Former CIA agent Robert Baer said the elite of Qatari politicians were responsible for the plots and attacks carried out by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – Photo illustrated by Egypt Today/Mohamed Zain
CAIRO – 7 August 2017: Following the cutting of ties with Qatar by the Arab anti-terrorism quartet, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, international experts have agreed that the tiny Gulf emirate should face international trial due to supporting terrorism and funding terrorist groups, whose attacks have killed dozens of victims in different countries around the world.
Qatar was proven to be lurking behind a huge series of terror operations in several countries, including the major 9/11 attacks, as it sheltered and protected one of its main conspirators, namely Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
At the age of 16, Khalid joined the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), an essential stepping stone in starting his career as a terrorist. He would later travel to the U.S. to finish high school and enroll at North Carolina University where he graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. All along, he never hid his negative opinion about the United States; he always thought it was a “racist” country.
Before Khalid Sheikh Mohammed joined Abdallah Azzam, Osama bin Laden’s spiritual leader, in 1987, he flew to Afghanistan to fight in the war against the invading Soviet army for only three months; all within the orbit of Al-Qaeda.
While in Afghanistan, Mohammed received his training alongside militants of Abdul Rasoul Sayyaf, leader of the Islamic Union.
Sayyaf is said to have been the one who first invited Bin Laden to take refuge in Afghanistan. In 2005, Sayyaf's Islamic Union was converted into the political party, namely the Islamic Dawah Organization of Afghanistan.
A few years later, the Soviet troops withdrew from Afghanistan, leaving Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and numerous other jihadists, without a cause, well, until the Bosnian war.
The Bosnian war was an international armed conflict that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 until December 1995.
The conflict was initially between the Yugoslav Army units in Bosnia on one side, the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Croat forces in the Croatian Defense Council on the other side.
According to a report compiled by the UN, while all sides committed war crimes during the conflict, Serbian forces were responsible for 90 percent of them.
Khalid Sheikh Mohamed saw the opportunity to start a new path with this conflict and he joined the war against Serbian forces.
The new path that Mohamed followed became clear to him as Qatar provided him money and logistical support until the early 1990s when he managed to organize and support all jihadists who were in Bosnia fighting against the Serbs and Croats.
He financed Al Qaeda activists to plan attacks against the United States. He mostly used his nephew, Ramzy Youssef, who was plotting an attack at the time after requesting money from Khalid Sheikh Mohamed to complete his preparations.
Youssef was involved in the first World Trade Center bombing of 1993; as a car bomb exploded in the garage, leaving six people dead, while the building remained erected and did not collapse as planned.
In his book "Sleeping with the devil," former CIA agent Robert Baer mentioned that he met with the then-head of Qatari Security Services, Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Hamad al-Thani, who informed him that his services monitored phone calls showing that Khalid Sheikh Mohamed was collaborating with Mohamed Shawqi Al-Islambouli, to form what he described as a pro al-Qaeda terrorist cell, all known by Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalid al-Thani, the then-Qatari minister of interior and religious endowment. At the time, Khalid Sheikh Mohamed was running a pro al-Qaeda cell in Qatar with Al-Islambouli the brother of the killer of the former Egyptian president Anwar al-Sadat.
In 1995, Khalid Sheikh Mohamed worked as a humanitarian aid worker for Egyptian Relief, a front for the Brotherhood, and obtained Bosnian citizenship in November 1995.
He was in Doha, at least twice, during 1995-1996. During his time in Doha, Qatari Minister of Religious Affairs Sheikh Abdullah al-Thani sheltered Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, who travelled in 1995 around the region to visit members of the worldwide jihadist community.
He also attempted to meet with Bin Laden in Sudan as he was aided by Sudanese political leader Hassan al-Turabi. Khalid Sheikh Mohamed during then used Doha as a hub during such travels.
American journalist Richard Minister in his book “Mastermind” wrote that CIA officer Melissa Boyle had been tracking Khalid Sheikh Mohammed for months, when she knew that he was living in Doha in an apartment owned by Sheikh Abdullah al-Thani.
He wrote that Boyle discovered that the minister had funded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s terror operations for years through a variety of Islamic charities, including Human Appeal International.
After a while, and despite of the repeated denial by Qatar that it has any links or involvement in terror funding, Egypt and several Gulf countries declared these charities terrorist organizations, including the Qatar Centre for Voluntary Work and the Qatar Charity Association.
By October 1995, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed began to worry as FBI and CIA agents, according to Richard Clarke, the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism in the Clinton and Bush (43) administrations, succeeded in tracking him to the apartment where he used to live in Qatar, but fled in time.
Clarke wrote, “It has been true that Qatar has served as a sanctuary for leaders of groups that the U.S. or other countries deem to be terrorist organizations. That, however, is nothing new. It has been going on for at least 20 years — and one of those who had sanctuary was the mastermind of the 9-11 attacks.”
Clarke describes Qatari intransigence to catch KSM. By 1996, because of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the aborted Bojinka plots, the US government considered KSM the most dangerous individual terrorist at large. Later that year, a federal criminal indictment for KSM was issued by US intelligence was trying to locate him as a matter of high priority.
Clarke further stated, “US intelligence found KSM in Qatar, working in the Water Department. The decision about what to do next came to an interagency committee I chaired, the Counter-terrorism Security Group (CSG). There was a consensus in the group that they could not trust the Qatar government sufficiently to do what otherwise would have been obvious: ask the local security service to arrest him and hand him over.
The Qataris had a history of terrorist sympathies and one cabinet member in particular, a member of the royal family, seemed to have ties to groups like al Qaeda and appeared to have sponsored KSM.”
In 1996, the American National Security Council met under the auspices of Samuel Berger to discuss the extradition process of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Berger suggested that a team should be dispatched to Doha without the participation of the CIA, a suggestion that the Pentagon objected, insisting that this would endanger the safety of the team, but instead, the State Department tried to negotiate with the Qataris.
The Hill newspaper reported that after much debate, the U.S. approached the Emir to request an arrest of Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, who had already but warned of a pending request for arrest and had left Doha for Afghanistan.
Clarke added, "Within hours of the US ambassador’s meeting with the Emir, KSM had gone to ground. In tiny Doha, no one was able to find him. Later, the Qataris told us that they believe he had left the country. They never told us how."
Clarke affirmed that Doha sheltered Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. "I assert that Qatar sheltered KSM implicates the State of Qatar and those who supported, employed, and protected this future mass murderer must be brought to justice," Clarke said.
Former CIA agent Robert Baer said that the then-minister of endowment informed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed about the U.S. preparations to arrest him. Baer claimed that the minister provided Khalid with a Qatari passport and a private jet that got him out of Qatar.
Baer said this means that the elite of Qatari politicians were responsible for the plots and attacks carried out by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed later.
Worse still, after Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani took the reins of power from his father after a successful coup, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalid Al Thani got a higher position as the Qatari Interior Minister, even after helping Khalid Sheikh Mohammed escape.
Senior counterterrorism officials told the New York Times that they already knew about the past support for Islamic extremists by one Qatari official, namely Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalid al-Thani, Qatar’s minister of religious endowments and Islamic affairs; this was the same official who had repeatedly allowed Arab extremists who had fought in Afghanistan to live on his farm, according to the officials.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s passion for plotting major attacks against the U.S.A. only grew after leaving Qatar, until he met Ramzy Bin Shiba, a former Yemeni bank employee and Al Qaeda member, in Germany.
Khalid went to Germany to meet with the so-called the “Hamburg Cell”, which was a terrorist cell that aimed at the time to attract people who can fly planes. Four Arabs studying in Germany were listed by the cell, namely Mohamed Atta, Marawan Shehi, Ziyad Jarrah and Ramzy Bin Shiba.
Three of the aforementioned students got their visas to travel to the U.S.A., while Bin Shiba’s visa was denied four times, therefore, he stayed in Germany with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to plot for the 9/11 attack.
After one year after the attacks, Ramzy Bin Shiba was arrested by the Pakistani secret service and handed him over to the U.S. later. As for Khalid, he was arrested by the Pakistani authorities in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad and was handed to the U.S. authorities in 2003.
The 9/11 attacks killed 2,996 people, injured over 6,000 others, and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage; all sponsored by Qatar.
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