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“GCC Action Over Qatar’s Ties to Terrorism”

“GCC Action Over Qatar’s Ties to Terrorism”

June 11, 2017 9:22 am

Written by Dr. Ahmed Al Hamli & Dr. Richard Burchill for The Diplomatic Courier:

Of all the major headlines and news stories anticipated to break this week, few expected one of the largest rifts in GCC relations to happen now. While the news left many reeling for explanations, GCC observers have watched over the years as the divide and tension between Qatar and its neighbors has grown and ultimately, boiled over.

The central pillar in the current diplomatic row between a number of Arab States and Qatar is the issue of Qatar’s direct support for terrorism. Given the threat of terrorism in the Middle East and the wider world, taking action to target sources of funding should come as no surprise; especially when the government is a central actor. In the case of Qatar, the evidence of direct support for terrorist groups, or allowing groups to use Doha as a fundraising venue, has been well documented by international organizations and in-depth studies.

Qatar has given lip service to its legal obligations and political pressure in the fight against terrorism but, for the most part, has taken little substantive action against individuals and groups designated as international terrorists who freely operate in Qatar. The direct support for terrorists and extremist individuals and groups, and overlooking the actions of private individuals are clearly destabilizing and a threat to international peace and security.

Qatar’s support for terrorism is not new. A 2003 New York Times report cited U.S. intelligence information regarding Qatar’s support and harboring of Al Qaeda leadership; a matter that was said to “infuriate” the then CIA Director George Tenet. In 2014, the U.S. Treasury Department Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen, publicly spoke of the “permissive jurisdiction” Qatar provided, along with Kuwait, for terrorist funding and support activities.

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