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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Arab quartet adds new names to Qatar's terror list

The four countries isolating Qatar say its efforts to stop the funding of extremist groups are insufficient, and they added organisations and people to a list of alleged terrorists they say are linked to Doha.

On Friday, US secretary of state Rex Tillerson said Qatar had been “very aggressive” in implementing the bilateral agreement with the US two weeks ago to fight terrorism and stem its financing.

However, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt continue to voice concerns about Doha’s support for extremist groups.

The quartet yesterday added nine Libyan and Yemeni aid and media organisations and nine people from Qatar, Kuwait, Yemen and Libya to the list of entities the four Arab countries had said were supported by Qatar and tied to terrorist groups.

The memorandum of understanding signed by Qatar with Washington has already begun to be implemented.

Along with an amendment to its counter-terrorism laws and the unblocking of a Qatari-­owned sports channel in the UAE, they had created the perception of progress towards talks between the parties.

In a joint statement accompanying the latest terrorist designations, the four nations said: “While noting that the Qatari authorities had previously signed a memorandum of understanding with the United States to stop terror financing and then announced that it was amending its terror-combating laws, the four states consider this step, even if it is a submission to the tough demands to combat terrorism and one of many awaited steps to achieve the Qatari authorities’ return to the right track, not enough.”

The newly listed Libyan people and organisations are all linked to Islamist militia factions such as the Benghazi Defence Brigades and the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council that are opposed to the military commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who is supported by the UAE and Egypt.

Details published by Saudi media claim the individuals are also linked to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Al-Saraya Media Centre, the media wing of the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council, has published numerous articles praising Al Qaeda and ISIL. Libyan militants have used the “media centre” to publicise their attacks. Both Twitter and Facebook have suspended its accounts.

One of the other Libyan media outlets listed is Nabaa TV, which supports militant political groups and militias who are ­financed by Doha.

The designations link the three Yemeni charitable organisations, to varying degrees, with large Qatari aid groups such as Eid Charity and Qatar Charity.

One of the three, Rahma, is on the US terrorist blacklist for being tied to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The quartet’s latest list stated that Rahma has links with Al Ihsan Charitable Society, which has received support from Qatar’s state-backed aid organisations.

Rahma, Al Balagh Charitable Foundation and Al Ihsan all operate in Hadramout province in southern Yemen.

The Yemeni people are not on US or UN sanctions lists, but the men – Mohammed Al Dabaa, Ahmed Ali Ahmed Baraoud and Abdullah Mohammed Al Yazidi – “worked with Aqap’s Hadhrami Domestic Council and its leadership to oversee projects and activities in Mukalla while the city was under Aqap control”, the designation said.

“In June 2017, the US government identified the Hadhrami Domestic Council as a ‘proxy or cover organisation’ established by Aqap,” it said.

The Qatari and Kuwaiti individuals Saad bin Saad Al Kabi and Abu al Latif bin Abdullah Al Kuwari, were allegedly involved in working with US-sanctioned fundraisers supporting the Syrian Al Qaeda affiliate formerly known as the Nusrah Front.

The Kuwaiti citizen named in the new list, Hamid Hamad Al Ali, is also on US and United Nations terrorist sanctions lists, and has had close links with Qatar.