When we look at world leaders, we often don’t ask who is running their offices or accompanying them at events. Such information is vital, because understanding the circle surrounding a leader reveals a lot about the leader him or herself.
Out of all the rulers throughout the Middle East, the Emir of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hamad, has the most questionable group of men surrounding him both in private and public. One of these personalities is known as Abdullah al-Athbah who is the director of Al-Arab newspaper and advisor to the Emir of Qatar.
Affiliation with Extremists
Abdullah al-Athbah has been seen in public and in pictures with Yaser AbuHilalah, Al-Jazeera’s former managing director who was fired under suspicious circumstances. AbuHilalah is famous for “threatening to burn half of Amman” the capital of Jordan, and brandishing military grade weapons while associating himself with members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Al-Athbah, has a friendly relationship with Abuhilalah and had appeared on Al-Jazeera numerous times when AbuHilalah served as its director.
Promotion of “Terrorist Groups”
On his social media accounts, Al-Athbah promotes the activities of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood on a weekly if not daily basis. The following are pictures he has shared on the internet while raising the Rabia Sign a symbol widely used by promoters of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood that is considered a terrorist organization by the governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Russia, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Series of Disturbing Tweets
Alongside the disturbing images comes the series of disturbing tweets. The Middle East Media Research Institute has previously shed light on Al-Athbah’s tweets that clearly reveal him as an apologist for Islamist terrorism. In one instance, Al-Athbah went as far as accusing the French government of conducting and staging the Charlie Hebdo shootings.
“Abdallah Al-‘Athbah, editor of the Qatari daily Al-Arab, wrote on his Twitter account (@A_AlAthbah) that the Muslims should not apologize for the shooting at the headquarters of the satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris, just as the Christians and Jews do not apologize for the actions of their countries. In a series of tweets following the attack, he called on the Muslims to “be men” and refrain from apologizing for something they did not do, and also added that the shooting may have been staged by France in order to manufacture an excuse to invade Libya.” said the report by MEMRI.
Avoiding a U.S Subpoena in a ‘Order-to-kill’ operation
In July 2019, a US Federal lawsuit was filed against the brother of the Emir of Qatar, Khalid al-Thani, over his attempt to enlist his American security staffer to murder two people and hold another American captive.
The US attorney representing the Qatari Sheikh’s victims, Rebecca Castaneda, filed for subpoenas against The Qatari Ambassador to Washington DC, Qatar’s Chief of Intelligence Mohammad al-Masned and Abdullah Al-Athbah. All three avoided the subpoenas.
The question worth asking here is, are such individuals still allowed to obtain a visa to enter Western countries for travel and tourism? Perhaps their way of avoiding any obstacles is minor changes in the spelling of their names that would allow them to go unnoticed.