Sunday, September 20, 2020

Qatar’s alleged finance of Hezbollah terrorist movement puts US troops at risk, dossier claims

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Qatar’s monarchy allegedly financed weapons deliveries to the global terrorist group Hezbollah, endangering the nearly 10,000 U.S. troops stations in the emirate, according to a damning new dossier viewed by Fox News.

The Gulf state’s Al Udeid military base is host to a forward headquarters of U.S. Central Command and to U.S. Air Force squadrons.

A private security contractor, Jason G., penetrated Qatar’s weapons procurement business as part of an apparent sting operation. He told Fox News on Tuesday that a “member of the royal family” allegedly authorized the delivery of military hardware to the U.S.- and EU-designated terrorist entity Hezbollah in Lebanon.

BEIRUT BLASTS LIKELY ACCIDENTAL – BUT HEZBOLLAH ACTIVITIES AT THE PORT UNDER SCRUTINY

A dossier provided by Jason G., and verified by Fox News, documents the alleged role played by the Qatari royal family member since as early as 2017 in a sprawling terror finance scheme.

FILE – In this Feb. 13, 2016 file photo, Hezbollah fighters hold flags as they attend the memorial of their slain leader Sheik Abbas al-Mousawi, who was killed by an Israeli airstrike in 1992, in Tefahta village, south Lebanon. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari, File)


The Lebanese Hezbollah organization is an Iranian proxy Shia militia, established by the Teheran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in Lebanon in 1982. It remains dependent on Iranian finance and support. It is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of U.S. military personnel in Iraq and Lebanon.

Abdulrahman bin Mohammed Sulaiman al-Khulaifi, Qatar’s ambassador to Belgium and the NATO, reportedly sought to pay Jason G. 750,000 euros to hush up the role of Qatar’s regime in supplying money and weapons to the Lebanese Shi’ite organization.

Jason G. said that at a January 2019 meeting with al-Khulaifi in Brussels, the envoy said, “The Jews are our enemies.”

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Neither NATO nor the Belgium government responded to Fox News’ queries about the ambassador’s role in the alleged affair.

Jason G., who uses an alias to shield himself from Qatari retaliation, said his goal was for “Qatar to stop funding extremists.” The “bad apples need to be taken out of the barrel and for [Qatar] to be part of the international community,” he added.

In 2017, President Donald Trump said Qatar “has been a funder of terrorism at a very high level.” A year later, Trump reversed himself, saying in a meeting with the country’s ruler, Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, that Qatar was fighting extremists.

The emirate’s success in producing a reversal of U.S. policy was attributed at the time to an “intense and expensive effort by Qatar and its paid lobbyists,” according to The New York Times.

The new disclosures about Qatar allegedly funding one of the deadliest terrorist movements across the globe casts fresh doubt on the Gulf kingdom’s anti-terror partnership with the U.S. In this regard, it is interesting to recall that Dr. Azmi Bishara, an Arab Israeli former parliamentarian who stood accused of aiding Hezbollah in its war against Israel in 2006, found refuge and royal patronage (and immunity from prosecution) in Doha. 

In interviews with Fox News, prominent European politicians urged a swift crackdown on Qatar’s alleged support for terror finance and Hezbollah.

BEIRUT BLAST DEVASTATION SEEN IN NEW SATELLITE IMAGES

FILE -- Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani talks at the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, February 16, 2018.

FILE — Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani talks at the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, February 16, 2018.

Nathalie Goulet, a French senator who led a commission investigating jihadist networks in Europe and authored a report for NATO on terror finance, said: “We must have a European policy regarding Qatar and especially be careful with its financing of terrorism. Belgium must ask the EU for an investigation and freeze all Qatari bank account in the meantime.”

She continued, “We have to settle a general policy with a special warning and a prudent policy to prevent any financing of terrorism, especially from countries like Qatar or Turkey” that are supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and its dangerous anti-Semitic ideology.

Ian Paisley Jr., a member of the British Parliament who tracks terror finance, told Fox News that the Qatari regime conduct “outlined is outrageous and the government both in the U.K. and Belgium should act decisively.”

“These allegations are very serious, particularly given that the ambassador is ambassador to NATO, and this should be investigated and appropriate action taken,” he said. “Hezbollah are a proscribed terrorist group in Britain and working with them can’t be tolerated. I will tomorrow contact the U.K. foreign secretary and ask him to investigate these allegations and make representations to the ambassador.”

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Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the chief Nazi-hunter for the U.S. human rights organization the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said Qatar’s alleged role in financing Hezbollah terrorists “requires prompt action against those involved and immediate expulsion of the Qatari ambassador.”

According to the dossier, two Qatari charities furnished cash to Hezbollah in Beirut “under the guise of food and medicine.” It named the organizations involved as the Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammad Al Thani Charitable Association and the Education Above All Foundation.

Both charities did not immediately respond to Fox News’ press queries.

Jason G., who has worked for various intelligence services, confirmed to Fox News that his dossier was viewed as relevant and authentic by top German intelligence officials. The German weekly Die Zeit reported last month that Jason G.’s dossier could fetch as much as 10 million euros.

Qatar’s financial and charity systems have been embroiled in other alleged terror finance schemes as well. The Washington Free Beacon reported in June that a lawsuit filed in New York City asserted that Qatari institutions, including Qatar Charity (formerly known as the Qatar Charitable Society) and Qatar National Bank, funded Palestinian terrorist organizations.

The plaintiffs in the case included the family of Taylor Force, an American military veteran killed by the Palestinian Sunni terrorist organization Hamas in 2016.

“Qatar co-opted several institutions that it dominates and controls to funnel coveted U.S. dollars (the chosen currency of the Middle East terrorist networks) to Hamas and PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] under the false guise of charitable donations,” the lawsuit reads.

The illuminated, urban skyline of Doha, Qatar, with the modern skyscrapers just after sunset

The illuminated, urban skyline of Doha, Qatar, with the modern skyscrapers just after sunset
(ISTOCK)

In 2014, German Development Minister Gerd Müller accused Qatar of financing Islamic State terrorists.

“This kind of conflict, this kind of a crisis always has a history. … The ISIS troops, the weapons – these are lost sons, with some of them from Iraq,” the minister told German public broadcaster ZDF.

“You have to ask who is arming, who is financing ISIS troops. The keyword there is Qatar – and how do we deal with these people and states politically,” said Müller.

Numerous Fox News media requests to Qatar’s government in Doha and its embassies in Berlin and Washington went unanswered.

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An official at the emirate’s embassy in the German capital told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper last month in connection with Jason G’s allegations: “Qatar plays a central role in international efforts to combat terrorism and extremism in the Middle East.

“We have strict laws in place to prevent and monitor terror financing by private individuals. Anyone found to be participating in illegal activity is prosecuted and punished to the full extent of the law,” the official added.

The U.S. State Department, in a statement to Fox News, said, “Qatar is one of the United States’ closest military allies in the region. U.S.-Qatar military and security cooperation is making the region safer and more stable. Roughly 80% of our counterterrorism airstrike operations come from Al-Udeid Air Base.”

Jonathan Spyer is executive director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis (MECRA), a research fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Strategy and Security and a fellow at the Middle East Forum. 

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