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Friday, 16 June 2017

No Oil On Troubled Waters

I don't care about Qatar's spat with its neighbours about who supports terrorists. They are all doing it. Saudi Arabia, the chief complainant about Qatar, has long supported the Taliban and other hard-line Salafists and Wahabi radical groups.

Hunting With Falcons A Long Tradition ....
After all, the 9/11 attackers were Saudis, and so was the planner ..... a fact which has been down played far too often.

No what interested me about all this, was that one of the issues that sparked the row was that in April 2017, the Qatar government allegedly paid a $38,461,538 ransom per royal, for 26 Qatari's including 'royals', who were kidnapped by an Iranian-backed Iraqi Shia militia, known as Kata’eb Hizbollah, on December 16, 2015. This while they were on an officially licensed expedition, hunting with falcons in Iraq .... apparently Gulf Arabs often brave the risks of travel to countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as Iraq to hunt with falcons without the bag limits and conservation measures they face at home

Three local Iraqi militia leaders later said that the hostages were actually held in Iran.

Now apart from the fact that the falcons are supposed to be protected (but obviously not from the predations of Qatari royals), but the fact that this came to a grand total of $1bn (£790m) is shocking.

The fact that the deal also threw in and about 50 militants captured by Jihadi's in Syria, just add to the surprising decision, especially as the money went to both an al-Qaeda affiliate fighting in Syria, and Iranian security officials.

Were These Men Worth Starting A Diplomatic Isolation For?

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut off diplomatic ties and transport links to Qatar following this, and other incidents (such as dealing with Shia Iran, and the Muslim Brotherhood), alleging the country fuels extremism and terrorism.

Of course Qatar has denied this, and points to the fact that it hosts a US military base, and has used its immense wealth to court relations from London to Washington, and Tokyo. It claims that its a neutral player that can act as an intermediary in regional conflicts from Sudan’s Darfur region, to the Taliban in Afghanistan, and Hamas in Gaza.

But to Qatar’s critics, the hostage deal was further evidence of its role as a sponsor of terrorism ... a Syrian opposition figure who has worked with an al-Qaeda mediator on hostage swaps in Syria said that “If you want to know how Qatar funds Jihadi's, look no further than the hostage deal, and this isn’t the first — it is one of a series since the beginning of the war.”

According to local officials and Islamic groups involved in the deals around $700m was paid both to Iranian figures and the regional Shia militias they support. An additional $200m to $300m went to Islamist groups in Syria (the Tahrir al-Sham group with links to al-Qaeda).

Its believed by many that Qatar uses hostage payments to bankroll Jihadi's in Syria and one western diplomat said the arrangement provided Qatar with the “cover” to finance the hostage deal. “Iran and Qatar had long been looking for a cover to do this [hostage] deal, and they finally found it.

As I said .... they are all doing it.

3 comments:

  1. Ouch!! That's a lot in any currency!

    I was going to say that paying a ransom isn't going to prevent the next kidnapping, but with that amount they probably don't need to!

    Oh, I suppose there are other groups who will be encouraged though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well obviously the suspicion is that the kidnap victims were well looked after in Iran, and that it was just a ploy to transfer vast funds to both Iran's Shia militias and the Sunni Jihadist's who are fighting wars (often against each other). Playing both sides means Qatar is going to hold influence whatever the results of all the regions wars.

      After all who would pay $1 billion in a ransom? So many think this and the other kidnaps were all arranged.

      Delete
    2. Yes, they certainly went above and beyond to reward the kidnappers.

      Delete

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