Sunday, September 21, 2014

Qatar and Islamic extremism

I mentioned last week that Qatar was under pressure from moderate Muslim neighbors to back off its support for Islamic fundamentalist extremism.  Now the Telegraph publishes an article that gives more information about Qatar's activities.  Here's an excerpt.

Barely three years after Britain helped to free Libya from Col Gaddafi's tyranny, anti-Western radicals hold sway. How could Britain's goal of a stable and friendly Libya have been thwarted so completely?

Step forward a fabulously wealthy Gulf state that owns an array of London landmarks and claims to be one of our best friends in the Middle East.

Qatar, the owner of Harrods, has dispatched cargo planes laden with weapons to the victorious Islamist coalition, styling itself "Libya Dawn".

Western officials have tracked the Qatari arms flights as they land in the city of Misrata, about 100 miles east of Tripoli, where the Islamist militias have their stronghold. Even after the fall of the capital and the removal of Libya's government, Qatar is "still flying in weapons straight to Misrata airport", said a senior Western official.

. . .

From Hamas in the Gaza Strip to radical armed movements in Syria, Qatar's status as a prime sponsor of violent Islamists, including groups linked to al-Qaeda, is clear to diplomats and experts.

Qatar's promotion of extremism has so infuriated its neighbours that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates all chose to withdraw their ambassadors from the country in March.

. . .

As a small country with relatively weak armed forces and 250,000 citizens, Qatar is trying to guarantee its security by reaching in every direction. As well as providing an office for Hamas, Qatar also hosts the forward headquarters of US Central Command and the al-Udeid military airbase, serving as the hub for all American air operations in the region.

There's more at the link.  Interesting stuff . . . and if Qatar doesn't see the light and back off, I predict a growing confrontation with the UAE, Saudi Arabia and other moderate Muslim states.  I wonder how that will affect US use of Qatari air bases?



Anonymous said...

You didn't comment on the last bit you included, but the implications are important. Where does the US choose to place its airbase? Why, with the country that is busily destabilizing the whole region!

This is almost certainly not malice, but simple incompetence. The same incompetence that led the US to provide weapons to Al Queda in Syria. The same incompetence that cause the US to help disrupt the regimes in Libya and Iraq - only to see them replaced with chaos and extremism.

Inconsiderate Bastard said...

Refresh my memory - I don't recall these sorts of problems when the horrible, disgusting, nasty, rude and selfish Europeans - the French, British, Germans, and Belgians - practiced their dastardly colonialism in the Middle East and Africa.

Now, however, that every geographical backwater and random collection of tribal hiearchies has been granted the Great Glory of Independence, we're seeing the equivalent of a university environment run by the residents of the on-site day care center.

It's possible that in the long run the Europeans might not have had the significant successes they hoped for, but I think it interesting that while the Colonialist Yurps struggled with the locals to keep the trains running nearly on time, these places now no longer have trains to run, or tracks to run them on if they did have trains.

There's a message in that. perhaps the UN can tell us what it is.

Anonymous said...

I would say that there is great deal of tension between Saudi Arabia and it's neighbor states.

Qatar armed forces are smaller but they stack up pretty well with the Saudis on a unit basis with the exception of air assets.

The only time the Saudis and Qatar saw eye to eye was during the first Gulf war.