Saudi Arabia turns its back on Qatar over allegations that it is funding terrorist organisations.
Saudi Arabia have claimed that, Al Jazeera- the Qatar broadcaster is supporting Houthi rebels who are fighting in Yemen against the United Arab Emirates forces.Whilst Doha have denied the increasing accusations, that have now escalated to ‘Qatar encouraging extremism’, it has turned its scrutiny on its neighbouring countries.
So, is there substance to the claim? Not entirely. Whilst Qatar was reported by the US Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence in 2014, to have ‘openly financed Hamas (a militant group that has destabilised regions of the middle east, it has recently been paying the ransoms for those claimed terrorist organisations.
At the beginning of the year Qatar allegedly paid a ransom of approximately $1bn (£790m) to an al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria. A deal which saw the successful release of royal family members who were allegedly kidnapped by jihadists in Syria.
The US have supported The UAE’s rejection of Qatar as Trump tweeted: During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar - look!". The smart business man then proceeded to sell Qatar $12bn (£9.4bn)-worth of arms. Business isn’t personal.
The peculiarity doesn’t stop there. In the UAE’s original claim, it is not the Doha government that are being directly accused but rather it’s broadcaster: Al-Jazeera. A station which has been championed over the years for inciting Middle East modernisation. It seems Al-Jazeera could not escape it’s tarnished past and numerous lawsuits.
However, could it be a front? Whilst there is some evidence to support the allegations several Governments from the UAE have backed groups with a similar calibre to the groups that Qatar are supposedly funding. Whilst the UAE are aware of Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood it is other extremist groups that Saudi Arabia have condemned, interestingly just after they themselves have been accused of funding Militant Group, ISIS.
Interestingly, the Wiki Leaks emails from Hilary Clinton to her chairman John Podesta clearly reinforce the notion that several countries in the UAE were funding extremist groups.
“We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.” He stated.
Which makes the UAE’s turn against Qatar all the more interesting in terms of protecting their own governments interests.
While Human Rights Council of Qatar have claimed that the UAE are abusing their power, Turkey and Russia have reinforced their close relationship with Qatar.