Saudi Gazette report
SEVERAL organizations including the Muslim World League (MWL) Friday came out in support of the Qatar-linked people put on the terror blacklist.
Arab states — Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain — that have cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar tightened their squeeze late Thursday by putting dozens of people linked with Qatar on terrorism blacklist, while Qatari ally Turkey came to its side with plans to send troops, warships and planes.
The developments intensified a confrontation between Qatar and a group of Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt that accuse it of fomenting instability. The dispute has created a major diplomatic test for the United States, which is a close ally of the countries on both sides.
In an apparent escalation of the crisis, staff at Al Jazeera, Qatar’s influential satellite television news channel, said on Thursday its computer systems were under cyber attack.
Riyadh, Cairo and their allies accuse Qatar of supporting militant Islamist movements across the region. They have imposed what Qatar says is a blockade of shipping and air traffic, and closed Qatar’s only land border, causing panic buying at supermarkets.
In a statement on Friday, the Makkah-based MWL expressed its full support for the lists of terrorist organizations and individuals. The MWL also terminated the membership of Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf Al-Qaradawi from its Islamic Fiqh Academy.
The MWL said the sanctions confirm the commitment of the Kingdom and its sisterly countries to fight terrorism and block its sources, funding and supporting, pointing out that the international community should intensify its efforts to counter the activities of terrorist organizations as well as supporters and incubators of terrorism.
Among the 59 people included in the terrorist blacklists, 18 are Qataris, including Abdullah Bin Khalid Al-Thani, a former interior minister and member of Qatar’s royal family.
The Qatari government said the move “reinforces baseless allegations that hold no foundation in fact”.
Many of the others added to the list are figures associated with the Muslim Brotherhood who have made Qatar a base, including Al-Qaradawi. Some are prominent militants who have fought in Libya and Syria.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, whose AK Party has its roots in Islamist politics and who has voiced support for the Brotherhood, signaled his firm backing for Qatar by swiftly signing a law to send Turkish troops to a base there.
In a signal of Turkey’s urgency over the issue, parliament passed the law on Wednesday, Erdogan signed it on Thursday and it was published in the state gazette by Friday.
Turkey will send warplanes and warships to Qatar after an initial deployment of troops at a base in Doha, the mass-circulation Hurriyet newspaper said on its website.
“The number of Turkish warplanes and Turkish warships going to the base will become clear after the preparation of a report based on an initial assessment at the base,” Hurriyet said. Around 90 Turkish soldiers are currently at the base, it said.
Turkish officials were not immediately available to comment on the report but Hurriyet said there were plans to send some 200-250 soldiers within two months in the initial stage.
Staff at Al Jazeera said on Thursday the Qatari state-funded network, which is watched by millions of people across the Arabic-speaking world, had come under a sustained cyber attack but was still functioning.
Would-be mediators in the Gulf crisis, including US President Donald Trump and Kuwait’s ruling emir, have struggled to ease the situation.
Trump initially took sides in tweets with the Saudi-led group, before apparently being nudged into a more even-handed approach when US defense officials renewed praise of Qatar where their base is located.
Qatar’s ambassador to Washington said on Thursday his government trusted Trump’s ability to resolve the dispute.
“The most important engagement that happened so far from the US is by the president, which we highly appreciate,” Meshal Bin Hamad Al-Thani told the Financial Times. “We truly believe that the involvement of the president and the US will bring this crisis to an end.” — With input from Agencies