horn of Africa through terrorist groups and to allow Iran to destabilize shipping lanes in the Red Sea.”
The official Qatari response to the leaked phone conversation indicated fear, Al-Ansari said, and the “Qatari businessman” was obviously a Qatari government intelligence officer.

“If it’s true that he doesn’t represent the government, then why did the Qatari ambassador hear the news about the success of a terror operation without objecting to it?

“The Qatari government think that they can continue to fool the world as they did before. What they don’t realize is that the time is different, and the past global tolerance of Qatar's terrorism is over, now and for ever.”


Lebanese celebrities join Beirut protests as anger rises over tax reforms

Updated 2 min 48 sec ago

Lebanese celebrities join Beirut protests as anger rises over tax reforms

  • A video emerged on social media showing actress Nadine Al-Rassi preparing to set fire to a car tire in downtown Beirut and crying inconsolably about her financial state
  • In a series of tweets, Lebanese recording artist Elissa, who is abroad, supported the protesters’ demands

BEIRUT: Lebanese celebrities joined thousands of protesters on the streets of Beirut on Saturday to voice their anger at the country’s ruling elite.
Singers, actors and playwrights were among a host of high-profile artists who backed demands for action over government corruption and to counter Lebanon’s spiralling economic crisis.
Beirut has been shrouded in smoke for three days following widespread protests and rioting over government tax plans.
A video emerged on social media showing actress Nadine Al-Rassi preparing to set fire to a car tire in downtown Beirut and crying inconsolably about her financial state.
The actress, wearing jeans and her face blackened, told protesters: “I am Nadine Al-Rassi. I was hungry for seven days. I have debts. Banque du Liban (Lebanon’s central bank) seized my house and I am unable to rent a home. Corrupt people should be held responsible.”


Artists also expressed their solidarity with protesters. Actress Nadine Nassib Njeim tweeted her photo in the heart of Beirut: “May God protect our youth, give you strength, grant you victory and be with you. We all stand together against corruption, parties, slogans and robberies.”
In a series of tweets, Lebanese recording artist Elissa, who is abroad, supported the protesters’ demands, saying: “This is the first time I wish I were in Lebanon. My heart is with you.”
In another tweet, the high-profile singer, one of the Middle East’s best-selling performers, said: “I proudly follow the news of Beirut and its citizens ... who are demanding a decent life. It is time for people to get back their dignity.”
Meanwhile, singer and composer Ragheb Alama expressed his dismay at a Council of Ministers plan to impose a daily fee on WhatsApp calls.
“The people’s misfortunes are not funny. Why don’t you tax the polluted air people breathe? It is a great idea that brings money to your fathers’ treasury, too,” he wrote.
Alama accused the Parliament of responsibility for the country’s dire economy: “Why do deputies receive money, privileges and overheads, and what have they done? They covered up for looting and stealing for decades. They are responsible for destroying the economy and the country.”
Nancy Ajram, one of the Arab world’s most popular singers, wrote on Twitter: “My heart goes out to my country every moment and with every heartbeat. We are a people who deserves to live and it is our right to live with dignity. May God protect Lebanon.”
Singer and actress Haifa Wehbe tweeted: “There is nothing better than the Lebanese people when they stand in unity and under one slogan, without any political affiliation. We are all for our country.”
Comedian and prime-time TV host Hisham Haddad was among celebrities who joined protesters at Riad El-Solh Square, near the Prime Minister’s office, site of the biggest centralized demonstrations.
Actress Maguy Bou Ghosn, singer Moeen Shreif, actors Abdo Chahine, Badih Abou Chakra and Junaid Zeineldine, playwright Ziad Itani and musician Ziyad Sahhab also joined the protests.
Actor Wissam Hanna called on Twitter for protesters to close the Beirut Airport road to stop corrupt officials fleeing the country.
“I am all for closing down the airport road to stop thieves from fleeing. I am all for recovering stolen funds. Lebanon rises, revolts and it is time to hold them accountable,” he wrote.
Actress Gretta Aoun said: “We have to take to the streets. They must know the extent of our pain.”