Qatar was accused on Tuesday of being a “malign state” after evidence emerged that Doha colluded in Islamist militant attacks in Somalia targeting the assets of other Gulf states.
A phone conversation between Khalifa Kayed Al-Muhanadi, a Qatari businessman close to Qatar’s emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and Hassan bin Hamza Hashem, the Qatari ambassador to Somalia, show’s Doha’s involvement in Al-Shabab terrorism in the Somali port of Bosaso, which is operated by the Dubai company DP World.
“The bombings and killings, we know who is behind them,” Al-Muhanadi says in a recording of the conversation leaked to The New York Times. “Our friends were behind the last bombings.” The attacks were “intended to make Dubai people run away from there,” he said. “Let them kick out the Emiratis, so they don’t renew the contracts with them and I will bring the contract here to Doha.”
The ambassador replies: “So that’s why they are having attacks there, to make them run away.”
US President Donald Trump has accused Qatar in the past of financing terror. However, on a visit by Sheikh Tamim to the White House this month, Trump said the emir was a friend, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin thanked Qatar for combating terrorist financing.
The world may be surprised by Doha’s sponsorship of terrorist attacks but Qatar’s neighbors are not, Salman Al-Ansari, founder of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee, told Arab News.
It is why the Anti-Terror Quartet of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have operated a diplomatic, trade and travel boycott of Qatar since June 2017, he said.
“Qatar will do whatever it can do to unleash and support the terror ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood and all the other groups that stem from it,” he said. “It exploits any instability in any country to support terrorist militias to advance its evil interests.
“This intelligence leak surely shows that the world is fed up with the two-faced Qatari policies. I expect more leaks against Qatar in the coming days.
“The world has the right to see the full picture and to name things by their names. Qatar is a malign state and needs to be confronted with nothing but decisiveness and strength.
“Doha has been trying its best to control the Horn of Africa through terrorist groups and to allow Iran to destabilize shipping lanes in the Red Sea.”
The official Qatari response to the leaked phone conversation indicated fear, Al-Ansari said, and the “Qatari businessman” was obviously a Qatari government intelligence officer.
“If it’s true that he doesn’t represent the government, then why did the Qatari ambassador hear the news about the success of a terror operation without objecting to it?
“The Qatari government think that they can continue to fool the world as they did before. What they don’t realize is that the time is different, and the past global tolerance of Qatar’s terrorism is over, now and for ever.”