Jordanian Security Raids IAF Headquarters

Amman- Jordanian security forces raided Saturday the headquarters of the Islamic Action Front (IAF) in Irbid, 85 km north of the capital Amman, demanding the handover of the headquarters for the licensed Muslim Brotherhood, according to a security source.

The source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the security measure was an implementation of the decision made by Irbid’s Governor Radwan al-Atoum to handover IAF’s headquarters for the Muslim Brotherhood.

The IAF’s leadership denounced the governor’s decision as the party members continue their protest inside the headquarters and refuse to hand it over.

The party’s administration refused to hand over the headquarters since it is a chartered official contract, considering this action contrary to the law and the constitution “and represents a flagrant violation of freedoms as it is an invasion on the headquarters of a law-abiding party, and its entry is only permitted by a final judicial decision.”

IAF Spokesman Murad Adayleh stressed his party’s refusal to hand over its branch’s headquarters, pointing out that the decision is a clear violation of the law since the headquarters belong to a licensed political party under the virtue of the law, which stipulates that the headquarters and property of the parties are protected and may not be attacked.

IAF’s Deputy Secretary-General Naim Khasawneh said that the decision of the Governor of Irbid came after negotiations Saturday morning between the leadership of the party and the Deputy Governor, who asked them to handover the headquarters, but they rejected the request, stressing that the party has a legal lease that expires in 2020, and no party has the right to evacuate it without judicial order.

“The leadership of the party confirmed for the deputy governor that IAF is not part of the conflict between the newly licensed Muslim Brotherhood and the old Muslim Brotherhood and that it is a licensed party by law,” Khasawneh added.

Akef, Former Supreme Guide of Muslim Brotherhood, Dies at 89

Akef

Cairo – The former supreme guide of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Mohammed Mahdi Akef died in hospital on Friday after a recent deterioration in his health.

Akef had suffered from chronic problems linked to old age.

Aliya Mahdi Akef made the announcement on Facebook, saying “my father is in the care of Allah (God)”.

A report released by the Qasr El Eyni Hospital said that Akef was admitted in January and that he was diagnosed with bile duct cancer and an enlarged prostate among other conditions.

Born in 1928 — the year Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood — Akef became deeply involved in it at a young age.

After leading its student section, the former physical education instructor joined the group’s Guidance Bureau in the 1980s before being elected supreme guide in 2004, at the age of 76. He resigned six years later.

The Brotherhood, which Egypt labels as a terrorist organization, did not offer the real explanation for his resignation, saying that he stepped down due to health reasons.

Sources from inside the Brotherhood said at the time that disputes between the Guidance Bureau and Akef forced him to quit.

Akef was arrested and jailed in 2013 after the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi. This was followed by a crackdown on other Brotherhood members.

After Morsi’s ouster he was sentenced to life in prison, meaning 25 years of detention, for his alleged role in the deaths of 12 anti-Brotherhood protesters who tried to attack the Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters in June 2013.

He spent the last years of his life in and out of hospital while serving his sentence.

Saudi University Dismisses Muslim Brotherhood-Linked Academics

Riyadh- One of the biggest universities in Saudi Arabia decided on Tuesday not to renew the contract of a number of Saudi and foreign academics after finding evidence that they were influenced by the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood ideology and other similar organizations.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Riyadh-based Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University said that following a detailed and permanent follow-up conducted by its Rector Dr. Suliman Aba Al-Khail, the university’s administrative council advised not to renew the contract of a number of Saudi and foreign academics who are affiliated to the ideology of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood.

Dr. Abdullah al-Assaf, a professor of political social sciences at the university of Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the decision was “a good step,” saying the education sector was greatly violated by the Brotherhood ideology, and therefore should be delicately monitored, particularly in the presence of some hidden and unknown cells.

Assaf also spoke about the importance of purifying all universities in addition to the public education sector from such ideologies.

“Those academics nourish the minds of the youth and therefore, have a great influence on them… They are also capable of recruiting some students to adopt malicious ideologies that are currently spread in several Arab communities, leading to strife and division.”

The professor admitted that any attempt to vet academic institutions in Saudi Arabia would not be an easy task and would require an immense effort.

“There is no doubt that the mission will be very difficult and therefore society and academic leaders should be prepared for such a task. I think that the news is going to be shocking for all the education bodies, not only at our university, but in all universities.”

Assaf said that some sides would attempt to blame the university’s rector for the dismissals. 

But “the university had evidence backing its decision,” he said.

Egypt Sentences Morsi to 25 Years in Jail

Egypt

Cairo – An Egyptian court sentenced ousted President of Muslim Brotherhood Mohammed Morsi to 25 years in prison on Saturday in a final ruling over a case accusing him of espionage for Qatar.

Originally, Morsi was sentenced to 40 years, but Egypt’s Court of Cassation reduced the sentence to 25 years in its final ruling.

Morsi was overthrown following mass public protests in July 2013 against his one-year rule.

The defendants in the case include Morsi’s head of office Ahmed Abdul Ati and his secretary Amin al-Sherafy and 11 others. Four were tried in absentia.

The defendants were charged with endangering national security by leaking state secrets and sensitive documents to Qatar. Many of them worked with the Qatari al-Jazeera channel.

Morsi is already serving a 20-year sentence after being convicted for the killing of protesters during demonstrations in 2012.

The court also upheld death sentences for documentary producer Ahmed Ali Abdo, Egypt Air cabin crew member Mohamed Adel Kilani and university teaching assistant Ahmed Ismail Thabet, as well as a life term and 15 years for two others.

Six defendants previously received death sentences after the Grand Mufti argued that the “crimes of the defendants are similar to that of treason” in which punishment should be death.

Morsi faced three other sentences and is still standing trial in a case where he and others are charged of insulting the judiciary. He received both a death sentence and a life imprisonment sentence in two other trials.

Seven of the defendants were staffers of al-Jazeera, Egypt 25 and Rased channel. They are charged with espionage and directly cooperating with Qatari intelligence services as well as providing Qatar authorities with confidential documents. The court also ruled that these documents had been released from the president’s office with the knowledge of his secretary and other officials.

In other news, an Egyptian court sentenced seven people to death for being members of the ISIS terrorist group. They are charged for the beheading of 21 Christians in Libya.

Of the seven defendants, three were sentenced to death in absentia, while an unspecified number of those condemned were accused of taking part in the beheadings.

Egypt’s Mufti will review the death sentences although his verdict is not legally binding.

Prosecutors accused the seven suspects of forming an ISIS cell in Marsa Matruh, northwest Egypt, and of planning attacks after having received military training at militant camps in Libya and Syria.

Rulings are to be issued on November 25 against 13 others on trial in the same case.

10 Terrorists Killed During Clashes with Egyptian Police

Egyptian Military Tanks in Sinai

Cairo – At least 10 terrorists were killed on Sunday during a security raid in Giza province near Cairo, according to Egyptian police.

A security source reported that the clashes also resulted in the injury of nine policemen, including three officers.

Egyptian Interior Ministry issued a statement saying that the terrorists were extremist elements escaping from North Sinai province and hiding in two apartments in Giza’s Ard al-Liwaa district in preparation for carrying out a number of terror operations.

“Fire exchange with eight militants in the first apartment led to killing of them and shootout in the other apartment killed two,” said the statement, noting that the gunfire was started by the militants and continued for four hours. One of them threw an explosive device at the forces but it blew him off, it added.

The ministry stated that they discovered in the first apartment two machine guns, a dagger, and 5800 Egyptian pounds. Different types of ammunition were seized during the raid, also.

The statement identified six militants: Akram al-Amir Salem Mohammed Hareb, 38, Amer Ramadan Ibrahim al-Dib, 23, and both are wanted in national security cases, in addition to: Moaz Ahmed Yehya Ahmed, 22, Hamzah Hicham Hussein Ibrahim, 22, Sharif Lotfi Khalik Abdulaziz, 43, Khalil Sayyid Khalil Ahmed, 27.

The ministry didn’t state the organization to which the terrorists belong.

In other news, Cairo Criminal Court set September 25 as the day for the retrial of several Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including Morse and Mohammed Badi. They are trialed for crimes of espionage for foreign countries and organizations as well as revealing national security secrets and coordinating with several armed violent organizations inside and outside Egypt. The delay was decided after the court announced it was difficult to bring the defendants from jail.

In June 2015, Cairo’s court sentenced Muslim Brotherhood’s leaders Khairat al-Shater, Mohammed al-Beltagi and Ahmed Abdul al-Ati to death along with 13 other members.

The Challenge: Who Guarantees Qatar?

The problem of the four Arab states that decided to confront Qatar is not represented in obliging Doha to meet their 13 demands, but, it’s in Qatar’s credibility and guaranteeing what it says, signs and pledges.

We do not know of a single agreement that Qatar signed and complied with. Even with the mediation of someone as significant and influential as the US president, it will be no surprise if Qatar later violates what it pledges in ending its interferences in its neighbors’ affairs and its support of extremist and armed groups.

Doha’s policy is based on violating pledges and moving around them — it thinks this is a smart move to evade pressures and direct confrontations. An example of that is what happened in 2013 when it went to Riyadh and signed an agreement with guarantees from the mediator at the time, Kuwait’s emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

Qatar only wanted to calm the anger of Saudi King Abdullah, may he rest in peace, after complaints over its interferences. Doha signed the agreement and made pledges but few months later, Saudi authorities found out that Qatar has not stopped supporting the groups that target it and has not ended domestic incitement against it.

After evidence was put forward to the Qatari negotiators, the latter claimed that the agreement did not include these details and things then worsened. Kuwait’s emir mediated with Qatar’s emir who reiterated his stance in the presence of Gulf leaders in November 2014.

According to the secret document leaked by CNN, Qatar’s emir pledged not to support the opposition in Gulf countries, not to shelter the opposition or grant its members Qatari nationalities and to stop funding armed terrorist groups in Syria and Yemen, i.e. ISIS and Nusra Front, because they target Gulf countries as well.

Qatar also pledged to keep Muslim Brotherhood members away from Qatar, close training institutions, known as the Academy of Change which trains youths from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries on opposition work, and stop its channel Al-Jazeera from inciting against Gulf countries.

Qatar did not respect part of its pledges but it did prevent Al Jazeera channel from targeting Gulf countries and it did in fact silence the opposition on the channel; however, this was a deceitful move as it established and funded alternative media platforms for the opposition.

Qatar did not only deceive Gulf countries — it previously pledged to the US government and Israel to stop supporting Hamas officials but it continued to fund them outside Qatar. As for Bahrain, Qatar was used to lying about its role there in supporting the opposition despite the multiple evidence against it.

Do not be fooled by these stances which may seem dogmatic or political since Qatar used its guests when it needed to. Three months ago, it handed Saudi Arabia one of the opposition figures in an attempt to calm the situation.

Before that, it handed Russia the murderers of the Chechen leader who was an asylum seeker and who was assassinated in Doha’s streets. Doha was afraid after the murderers were tried and it quickly released them and sent them to Moscow.

Although Doha is committed to supporting fascist, national and Islamic groups, Qatar itself is a regime that does not have any morals or principles or an ideology. It uses other groups to strengthen its political value in the region – a value resulting from its greatness illusion.

How can one trust a regime that harbors all these contradictions? It hosts an American base, the Muslim Brotherhood, extremist Salafist groups, an Israeli office and leaders of extremist Iraqi and Palestinian groups. It uses its official media outlets to call for jihad against the Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan and at the same time, US jets fly from its territories to fight those meeting the calls of jihad.

It’s normal for a regime that harbors these contradictions to adopt deceit as a policy and sign pledges and then violate them. It’s also normal for no one to trust it. This is the upcoming challenge as how can we guarantee what Doha’s authorities pledge, especially that immediately following US President Donald Trump’s mediation, it began to distort facts related to the negotiations over an agreement?

Egypt Court Puts 56 Muslim Brotherhood Members on Terror List

Cairo- An Egyptian criminal court on Tuesday put 56 Muslim Brotherhood defendants on the terror list for three years.

The verdict, which was published in the Official Gazette on Tuesday, said some of the defendants were found guilty of leading the outlawed Brotherhood, being its members, and others of providing the group with funds, or harming national economy and public security.

The verdict also includes a travel ban, assets freeze, loss of political rights, and passport cancellation.

In February 2015, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi issued a law that put forward a list of terrorist entities and persons, known as the “terrorist entities” law.

Egypt has included the Muslim Brotherhood on the list of terrorist entities and has imprisoned thousands of its supporters since the ousting of former President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

The list of terrorists includes Morsi, hundreds of Brotherhood leaders and supporters, as well as other militant groups.

In the same context, the Cairo Criminal Court postponed on Saturday the trial of 213 defendants in the case known as “Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis” to September 9, according to local media.

The defendants are accused of committing 54 crimes, including assaulting police and military personnel and facilities, attempting to assassinate the former Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim and plotting and perpetrating explosions against security facilities in several provinces.

In 2015, the Cairo Criminal Court designated the group as a terrorist organization, following a request from the Prosecutor General.

The group has claimed responsibility of several attacks in North Sinai.

New UAE Evidence on Qatar’s Support for Terrorism

Abu Dhabi- A former Emirati Muslim Brotherhood member Issa al-Suwaidi said that Doha has become a training hub for suspicious groups with direct and indirect links to international organizations that are training youths to destabilize their states.

The documentary featured the confessions of Suwaidi, a senior member of the organization’s advisory board.

Suwaidi referred to a Qatari national, Mahmoud al-Jaidah, who acted as the Qatari government’s liaison in providing financial and moral support to the fugitives in Doha. He dismissed Jaidah’s claims that he was tortured while serving his sentence in the UAE, adding that he received excellent treatment, and was allowed to call his family and meet with the Qatari Ambassador to the UAE.

Jaidah was found guilty in the secret organization case and was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment and deportation after serving his term. He was later pardoned and released, but after arriving in Doha, he alleged that he was ill-treated and was denied visits by his relatives.

Suwaidi, who is serving a 10-year jail sentence after the secret organization case, also detailed his journey with the terrorist group. In 1989 he pledged allegiance to the organization, and later on he became a member of the advisory board.

He stressed that the organization’s operations are highly secretive, and it has a structure that cascades into committees for educational, social, media, women’s and youth affairs.

Suwaidi revealed that the organization’s budget came from membership subscriptions, donations and grants, as well as investments in property and stocks. He revealed that his own residence in Qatar was used as a venue for a meeting between the Qatari terrorist group and the Emirati secret group, under the alleged umbrella of Gulf coordination.

He also noted that like other brotherhood organizations, the group in the UAE has operated under heavy secrecy and discipline and a strict hierarchy. The group had an executive bureau, an advisory board and committees.

Suwaidi noted that Doha has also provided support in the form of media, with Al Jazeera TV as its platform to promote their ideas.

Gargash: Qatar’s Way out of the Crisis Is Allaying Neighbors’ Fears

Dubai- UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said the best way for Qatar to get out of the current crisis is to work hard on rolling back from behavior neighbors perceive as threatening and potentially able to harm their sovereign states.

Gargash said Qatar is a small but rich country, explaining that it is using its financial resources to support terrorism.

The UAE top diplomat clarified in a meeting with a number of media and journalism personalities that the Qatar crisis is not a dispute between five countries and the peninsula, the way media has referred to it so far, but extends to international security as well.

The Saudi-led bloc of four has carried out the boycott under the premise and good evidence of Doha’s funding of the extremist group the Muslim Brotherhood and other terror groups.

Answering a question about the bloc of four demanding that Qatar shuts Al-Jazeera, Gargash said that Al-Jazeera Arabic is an outlet for Muslim Brotherhood propaganda while it’s state-funded and therefore represents a clear threat to regional peace.

He described the peninsula as a state sponsor of terrorism, arguing that as a number of blacklisted terrorists dwell in  Qatar, Doha has become a safe haven to a large number of UN-banned individuals.

Gargash said that terrorism has become a global phenomenon and that no city can be said to be 100-percent safe from its brutal attacks whether it be in India, the United States, Europe or anywhere else.

He said that no amount, regardless of how little, of support be given to terrorism or extremism is acceptable, and therefore countries must work to remove any shaded areas from the overall plot and action plan against terrorism.

Gargash affirmed that the Gulf Cooperation Council has proved its place and great value to all, and that it would prefer that Doha chooses to reform its ways and continues to be part of the Gulf system after it has been brought to its senses.

During his visit to New Delhi, Gargash assured leaders and officials in India that the current developments in the region will have no repercussions on Indian communities in the Gulf states or economic interests of India in those countries.

Qatar Crisis, Invasion of Kuwait

Iraq

Pro-Doha government are endeavoring to use the anniversary of the Kuwait occupation in favor of the Qatari crisis. They claim that Qatar today is in danger like Kuwait was in the past and that Saudi Arabia and its allies represent Saddam Hussein!

Regardless that this is a forging of truth, it is also historically stated that Qatar is the only Gulf country that tried to hurdle the liberation of Kuwait through forbidding the GCC decision to adopt a military action to liberate Kuwait during December meeting in 1990.

Crown Prince, then, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani insisted that there is no liberation of Kuwait before obliging Bahrain to relinquish the conflict islands with Qatar, upsetting the five countries that obliged him to back off or leave Doha.

At that time, Saddam Hussein forces were residing in Dasman Palace in Kuwait, and more than 1.5 million Kuwaiti citizens and residents were displaced. Weirder, though, was the stance by the Muslim Brotherhood – current ally of Qatar.

Muslim Brotherhood was also frank towards the liberation via a stance expressed by the International Organization Of The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia and others.

It justified its support of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait to its objection over the military solution and the recruitment of foreign forces! In fact, it was cooperating with Saddam’s government to replace Al Sabah family!

At the anniversary of the Kuwaiti occupation, the Qatari and some Kuwaiti media are promoting two issues: reducing the role of the GCC – including Saudi Arabia – in that crisis, and comparing the Qatari crisis to the Kuwaiti occupation.

But the truth is the total opposite since in this crisis Qatar is the offender and the four states are the victims. The situation might seem strange because Qatar is a small country, but the four states have been patient over its policy and dangerous acts for years not because they are weak states but because Qatar is a small country and there was some hope that the leadership might become rational with time.

You might wonder what crime did Qatar commit to compare it to Saddam.

For years, Doha’s authorities have been working on destabilizing and ousting regimes of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and UAE. I listed them according to the damage.

Qatar is funding the opposition against Saudi Arabia in London, Turkey and Qatar itself – an opposition demanding throwing out the regime. Qatar was an accomplice in the assassination of King Abdullah, and it admitted conspiring with Gaddafi to oust the regime in Riyadh. Everytime, it presents excuses and pledges to halt this policy before it returns to it!

Two months ago, it promoted a revolution holding the title of “7 Ramadan Movement”, and bribed agents to serve this purpose. As for its acts in Bahrain and Egypt, then it is obvious through the state-channels that Qatar supports the extremist opposition in Bahrain to oust Al Khalifa and funds the Muslim Brotherhood to throw out Sisi. Only Qatar supports and funds Emirati opposition abroad!

These states said that they have ran out of patience and it is time to set limits for Qatar.

Brothers in Kuwait must recall that these four states mobilized to rescue their country when Saddam ousted the regime, and Kuwait should stand by them out of loyalty or at least should not allow Qatar to exploit Kuwait on any level (political, media, economic).

What is the difference between what Saddam did in ousting the regime in Kuwait and what the Qatari government is doing? In fact, Qatar is worse because it hides behind slogans and claims of democracy and Islam – both unfamiliar with it.

At the anniversary of Saddam invasion of Kuwait, we should be aware of the tough and costly lesson, to be more keen to respect ties and treaties and to support each other stability. The Gulf countries should be more strict against the Qatari’s government acts and to support the demands of the four states, since they didn’t ask for ousting the regime but for stopping the threats against their security and existence.

If Kuwait and other states take a just stance, then Doha might be more rational and rescue the region from the Gaddafi mentality.

Tomorrow, my opinion article is about the confrontation of Saddam’s invasion.