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March 21, 2015

Whose interests are Qatar and Turkey serving?

Prof. Dr. Mohamed Elmasry

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The father of the current Amir of Qatar once complained to me that Canada would not approve of his small, but oil-rich state opening an embassy in Ottawa. Some years later, Qatar was successful in its bid for diplomatic presence in our capital; it headquartered its new embassy in a five-star hotel next to Parliament Hill and a geographical stone's throw from CSIS, our national spy agency.

At the time, I couldn’t understand why a tiny country of just 100,000 people was so keen to open an embassy here when it already had one in Washington, fully able to serve any bilateral relationship the Amir was hoping to build.

Later, I realized why: Qatar was, and still is, trying to position itself as the primary supporter of America’s Middle Eastern interests. But was it willing to do so at any cost? Time would tell.

The past four years have proven me right.

Qatar, along with Turkey, has been pivotal in supporting American-sanctioned terrorist campaigns in Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Libya.

It has used its considerable petroleum wealth to finance the operations, while Turkey has recruited, organized, trained and supervised home-grown and foreign mercenary terrorists, mostly Muslims but some are not.

By promoting America’s imperial agenda of “divide and conquer” and "we will work with Muslim terrorists as long they work for us" Qatar helped to generate a wave of terrorism as evil as the one Washington now claims to be combating.

Qatar has also sheltered key leaders of international terrorism. It also gave support to Dr. Youssef Qaradawi, one of its own citizens and spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood International. Qaradawi was banned for years from entering Canada for supporting terrorism. Under the protection of Qatar, Qaradawi actively called for military “Jihad” against the citizens and governments of Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Libya.

All this third-party assistance suited the US agenda very nicely … but at what cost?

Millions have become refugees, both externally and within their own countries. Thousands have been killed, including numerous women and children; entire future generations wiped out in some areas. Cities, towns, villages and regional infrastructures have been destroyed, profoundly delaying recovery and rebuilding.

And all along, America has been giving political sanction to these sanitized “good” terrorist armies by training Western commercial media to call them pro-democracy, or anti-dictatorship fighters.

But a horrible problem arose when Syrian and Libyan terrorists began beheading Westerner Christians in Syria and Egyptian Christians in Libya, and posting their gruesome atrocities on worldwide social media. The US couldn’t ignore or hide this grisly deviation from its political plan.

First, Washington went into damage control mode, saying America is fighting terrorism in Syria, but not in Libya or Egypt. But then it stopped supplying both countries with needed military hardware to fight terrorism on their own.

Second, the US continued cooperating with its third-party associates, Turkey and Qatar, to go on supporting so-called pro-democracy, anti-dictatorship fighters (presumably “good” terrorists) in Syria, Egypt and Libya.

Third, in a theatrical move, the US then said it would bomb terrorist targets in Syria (presumably those of the “bad” terrorists). When it dropped arms and supplies to them instead, Washington called it (oops!) a mistake.

At the same time it was publicly announced that the US had signed an agreement with Turkey to train “moderate opposition” forces (“good” terrorists) in Syria.

Confused yet? You should be. This was a well-orchestrated operation involving intelligence agencies in Turkey, Qatar and the West, all co-opted to support American-sanctioned terrorism in the Arab world. 

But some Canadian media recently reported what watchful Arab media have known all along.

“Turkish authorities say they have detained a spy for helping three British girls join Islamic State, and reports say the detainee worked for Canada's spy agency (CSIS),” reported the Toronto Sun.

Shamima Begum, 15, Amira Abase, 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16 – all considered minors in Western nations – easily crossed into Syria from Turkey after leaving Britain last month without parental permission or knowledge. It is not known if they were planning to fight as military volunteers or had signed up to be “brides of ISIS.”

The Sun report added that the Turkish Office of Public Diplomacy also released a statement on the matter, saying the capture of the intelligence officer showcased a “complex problem involving intelligence wars.”

The Turkish statement continued: “This incident should be a message to those always blaming Turkey … on the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, and shows it is a problem more complicated than a mere border security issue… Turkey will continue its call for stronger intelligence sharing, and is worried about the lack of intelligence sharing in a matter involving the lives of three young girls.”

Now we should not only ask whose interests Qatar and Turkey are serving, but whose interests the US is serving.

Washington’s devious good terrorists-versus-bad terrorists game has become public, expensive, dangerous – and morally indefensible.

Dr. Mohamed Elmasry, an Egyptian-born Canadian is Professor of Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo. He can be reached at

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