Hamid al-Ali: Nusra Front’s Life Line


Riyadh – Once again, Kuwait appears on the list of names of persons declared terrorist by the four states fighting terrorism, over 40 days since a previous list was issued. The list included Kuwaiti Hamid Abdullah al-Ali, a cleric who is not afraid to show his support to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (founder of the group that later became ISIS with the support of Qatar.)

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE issued a statement overnight on Tuesday blacklisting a new Hamid, who shares a black history with the Hamid who was named in the first list.

Hamid bin Hamad al-Ali is described as one of Qatar’s messengers and is known for his support for al-Nusra Front and ISIS despite the power struggle between the two organizations that share the same terrorist goals.

He studied Sharia at the Islamic University of Madinah, receiving a master’s degree in Tafsir and Quranic studies. Al-Ali served as a professor of Islamic studies at Kuwait University and was an orator in one of Kuwait’s mosques. He allegedly has several followers.

Nowadays, al-Ali, who is the former Secretary of the Salafist Movement, no longer orates and preaches religion because he was blacklisted by the UN Security Council in 2014. He was accused of cooperating with extremist groups in Syria and Iraq, which is close to the truth. In reality, he has, since ISIS’ formation in Iraq in June 2014, been a supporter of the terrorist group and an inciter through his Twitter account, which was suspended in September of that same year.

At the time Kuwait, pledged to commit to the UN blacklist order that bars his travel and freezes his assets.

Security Council reports said that al-Ali had attempted to mediate a reconciliation between the leaders of al-Nusra Front and ISIS and had met with their respective leaders Abu Mohammed al-Joulani and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He had also traveled to Syria several times to provide humanitarian and financial support in an attempt to cement the “united image” of the extremists on the field.

What he saw on the ground however did not meet his expectations. He wrote of the division on the field and spite among the ranks of the extremists. He persevered however and stressed that he will continue on pursuing reform.

Hamid had previously been arrested by Kuwaiti authorities, a few days after security clashes erupted between security forces and the pro-Qaeda Peninsula Lions sleeper cell in early 2005.

He was arrested after leader of the cell, Amer al-Enezi, was detained by authorities. Al-Enezi was a frequent attendee of al-Ali’s lectures at university and the mosque. Al-Ali was later released without charge.

Al-Ali had made several stance in support of al-Zarqawi and had even eulogized him upon his death.

As for his ties with Qatar, the most prominent stance he made was in 2013 when he voiced his support for the Ahrar al-Sham group.

Qatar Makes ‘Siege’ Claims as its Tries to Counter Diplomatic Crisis


Jeddah – The trips of Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani have not ceased. He has traveled to Russia to western Europe in an attempt to exploit the diplomatic row to create a new maneuver to cover the causes of the dispute and the severing of ties by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates and some other Islamic countries.

Qatar is now in the realm of the so-called resistance axis that some turbulent countries, such as Iran and Syria, and some groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, are a part of.

It is brandishing slogans that contradict what Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE had announced when they cut their ties with Qatar over its support of terrorism.

The media that Qatar backs is trying to create claims under the theme of the “siege” in order to liken the situation in the country to that of the Gaza Strip that is truly besieged by Israel. This is all part of Doha’s attempt to alter several of the facts.

The Qatari FM called for an end to what he called the “siege” against his country, saying that it violates international law. According to the United Nations however, the truth is that countries have the right to sever ties and close their airspace. Sieges are military and legal methods that are adopted in North Korea, for example.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain have taken into account the Saudi-Qatari families that extend from the Qatari people to the people of these three countries. Doha has however exploited the media to turn the crisis into a humanitarian one.

Professor in international relations Abdul Latif al-Salemi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the severing of ties is not much different than the US administration’s demand for Qatar to stop supporting terrorism.

Qatar through its maneuvering is demonstrating that it is incapable of abandoning terrorist factions, he added.

Doha is attempting to turn its crisis into an international one at a time when Arab countries are focusing on terrorism and ways to stop its funding.

Political researcher Aaref al-Masaad said that Qatar is seeking to escalate the situation and it is insisting on continuing its support for terrorism. This stands in contrast to major countries that are seeking to support security and stability in the region.

Qatar has therefore turned to its real allies who share its political creed, such as Turkey and Iran, he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Riyadh Summit, Clear Reasons behind Iran and Syria Absence

As expected, Iran and Syria weren’t invited to the Arab-Islamic-US summit that was concluded in Riyadh on Sunday. There are several reasons but the result is one: isolating them.

Whether they weren’t invited or they didn’t attend, it is all the same. Certainly, if they were present they wouldn’t have been in a good situation after hearing the words of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and US President Donald Trump who were clear that the Iranian regime sponsors terrorism and spreads extremism.

King Salman stated that the Iranian regime is the spearhead of international terrorism since the revolution of Khomeini and until today. Trump said that Iran is spreading destruction and chaos in the region and is responsible for funding terrorism and must be isolated by all countries of the world.

During a joint press conference with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that Iran and Syria did not attend the Riyadh Summit and must stop triggering sectarianism and meddling in the affairs of the region’s countries.

Tillerson affirmed that Iran should stop its support to terrorism and its interference in the affairs of Yemen, Iraq and Syria as well as its backing to Lebanon’s “Hezbollah”.

Iran has had a golden opportunity to achieve its strategy through importing its revolution so it exploited the developments in the Arab world. Yemen became a theatre, Iraq was taken hostage by its militias and Syria became another point in the quest to achieve the strategy of chaos in the region.

The case is the same in Yemen that is in distress because of the crimes committed by the Houthis – the military and political arm of Iran in the troubled republic.

Saudi-US Intention to Boost Ties, Fight Terrorism

Riyadh- It is remarkable that the US president’s first foreign visit destination is Riyadh, especially that the US is the most capable state in managing world affairs.

Also, the kingdom and its decision have a huge political weight, as reported by the US media. In the region, Saudi Arabia owns the keys to stability.

On November 9, the first phone conversation was held between Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and President Donald Trump when King Salman bin Abdulaziz congratulated him on his victory in the presidential election and expressed Riyadh’s anticipation to reinforce historic and strategic ties with the US and to coordinate for the purpose of achieving stability in the Middle East and the world.

On January 29, Trump phone called King Salman and they both discussed underpinning economic ties, supporting mutual efforts to fight terrorism and defying Iran. Not only that, the phone conversation also stressed the long-term friendship and strategic partnership between the two countries and highlighted the necessity to boost mutual efforts to fight terrorism and formulate the bases of peace to the region’s crises.

On April 7, one day after a US decision and a military action in Syria, Trump informed King Salman through a phone call about the limited military operation in the war-torn country and they agreed that it was essential to respond to the chemical attack against innocent civilians.

*Visit of Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz

Mid-March, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, visited Washington and met Trump. The visit represented an addition to the formation of a political consensus between Riyadh and Washington.

His also carried with him the Saudi Vision 2030, which has transformed the kingdom into a great workshop on the humanitarian, managerial and field levels.