Christina Lin

Qatar’s jihad and mideast failing states

This week Qatar’s foreign minister Khadlid Al-Attiyah said Doha is mulling military intervention in Syria alongside Turkey and Saudi Arabia to fight Assad, rather than ISIS.

This directly counters Henry Kissinger’s call in the Wall Street Journal that “the destruction of ISIS is more urgent than the overthrow of Bashar Assad, who has already lost over half of the area he once controlled. Making sure that this territory does not become a permanent terrorist haven must have precedence.”

Al Attiyah even tried to spin the narrative of Qatar as the defender of Syrian people, proclaiming “We will spare no efforts to do anything that can help protect the Syrian people…with our Saudi and Turkish brethren,” and defended Al Qaeda affiliate Ahrar Al-Sham as part of the “moderate opposition.”

However, it is unclear how Qatar is defending the Syrian people when its mercenary jihadists in the anti-Assad groups are committing genocide and ethno-religious cleansing in Syria. The Free Syrian Army and Nusra even made a video to boast of their 2013 massacre of the Christian village of Sadad where 45 Christians including children and women were tortured and executed, while Druze and other religious minorities continue to be slaughtered by these Sunni extremists.

Moreover, these Qatar/Saudi/Turkey backed “Syrian rebels” are not even Syrian, with German intelligence BND estimating 95% of the fighters are paid foreign mercenaries, and in 2013 Saudi Arabia sent more than 1,200 death row inmates ranging from Yemen, Sudan, Jordan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia to wage Syrian jihad.

In truth, the Syrian war has long ceased to be a civil war of Syrian people fighting for democratic reforms, and is now a full-blown war waged by foreign powers of Doha, Riyadh and Ankara to replace a secular autocracy with an extremist Islamic theocracy under their control.

Qatar’s export of jihad destabilizing greater Middle East

Writing in October 2014, renowned Indian strategist Professor Brahma Chellaney from Center for Policy Research, observed that Qatar’s duplicitous role of exporting jihad to the Middle East, North Africa and beyond while supporting the US in its fight against them, has transformed the gas-rich speck of a country “from a regional gadfly into an international rogue elephant” that “must be tamed.”

Chellaney criticized Arab autocracies that aided ISIS rise are now in Obama’s “coalition of the willing,” that is “a coalition of sinners now dressed as knights in shining armour.” He noted how Qatar and Saudi Arabia pouring weapons and funds to Sunni extremists in Syria eventually created fertile ground that spawned ISIS. This nefarious pattern of supporting violent jihadists is further evidenced by their bolstering Afghan Taliban, accelerating Libya’s transformation into a failed state via their breeding of Islamist militia, with Qatar even deploying troops covertly inside Libya in the 2011 campaign to oust Gaddafi—much like they are threatening to do now in Syria.

Writing in Japan Times, Chellaney chastised the anti-Assad coalition’s naïveté in trying to distinguish between ‘moderate’ and ‘radical’ jihadists, and that “the term ‘moderate jihadists’ is an oxymoron: those waging jihad by gun can never be moderate.”

Using Al Udeid Air Base as a weapon to hold US hostage to its agenda and enabling its misadventures with impunity, Qatar’s clout now “allows it to run with the foxes while it hunts with the hounds”, while funding violent Salafi-jihadists in Syria, Mali, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Gaza and elsewhere has left a destructive trail of destabilized and failing states throughout the greater Middle East.

Migrant influx as “hybrid warfare” against EU?

As Qatar is now sabre rattling and threatening to pour more fuel into the jihadi inferno in Syria with no end in sight, it’s the Syrian people who suffer the most at the hands of Doha’s policy. And while Syrians are fleeing jihad at home to neighboring Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, and Turkey, how many refugees have the “defender of the Syrian people” Qatar, Saudis and other rich Arab Gulf states taken? According to director of Human Rights Watch Kenneth Roth, zero.

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Instead, Saudi Arabia offered to build 200 mosques in Germany to preach extremist Wahhabi Islam to further radicalize the new migrant Muslim population, prompting CDU Deputy Chairman Armin Laschet’s quick rebuke that “Instead of talking about funding mosques, Saudi Arabia should be thinking about taking refugees and ending financing of ISIS.” CSU general secretary Andrea Scheuer likewise called the offer “cynical,” given the Kingdom is creating thousands of refugees of its own by bombing Yemen that has already killed more than 2,000 civilians and wounded 4,000 others, including 135 at a wedding party that were mostly women and children.

EU chief Donald Tusk went further and slammed the migrant influx as a campaign of “hybrid warfare” by Turkey and regional states to coerce EU concessions (e.g., financial aid, visa-free travel from Turkey, buffer zone for Qatar/Turkey/Saudi jihadi Army of Conquest and Qatar-Turkey pipeline.)

Meanwhile, as Russia is effectively attacking ISIS and Al Qaeda-infested Army of Conquest that has burrowed itself in Idlib, Qatar is now attempting to sabotage these gains to aid the jihadists. This is a direct threat to not only Russia, but especially China given this Conquest Army consists of anti-Chinese jihadists, as well as thousands of Chechen and Central Asian fighters that are already attacking their homeland. India’s Kashmir has also fallen prey to Qatar’s Syrian policy, with some Indian scholars calling for joining Russian airstrikes against these salafi jihadists.

Should Qatar continue to provoke an escalation of Syrian war, it may very well end up confronting the three nuclear powers of not just the Russian bear, but also the Chinese dragon and Indian tiger to defend their homeland from Qatar-backed jihadists. If the US and Europe do not want Qatar to turn the Syrian war into World War III, then as Professor Chellaney exhorted, “for the sake of regional and international security”, this gadfly-turned rogue elephant “must be tamed.”

About the Author
Dr. Christina Lin is a US-based foreign policy analyst specializing in China-Mediterranean relations. She has extensive US government experience working on national security issues and was a CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear) research consultant for Jane's Information Group.
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