Qatar pays Syrian Mercenarys in Petrodollars

www.ft.com/cms/s/0/86e3f28e-be3a-11e2-bb35-00144feab7de.html bankrolls Syrian revolt with cash and arms

By Roula Khalaf and Abigail Fielding Smith











www.ft.com/servicestools/terms/reutersThe gas-rich state of www.ft.com/intl/topics/places/Qatar has spent as much as $3bn over the past two years supporting the rebellion in www.ft.com/intl/indepth/syria-uprising, far exceeding any other government, but is now being nudged aside by Saudi Arabia as the prime source of arms to rebels.


The cost of www.ft.com/cms/s/0/03343a56-8bf0-11e2-b001-00144feabdc0.html,
its latest push to back an Arab revolt, amounts to a fraction of its
international investment portfolio. But its financial support for the
revolution that has turned into a vicious civil war dramatically
overshadows western backing for the opposition.
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In
dozens of interviews with the Financial Times conducted in recent
weeks, rebel leaders both abroad and within Syria as well as regional
and western officials detailed Qatar’s role in the Syrian conflict, a
source of mounting controversy.
The small state with a gargantuan appetite is the biggest donor to
the political opposition, providing generous refugee packages to
defectors (one estimate puts it at $50,000 a year for a defector and his
family) and has provided vast amounts of humanitarian support.
In September, many www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8f4fd6f4-8cd5-11e2-8ee0-00144feabdc0.html
Aleppo province received a one-off payment of $150 courtesy of Qatar.
Sources close to the Qatari government say total spending has reached as
much as $3bn, while rebel and diplomatic sources put the figure at $1bn
at most.
For Qatar, owner of the world’s third-largest gas reserves, its
intervention in Syria is part of an aggressive quest for global
recognition and is merely the latest chapter in its attempt to establish
itself as a major player in the region, following its backing of
Libya’s rebels who overthrew Muammer Gaddafi in 2011.High
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According
to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks
arms transfers, Qatar has sent the most weapons deliveries to Syria,
with more than 70 military cargo flights into neighbouring Turkey
between April 2012 and March this year.
But though its approach is driven more by pragmatism and opportunism,
than ideology, Qatar has become entangled in the polarised politics of
the region, setting off scathing criticism. “You can’t buy a
revolution,” says an opposition businessman.
Qatar’s support for Islamist groups in the Arab world,
which puts it at odds with its peers in the Gulf states, has fuelled
rivalry with Saudi Arabia. Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Qatar’s ruling
emir, “wants to be the Arab world’s Islamist (Gamal) Abdelnasser”, said
an Arab politician, referring to www.ft.com/cms/s/0/6a6427bc-59ba-11e2-88a1-00144feab49a.html’s fiery late president and devoted pan-Arab leader.High
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Qatar’s
intervention is coming under mounting scrutiny. Regional rivals contend
it is using its financial firepower simply to buy future influence and
that it has ended up splintering Syria’s opposition. Against this
backdrop Saudi Arabia, which until now has been a more deliberate backer
of Syria’s rebels, has stepped up its involvement.
Recent tensions over the opposition’s election of an interim prime
minister who won the support of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood has also
driven Saudi Arabia to tighten its relationship to the political
opposition, a job it had largely left in the hands of Qatar.
The relegation of Qatar to second place in providing weapons follows
concern in the West and among other Arab states that weapons it supplies
could fall into the hands of an al-Qaeda-linked group, Jabhat
al-Nusrah.
Diplomats also say the Qataris have had trouble securing a steady
supply of arms, something the Saudis have been able to do via their more
developed networks.
A supply route across Jordan’s border to southern Syria has opened up
in recent months. The Jordanian government, which is terrified of
jihadis getting the upper hand in its neighbour, has been reluctantly
allowing Saudi deliveries.
The west’s reluctance to intervene more forcefully in Syria has all
but left Bashar al-Assad’s opponents reliant for support on Qatar, Saudi
Arabia and Turkey though since late last year, the United Arab Emirates
and Jordan have joined the rebels’ backers as junior partners.
Khalid al-Attiyah, Qatar’s state minister for foreign affairs, who
handles its Syrian policy, dismissed talk of rivalry with the Saudis and
denied allegations that Qatar’s support for the rebels has splintered
Syria’s opposition and weakened nascent institutions.
In an interview with the Financial Times, he said every move Qatar
has made has been in conjunction with the Friends of Syria group of Arab
and western nations, not alone. “Our problem in Qatar is that we don’t
have a hidden agenda so people start fixing you one,” he said
How Qatar seized control of the Syrian revolution - see the May 18, weekend edition

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100 Mio Dollars in 3 Months paid by Qatar, Saudia Arabia and Arab Emirates Quote from die Welt




Wikipedia- Croatian General Marinko Krešić confirmed that there are between 80 and 100 Croat mercenaries between the ages of 40 and 60 helping the Free Syrian Army- (paid by Nato)