The Threat From Qatar And Al-Qaeda's "Next Generation"
April 25, 2013
Feature Story: The Threat from Qatar and Al-Qaeda's "Next Generation"
By EMERSON VERMAAT
April 25 2013 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews org - Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are playing a nefarious role in the Middle East and elsewhere, even though these Arab states are publicly supporting the United States. They also strongly support the Muslim Brotherhood and even more radical so-called Salafist groups in Syria and other countries. Radicalized citizens from Saudi Arabia, Syria, the UAE and the Gulf states were involved in terrorism or Al-Qaeda operations. Al-Qaeda leader and 9/11 plotter Osama bin Laden had a Saudi background, so had eight of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. One of the four suicide pilots, Marwan Al-Shehhi, was a student from the UAE who moved to Germany in 1996. A Syrian Al-Qaeda operative in Spain played a role in preparing the 9/11 attacks. Very recently, two Al-Qaeda militants who planned to derail a train were arrested in Canada. According to media reports one of them was a Tunisian named Chiheb Esseghaier and the other one was Raed Jaser, a Palestinian with citizenship in the UAE.
The Al-Nusra Front in Syria openly declared itself to be a branch of the notorious Al-Qaeda in Iraq. About 500 to 600 young Muslims and Muslim converts from Europe have now joined the Al-Nusra ranks hoping to die as a martyr. If they do not die in Syria, they will return to Europe as well trained and hardened terrorists who will pose a very serious security threat indeed.
Terrorism expert Bruce Riedel claims that Al-Nusra "gets crucial support from the Al-Qaeda core in Pakistan." "Al-Qaeda leader Al-Zawahiri issued a public call in February 2012 in which he urged ‘every Muslim and every free and honest person in Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon to rise and help their brothers in Syria." "At least one senior member of the Al-Qaeda Shura Council in Pakistan has traveled to Syria to further coordinate plans and operations with the core hiding in Pakistan." "One estimate suggests that as many as 5000 foreign fighters have gone to Syria." Among them are so-called holy warriors (Mujahideen) from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Palestine, Lebanon, Australia, Holland, Belgium, France, Spain, Kosovo, Chechnya, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq. Not only does Al-Nusra want to "liberate" the whole of Syria, but also do they plan to wage jihad against Lebanon, Jordan and Israel. They pose a direct security threat to Israel, especially if they would succeed in getting control of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal.
Al-Nusra is believed to receive money and weapons from the Arab Gulf states and Saudi Arabia. Fox News recently quoted a commander of one of the smaller Syrian opposition groups who blames Qatar, "saying the oil rich Gulf state directs its backing to rebels with a more Islamist ideology." Qatar "has emerged as one of the strongest international backers of the rebellion against Syrian president Bashar Assad," Fox News reported. However, "some rebel brigades complain they are left out in the cold from the flow of money and weapons, sparing rivalries between secular and Islamist groups." Although Qatar denies that money and weapons have been sent to the most radical Islamist Al-Nusra Front, there is no doubt about it that this group is very well armed, trained and financed.
The same happened in Libya in 2011, by the way. A former American defense official quoted by Daniel Greenfield in Frontpage Magazine criticized the Qatari role in Libya when cargo planes with arms shipments from Qatar and the emirates could not be interdicted by NATO planes. "Nobody knew exactly who they were," the official said about the rebels supported by Qatar and the emirates. "The Qataris are supposedly good allies, but the Islamists they support are not in our interest." "In Egypt, Qatar has been a strong backer of President Mohammed Morsi, a veteran of the Muslim Brotherhood," Fox News says.
Qatar's increased influence in Europe
Oil rich Qatar is promoting Islamist causes in Europe, too. Qatar is currently financing so-called "social projects" in the poor immigrant neighborhoods in major cities in France, Italy and Greece. Most of these immigrants are Muslims. There was a row in France over Qatar's intention to poor cash money into the restive and troubled suburbs of Paris, the so-called "banlieus." The French government led by Socialist President Francois Hollande quickly announced it would also invest in the project. "At the heart of the controversy surrounding the fund lies widespread French suspicions over Qatar's soft-power intentions in France's disadvantaged banlieus, home to a significant number of France's estimated 4-6 million Muslims," FRANCE 24 reported. FRANCE 24 is a leading French TV channel. "There is something going on. Nothing is Free, that's for certain," French Middle East expert Karim Sader told FRANCE 24. "We're tempted to link the funding for the suburbs to Qatar's Islamist leanings, given the countries role in financing the Arab Spring Revolutions and the Muslim Brotherhood," Sader said.
In September 2012, a French government spokesman was quoted in the Paris newspaper Le Monde as saying that the government hoped that the project would attract "enterprises which would be economically interesting to Qatar." One month earlier, Sheikh Hamad Ben Khalifa Al-Thani, the autocratic Emir of Qatar, paid a visit to France where he was received by President Hollande. Their main topic was Syria, but they also discussed the growing economic cooperation between the two counties.
One of Qatar's powerful economic instruments is the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). In Holland and Germany, for example, the QIA finances major companies (such as German car manufacturer Porsche) and a few banks. Qatar is also very active in the United States and Britain, funding British mosques and investing in British banks. CNN's program Inside the Middle East (IME) closely cooperates with the Qatar Foundation, Qatar's propagandistic cultural arm. ("Inside the Middle East, in association with Qatar Foundation.")
Last March, Sheikh Hamad bought the small Greek island of Oxia in the Ionian Sea. He now plans to buy at least five more small Greeks islands. "As debt-stricken Greece tries to lease off its assets to balance its books, the Emir had negotiated a bargain price for his purchases: he bought Oxia for 4.9 million euros and the next five for 3.5 million euros in total," The Times (London) reported.
The Emir's most important public relations project is the successful TV channel Al Jazeera based in Qatar's capital of Doha. There is the more conservative Arab media outlet and the seemingly more Western English outlet. Although very vocal in criticizing human rights violations in other Arab countries, both outlets never ever criticize the human rights situation in Qatar itself. This is because Al Jazeera is not an independent network such as CNN or Fox News but a government sponsored propaganda media outlet and very supportive of the totalitarian and anti-Semitic Muslim Brotherhood. Influential Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi frequently lashes out against Israel and the West on Al Jazeera. He praises Hamas and justifies suicide bombings by Muslims. Daniel Pipes quotes the militant Sheikh as saying that attacks on enemies are not suicide operations but "heroic martyrdom operations" in which the kamikazes are not "out of hopelessness and despair but are driven by an overwhelming desire to cast terror and fear into the hearts of the oppressors."
Qaradawi, who lives in Doha, is president of the dubious "European Council for Fatwa & Research" in Brussels. Many Muslims in Europe see him as a great authority on matters of faith. His books and speeches have been translated into many languages. Among the things he advocates are polygamy and wife beating.
The former Al Jazeera correspondent in Berlin is quoted by the German magazine Der Spiegel. He calls Al Jazeera a "propaganda outlet." Emir Hamad does not hesitate to interfere with Al Jazeera program policies blocking independent minded journalists. Al Jazeeera's General Director is a relative of the Emir, Der Spiegel reports.
Al Qaeda's "next generation" and the "Boston Marathon Bombers"
Al-Qaeda expert Abdel Bari Atwan recently published the interesting book "After Bin Laden: Al-Qa'ida, The Next Generation." He spells "Al-Qaeda" as "Al Qaida" or "Al-Qa'ida." He writes that "Al Qaida after Bin Laden has expanded in reach by cementing new alliances and exploiting the opportunities regional turmoil affords. The Arab Spring has opened new battlegrounds for jihadists, particularly in Libya, the Sahel and Egypt."
Very important is what Atwan writes about the Sinai Peninsula: "The advent of Al-Qaida facilitated by a security vacuum in the aftermath of the Egyptian revolution, is a dangerous new development for Israel and potentially world shipping since the Sinai neighbours the Suez Canal." "In August 2011, Egyptian papers reported that an umbrella group called the Salafist Group of Northern Sinai had established Islamist courts and was introducing a security force of 6,000 men." "In early 2012, another group called Ansar Al-Jihad appeared, claiming responsibility for pipeline attacks. The change of name is most likely a rebranding excercise; the new group announced its allegiance to Ayman Al-Zawahiri and endorsed his leadership of Al-Qai'da with an online message in Januari 2012."
He also writes about "The Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus" and "the involvement of Anwar Al-Awlaki and several Chechen jihadists in two thwarted attacks by Al-Qaeda affiliated sleeper cells in Europe in 2010 and 2011. The Ansar Al-Mujaheddin website was used to raise funds and recruit for a group – Sharia4Belgium – which intended to target Christmas shoppers in Belgium in 2010. When this group was arrested it was found to contain three Chechens as well as men from Belgium, Holland, Germany, Spain, Morocco and Saudi Arabia. In April 2011, a cell was disrupted in the Czech Republic which included one Chechen, two Dagestanis, Moldovans and Bulgarians. Some of the men told investigators they had attended training camps in Pakistan."
I do not agree with everything that Atwan writes, though. He believes, for example, that in the future some kind of dialogue is possible between Al-Qaeda's "political wing" and the international community. "The Taliban is an obvious candidate – they have already indicated their willingness to engage in diplomacy with the international community, as the opening of an office in Qatar suggests." Atwan ignores the fact that these Muslim radicals are as fanatic as the Japanese and the Nazis were during the Second World War. A dialogue with mass murderers is out of the question. Look at what is now happening in Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Tamerlan and Dzokhar Tsernaev, the two Boston Marathon Bombers, were Chechen immigrants in the United States who were also inspired by Anwar Al-Awlaki. This U.S. citizen was the leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP). He was killed in a drone attack on September 30, 2011. Awlaki initiated the online Al-Qaeda magazine Inspire. One of the magazine's issues contained a bomb making manual. A U.S. official told Fox News that the Tsernaev brothers "built the bombs with instructions from Inspire magazine."
Last year, two Chechens and a Turk were arrested in Spain. One of the Chechens had been trained by the Pakistani terror group Lashkar i-Taiba. Very recently, two Al-Qaeda terrorists, Hassan El Jaaouani, a Moroccan national, and Nou Mediouni, an Algerian national, were arrested in Spain. Spanish authorities claim that they had "a similar profile" as the Boston bombers.
In decades past, many Western countries, including the United States and Canada, allowed too many Muslim asylum seekers, so-called refugees or economic migrants from risk countries such as Somalia, Kenia, Nigeria, Mali, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Chechnya, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Lebanon. But multiculturalism is not always a blessing. Backward and violent cultures will only harm the cause of freedom. Just look how women are treated, how Christians are persecuted and killed, and how Jews are called "descendents of apes and pigs." This is not what we want in the West.
Emerson Vermaat is an investigative reporter in the Netherlands. Website: emersonvermaat.com.
BBC News, April 23, 2013 ("Iran denies link to Al-Qaeda plot"); Het Parool (Amsterdam), April 23, 2013, p. 2, 3 ("Aanslag op trein in Canada verijdeld").
Bruce Riedel, Jabhat Al-Nusra is growing menace to Mideast and beyond, Al-Monitor, April 8, 2013.
NRC Handelsblad (Amsterdam), April 10, 2013, p. 11 ("Al-Qaeda eist rol in Syrië officieel op").
Daniel Greenfield, Poor media still pretending not to understand how Al-Nusra Front keeps getting Saudi and Qatari weapons, Frontpage Magazine, March 29, 2013 (quote from former defense official).
France24.com, September 25, 2012 ("Qatar pours cash into France's troubled suburbs").
Le Monde (Paris), September 24, 2012 ("Banlieues: Arnaud Montebourg aurait accepté le fonds du Qatar").
Gerbert van der Aa (Doha), De geheime agenda van de gassjeiks, Elsevier (Amsterdam), March 30, 2013, p. 47-51 (Qatar's role in Holland and Germany).
The Times (London), March 6, 2013, p. 27 (Sheikh moves in to buy Greek islands"); De Volksrant (Amsterdam), March 6, 2013. p. 2 ("Emir Qatar koopt Grieks eilandje").
Daniel Pipes, The suicide Jihad menace, Jerusalem Post, July 27, 2001.
Stefan Meining, Eine Moschee in Deutschland (Munich: C.H. Beck, 2011), p. 199 (on Qaradawi).
Der Spiegel, February 9, 2013 ("TV-Sender: Bröckelnde Insel"). Al Jazeera: A propaganda outlet.
Abdel Bari Atwan, After Bin Laden: Al-Qai'da, the Next Generation (London: Saqi Books, 2012), p. 219-221 (Sinai Peninsula), p. 230 (Caucacus), p. 265 (Al-Qaeda's "political wing").
Fox News, April 23, 2013 ("Boston Bombing suspects built explosives with help of online Al-Qaeda magazine, official says").
El País (Madrid), April 24, 2013, p. 20 ("La policía detiene a dos magrebíes vinculados con el terrorismo islamista").