Qatar's Support of Extremists Alienates Allies Near and Far

(New York Times) David D. Kirkpatrick - Qatar is a tiny, petroleum-rich Persian Gulf monarchy where the U.S. has its largest military base in the Middle East. But Qatar has for many years helped support a spectrum of Islamist groups by providing safe haven, diplomatic mediation, financial aid and weapons. The state has provided assistance to the Taliban of Afghanistan, Hamas of Gaza, al-Qaeda-linked rebels from Syria, militias in Libya and allies of the Muslim Brotherhood across the region. Qatar openly provides a base for leaders of Hamas - deemed a terrorist organization by the U.S. and Israel - as well as money to help prop up its government in Gaza. In Libya, the UAE is backing former fighters for Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, while Qatar is backing a coalition that includes militant Islamist groups. During the 2011 uprising, Qatar supported an Islamist militia in Benghazi known as Rafallah al-Sehati that had relatively Western-friendly leaders but extremists in its ranks. The extremists later broke away to form Ansar al-Shariah, the militant group that played a role in the death of the American ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens.

2014-09-08 00:00:00

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