External Affairs

Arab Countries Designate People, Groups With Ties to Qatar as Terrorists

Egyptian cleric Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi arrives to lead the Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo February 18, 2011. Credit: Reuters/Suhaib Salem/Files

Dubai: Four Arab countries which cut ties with Qatar this week over its alleged support of terrorism on Friday designated dozens of people with alleged links to Qatar as terrorists, intensifying a row that threatens the region’s stability.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain said in a statement published by the Saudi news agency that 59 people, including Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi, and 12 entities, among them Qatari-funded charities Qatar Charity and Eid Charity, were named.

The announcement increases pressure on Qatar in a diplomatic and economic campaign to isolate the small Gulf Arab state, which is a critical global supplier of gas and hosts the biggest US military base in the Middle East. It follows a previous listing of scores of organisations in 2014 by Saudi Arabia and the UAE during a previous spat with Qatar.

A Qatari official had no immediate comment on the designations but said that Qatar adheres to UN Security Council resolutions on countering terrorism including eradicating sources of financing for terrorism.

Among the 18 Qataris named are alleged terrorism financiers as well as prominent businessmen, politicians and senior members of the ruling family including a former interior minister.

Abdel Hakim Belhadj, a former Libyan Islamist commander, is one of five Libyans listed, while Qaradawi and firebrand Salafi preacher Wagdi Ghoneim are among the 26 Egyptian nationals.

The list also includes Shi’ite militant groups in Bahrain seen by some Gulf Arab governments as linked to Iran including Saraya Ashtar, Saraya Mukhtar, and February 14 movement.

The list also names three Kuwaiti nationals, two Jordanians, two Bahrainis, an Emirati, a Saudi and a Yemeni.