RealNews

Qatar's Security Chief Suspected of Having Ties to Al Qaeda

Even as the United States military campaign against Iraq was being directed out of headquarters in the Arab emirate of Qatar, counterterror experts expressed concern Thursday that the tiny Persian Gulf state’s security chief is an Al Qaeda sympathizer. U.S. counterterrorism authorities have long believed that Qatar’s interior minister, Sheik Abdullah bin Khalid al-Thani, has sheltered terrorists — including the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 hijacking plot, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed — in and around his farm compound near the capital of Doha. One former CIA agent familiar with the situation described Al-Thani as a potential danger to U.S. troops operating out of Central Command headquarters in Doha — especially if the war in Iraq drags on or incites Muslim hostilities in the region. Under an arrangement with the government of Qatar, the U.S.’s forward command and control center is based in Doha, along with thousands of support staff and journalists reporting on the daily media briefings. “He’s a sympathizer, a fellow traveler,” said the former agent, Robert Baer. “It’s definitely a danger. If things get really bad in Iraq, it’s a threat.” Full Story

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