Together with two colleagues from the cable news channel Al Jazeera English, I have spent more than a year in jail. We were accused of joining a terrorist group conspiring against the Egyptian state and reporting “false news.” In reality, we were simply doing our job as journalists.
Then, on Jan. 1, Peter Greste, Baher Mohamed and I learned that our appeal had succeeded and that our case would be retried. We had hoped for more: to be released on bail pending the new trial, which will take months to convene. But we took heart from the court’s ruling. It was official confirmation that our original trial was seriously flawed and that our convictions, in June, were erroneous.… Seguir leyendo »
Tiny Qatar, the world’s richest country in per capita terms, has leveraged its natural gas wealth to emerge as a leading backer of Islamist causes, paralleling the role the much-larger, oil-rich Saudi Arabia has long played, to promote militant groups in countries stretching from the Maghreb to Southeast Asia. Qatar is the world’s largest supplier of liquefied natural gas and boasts one of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds.
Located on the edge of the Arabian Peninsula, Qatar has propped up violent jihadists. It has thus contributed, among others, to the rise of the terrorist Islamic State group and to Libya’s descent into a lawless playground for Islamist militias.… Seguir leyendo »
Qatar puede ser pequeño, pero está teniendo repercusiones importantes en todo el mundo árabe. Al apoyar a yijadistas violentos en Oriente Medio, el norte de África y países más lejanos, al tiempo que apoya a los Estados Unidos en su lucha contra ellos, ese país diminuto y rico en petróleo, el de mayores ingresos por habitante del mundo, de ser un tábano regional se ha transformado en un elefante truhán internacional.
Recurriendo a sus vastos recursos e impulsado por una ambición desmedida, Qatar ha surgido como un centro para los movimientos islamistas radicales. La enorme Gran Mezquita, iluminada por multitud de arañas, de Doha, la opulenta capital de Qatar, es un punto de encuentro de los militantes que se dirigen a aplicar la yijad en lugares tan diversos como el Yemen, Túnez y Siria.… Seguir leyendo »
In the great jihadi funding bazaar that is the Gulf state of Kuwait, there’s a terror finance option for every pocket, from the private foundations dealing in tens of millions to the more retail end of the market. Give enough for 50 sniper bullets (50 dinars, about £110), promises the al-Qaeda and Islamic State-linked cleric tweeting under the name “jahd bmalk”, and you will earn “silver status”. Donate 100 dinars to buy eight badly needed mortar rounds, and he’ll make you a “gold status donor”.
As the jihadi funders hand out loyalty cards, the West has belatedly realised that some of its supposed friends in the Gulf have been playing the disloyalty card.… Seguir leyendo »
EL mundo entero se encuentra horrorizado por la sangrienta batalla que se está librando en Irak. El asesinato de civiles inocentes y la huida forzada de cientos de miles de víctimas amenaza la propia existencia de Irak, así como la paz y la seguridad de toda la región.
Las razones por las que el Estado Islámico está cosechando tanto éxito están claras. Las divisiones sectarias y la violencia han avanzado sin control en Siria e Irak, creando un clima en el que reinan y se afincan la desesperación y el extremismo. Un gran número de militantes extranjeros han pasado a engrosar las filas de los terroristas autóctonos.… Seguir leyendo »
The hostilities in Gaza between Israel and Hamas persist and the diplomatic war at the United Nations continues, also without resolution. While there is no shortage of opinions on the way forward, the most obvious solution is strikingly absent — the need to disarm and isolate Hamas, the radical Palestinian Islamist group.
Since Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2005, Hamas has dragged us into three rounds of major assaults, and more than 14,800 rockets have been fired into Israel by the group or its proxies. The discovery of dozens of tunnels packed with explosives, tranquilizers and handcuffs that end at the doorsteps of Israeli communities should be enough to convince anyone that Hamas has no interest in bringing quiet to Gaza or residing alongside Israel in peace.… Seguir leyendo »
Israel’s monthlong assault on the Palestinians has taken a heavy toll, with some 2,000 Palestinians killed and 10,000 more wounded. Most of these victims were civilians and many of them children, representing just the latest bloody chapter in a tragic history.
During the long decades of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the international community has not fully met or addressed legitimate Palestinian aspirations. Nowhere is that better illustrated than in Gaza. Chronically short of food, water and electricity, and cut off from the outside world by closed borders and blockades, the Palestinians in Gaza are desperate.
As an individual who has fought tirelessly for human rights, I cannot ignore their plight, and as a fellow Arab, I cannot ignore this wanton denial of Palestinian rights.… Seguir leyendo »
Weeks of brutal Israeli strikes on the heavily-populated Gaza strip have seen a number of political actors come forward to present a cease-fire plan.
The deadlock, however, seems to be between Egypt and Qatar — both of whom have considerable leverage over Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group that has ruled Gaza since 2007. The truth is that due to political bias on each side, neither country is fit to be an exclusive mediator in this situation.
But only one of these two states holds undeniable geographic and political advantages: Egypt is the only Arab state that borders Gaza, meaning that — for better or worse — it is the strip’s only access point to the outside world.… Seguir leyendo »
There’s little dispute that Qatar’s successful bid to host the World Cup in 2022 has become a debacle. FIFA shouldn’t let a good crisis go to waste.
The steady drumbeat of bribery allegations and horrific reports of migrant worker deaths have disturbed fans, alarmed sponsors and finally forced FIFA — the governing body responsible for organizing the quadrennial tournament — to reexamine the selection of the tiny, oil-rich emirate to host soccer’s most celebrated event.
Following the international outcry against the inhumane treatment of the thousands of foreign-born workers who are rapidly building the stadiums and infrastructure needed by 2022, FIFA has reportedly indicated that it’s considering plans to evaluate Qatar’s human rights record as part of any potential re-vote on the nation’s bid.… Seguir leyendo »
A week into the 2014 World Cup, we have already seen big upsets and disappointments for supporters. But whether it is Spain’s early exit or England’s defeats, there are good football reasons to explain such results. And despite all you may have heard over the last few weeks, there are also good and legitimate reasons why Qatar beat better known rivals to host the tournament in eight years’ time. It is just that we have struggled to get a hearing.
Qatar does not have a rich football history. We are a small country. Temperatures are high in the summer. However unfairly, our wealth alone fuels suspicions.… Seguir leyendo »
A certain irony registered on the calendars of Persian Gulf residents on Dec. 18: That Wednesday was both Qatar’s National Day and International Migrants Day — a notable coincidence considering the fact that 90 percent of Qatar’s population is made up of migrant workers.
As the host of the first FIFA World Cup to be held in the Middle East, Qatar will be bringing the tournament to a soccer-obsessed region. Indeed, Qatar’s leaders have promoted their bid to host the World Cup as a chance to bridge cultural divides, a friendly meeting of civilizations on the soccer pitch. In the words of Hassan al-Thawadi, chief executive of Qatar’s bid, “Qatar 2022 can be a watershed moment.”… Seguir leyendo »
This summer, disgruntled Saudis took their grievances online in droves, complaining of ever-growing inequality, rising poverty, corruption and unemployment. Their Twitter campaign became one of the world’s highest trending topics. It caused great alarm within elite circles in Saudi Arabia and sent ripples throughout the region. The rallying cry that “salaries are not enough” helped to prove that the monarchy’s social contract with its people is now publicly coming unstuck, and on a significant scale.
Many experts believe that the Gulf states have survived the Arab Spring because they are different. After all, they’ve weathered numerous past storms — from the Arab nationalist revolutions of the 1950s and ’60s to Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait to an Al Qaeda terror campaign in 2003.… Seguir leyendo »
A young leader inherits a compact peninsula of progress
With tensions increasing in the already-volatile Middle East as Western capitals vow military intervention in Syria, a calm and promising transfer of power in one of the region’s key states is particularly noteworthy.
Earlier this summer, Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad al-Thani’s abdication of the throne in favor of his 33 year-old son, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, received scant attention in the global media. Given Qatar’s critical role as a mediator and moderating influence in global affairs, now is the right time for policymakers to ask: “Who is Sheikh Tamim, and will he carry his father’s legacy forward?”… Seguir leyendo »
On April 29, 2003, the citizens of Qatar went to the polls and voted overwhelmingly to approve a new constitution — one that guarantees freedom of the press. But 10 years later, the press here still is not free.
The turnout in Qatar for the constitutional referendum in 2003 was 84.3 percent, and of those 98 percent voted in favor of the new constitution. That vote, according to the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Web site, was a vote by Qataris “to transfer into a new era where they soar high in the horizons of freedom.”
“This new era,” the Web site goes on to say, “is marked with setting up a permanent constitution that upholds personal liberty, safeguards the principle of equal opportunities for all citizens, protects private proprietorship, deems all people equal in rights and duties and prohibits the expulsion of any citizen from the country or preventing him from returning to it.… Seguir leyendo »
Syrian media have been busy since the uprising, weaving fantastic conspiracy theories, of open-air studios in secret locations where fake demonstrations are filmed, of campaigns stemming from personal animosity and of dubious Islamist agendas – all emanating from a single source. The proof, we are always told, is in the USB stick waved at the camera by various regime spokespeople promising to reveal, one day, compromising information involving a number of Gulf potentates.
Apparently, the emir of Qatar and his al-Jazeera network are the biggest culprits, sowing chaos as part of a Gulf/Zionist/imperialist agenda to destabilise Syria. Even the Arab League’s attempt to rein in the Syrian regime’s brutal repression of its people seems solely due to Sheikha Mozah‘s special relations with certain US officials, according to Syria’s ambassador to Cairo.… Seguir leyendo »
La compra por parte de uno de los fondos soberanos de Qatar de los famosos grandes almacenes Harrods de Londres ha sido una de las noticias sobre Oriente Próximo más reproducidas por la prensa a nivel mundial. A menudo, las tensiones políticas en la zona son los titulares más repetidos y ocultan otras realidades que apuntan a un resurgimiento de nuevos modelos en la región más allá de los típicos petrodólares y los compradores de todo. Una nueva generación asume su papel de diversificar sus economías y gestionar los ingresos del petróleo, y consiente en utilizar su poder en el mapa de las relaciones internacionales y rentabilizarlo.… Seguir leyendo »
For years, the new Hong Kong was Dubai, one of seven United Arab Emirates and a one-time smuggling port on the Persian Gulf, now the latest casualty of «Wild East» casino capitalism. It was all fevered speculation, with little oil and no gas to back it up. An indoor ski slope where the outside temperature hovers above 100 all summer, the world’s tallest building – twice the height of the Empire State Building – and a downtown golf course couldn’t prevent the implosion of Dubai’s speculative bubble.
Thirty minutes away by air, you’re in the Arab El Dorado, no longer the imaginary place of great wealth and opportunity that eluded 16th-century explorers in South America.… Seguir leyendo »
The class I was teaching was called «The Problem of God,» but I was facing a more immediate problem. Would I, one of my students had asked a classmate, be going to hell?
The class held its breath; I pretended to focus on erasing the board. After what felt like an eternity, the other student replied, «Yes.» And then, «Sorry, Father.»
Not quite what I was hoping to hear. But her answer — and my experience with a class of mostly Arab Muslim students in Doha, Qatar — revealed more than I ever imagined it would about the struggle to teach about faith in a world where religious fervor fuels many of the fires that our diplomatic corps struggles to put out.… Seguir leyendo »
Por Fred Halliday, profesor visitante del Institut Barcelona d´Estudis Internacionals (IBEI) y profesor de la London School of Economics. Autor de Revolución y política mundial: auge y caída de la sexta gran potencia (Palgrave, 1999) Traducción: José María Puig de la Bellacasa (LA VANGUARDIA, 14/05/07):
Doha, capital de Qatar, el pequeño país del Golfo (con una población adulta de alrededor de 80.000 habitantes) fue en su día capital del más retrógrado de los pequeños estados de la región entonces bajo mandato británico. Pero las cosas han cambiado. El dirigente Amir – gobernante astuto y ambicioso- llegó al poder tras deponer a su padre (que vive actualmente en el exilio en una extensa propiedad en el sur de Inglaterra), que a su vez había hecho lo propio.… Seguir leyendo »