My meeting with Abdelrahman al-Nuaimi, Qatari terrorist money maker!



Georges Malbrunot (*)

For years – and until recently – a good half a dozen Qatari individuals were funding al-Qaeda in Iraq in Syria or the Shebab in Somalia. For the purposes of our investigation, on the book published with my colleague Christian Chesnot (Nos très chers émirs, sont-ils vraiment nos amis), we met in 2016 one of these terrorist financiers, Sheikh Abd Al-Rahman bin Omer al-Nuaimi in Doha, who has been on the European Union and United States black lists since 2014.

In 2013, the US Department of Treasury called him a “specially targeted terrorist” for having “assisted, sponsored or provided financial, material or technological assistance” to terrorist organisations. In short, under his appearance of a quiet grandfather with his thick grey beard, the man is anything but a second fiddle!

In the mid-2000s, Sheikh al-Nuaimi paid $2 million each month to al-Qaeda in Iraq – Daech’s ancestor – and then financed the Lebanese group Osbat al-Ansar from the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein al-Hilweh in southern Beirut. In 2014, according to information from the US State Department, he transferred another $600,000 to Abu Khalid al-Suri, the envoy to Syria of al-Qaeda’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Finally, in 2015, he provided $250,000 to the management of al-Shabaab, the Somali group linked to al-Qaeda.

So many accusations that the sheikh brushes aside. “Bring evidence that we are funding extremists,” he replied. “The reasons for the Americans’ accusations against me,” he added, “are the publication of a report on drones that I presented to United Nations experts on 8 December 2013, in which I explained that the United States was illegally killing innocent people, including in Yemen where nearly 950 people were killed by drone fire”.

While the Qatari authorities recently reportedly tightened the noose around Sheikh al-Nuaimi, this was not the case when we met him without any problem, except for his mistrust of the Western journalist. But “I have no problem with the Qatari authorities”, he assured us, then. “My troubles are limited to Americans, they want to silence me. But I am only forbidden to travel in Europe, the United States and Saudi Arabia”.

Close to the Diwan Al Amiri, his NGO – Alkarama – is suspected of being financed by the Qatari State. It must be said that its links with the ruling elite of the emirate are long-standing. Admittedly, Sheikh al-Nuaimi was imprisoned in 1998 when he was an official of the Ministry of Education. He had launched a petition opposing the emancipation of women in society, including from Sheikha Moza, the second wife of the Emir at the time, Sheikh Hamad, who had him thrown in prison. The petition in question had been signed by three members of the ruling family, a sign that it is still being worked on by ultra-conservative movements. But upon his release in the spring of 2001, the Islamist was received by Emir Hamad who then made him his emissary to jihadist figures, such as Yemeni Abdul Majeed al-Zindani, a former relative of Osama bin Laden, also claimed by the United States.

In short, Sheikh al-Nuaimi suffered no disgrace. In 2004, he founded his NGO, Alkarama, based in Geneva. It is actually a cover. In 2009, Alkarama called for support for Iraqi “resistance” against foreign, i. e. American, occupying forces. The United States, whose military base in Qatar provides security for the tiny emirate. See the double dealing….

The government let him organise conferences with violent anti-Western accents. “It was the Americans who asked the Qatari authorities to stop our donation campaign for the revolt in Syria, not Qatar, which decided on its own initiative,” he said in 2016. al-Nuaimi is unequivocally sympathetic to a movement classified as terrorist by the international community.

Al-Qaeda’s financier has also benefited from the leniency of some of Qatar’s “friends” in Europe. Did he not come to Paris at the end of 2011 without being worried by the French authorities, at the time very close to Qatar.

Al-Nuaimi is not an isolated case. At least half a dozen financiers of terrorist organisations have long benefited from the leniency of the Qatari authorities.

Salem Hassan Kuwari and Abdullah Ghanim Khawar, for example, are accused by the U.S. Department of the Treasury of having “provided several hundred thousand dollars to al-Qaeda for its operations, as well as for the release of al-Qaeda prisoners from Iran and beyond”.

As early as 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated in a diplomatic telegram, revealed by Wikileaks, that cooperation with Qatar was “the worst in the region” in the Middle East.

Under pressure from the United States, from 2015 onwards, Doha made efforts to counter the financing of terrorism, freezing accounts and imposing a ban on two “terrorist financiers”, Sa’d Al Ka’bi and Abdelatif al-Kawari, to leave the country. In 2015, Qatar restructured its counter-terrorism committee after issuing several decrees restricting the activities of charitable NGOs. Despite these efforts, a US State Department report states, “entities and individuals continue to serve as financiers to terrorist groups”.

* Writer and journalist, specialist in the Middle East, latest book “Qatar Papers, comment l’émirat finance l’islam de France et d’Europe” (co-written with Christian Chesnot).

e European Union and United States black lists since 2014.

In 2013, the US Department of Treasury called him a “specially targeted terrorist” for having “assisted, sponsored or provided financial, material or technological assistance” to terrorist organisations. In short, under his appearance of a quiet grandfather with his thick grey beard, the man is anything but a second fiddle!

In the mid-2000s, Sheikh al-Nuaimi paid $2 million each month to al-Qaeda in Iraq – Daech’s ancestor – and then financed the Lebanese group Osbat al-Ansar from the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein al-Hilweh in southern Beirut. In 2014, according to information from the US State Department, he transferred another $600,000 to Abu Khalid al-Suri, the envoy to Syria of al-Qaeda’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Finally, in 2015, he provided $250,000 to the management of al-Shabaab, the Somali group linked to al-Qaeda.

So many accusations that the sheikh brushes aside. “Bring evidence that we are funding extremists,” he replied. “The reasons for the Americans’ accusations against me,” he added, “are the publication of a report on drones that I presented to United Nations experts on 8 December 2013, in which I explained that the United States was illegally killing innocent people, including in Yemen where nearly 950 people were killed by drone fire”.

While the Qatari authorities recently reportedly tightened the noose around Sheikh al-Nuaimi, this was not the case when we met him without any problem, except for his mistrust of the Western journalist. But “I have no problem with the Qatari authorities”, he assured us, then. “My troubles are limited to Americans, they want to silence me. But I am only forbidden to travel in Europe, the United States and Saudi Arabia”.

Close to the Diwan Al Amiri, his NGO – Alkarama – is suspected of being financed by the Qatari State. It must be said that its links with the ruling elite of the emirate are long-standing. Admittedly, Sheikh al-Nuaimi was imprisoned in 1998 when he was an official of the Ministry of Education. He had launched a petition opposing the emancipation of women in society, including from Sheikha Moza, the second wife of the Emir at the time, Sheikh Hamad, who had him thrown in prison. The petition in question had been signed by three members of the ruling family, a sign that it is still being worked on by ultra-conservative movements. But upon his release in the spring of 2001, the Islamist was received by Emir Hamad who then made him his emissary to jihadist figures, such as Yemeni Abdul Majeed al-Zindani, a former relative of Osama bin Laden, also claimed by the United States.

In short, Sheikh al-Nuaimi suffered no disgrace. In 2004, he founded his NGO, Alkarama, based in Geneva. It is actually a cover. In 2009, Alkarama called for support for Iraqi “resistance” against foreign, i. e. American, occupying forces. The United States, whose military base in Qatar provides security for the tiny emirate. See the double dealing….

The government let him organise conferences with violent anti-Western accents. “It was the Americans who asked the Qatari authorities to stop our donation campaign for the revolt in Syria, not Qatar, which decided on its own initiative,” he said in 2016. al-Nuaimi is unequivocally sympathetic to a movement classified as terrorist by the international community.

Al-Qaeda’s financier has also benefited from the leniency of some of Qatar’s “friends” in Europe. Did he not come to Paris at the end of 2011 without being worried by the French authorities, at the time very close to Qatar.

Al-Nuaimi is not an isolated case. At least half a dozen financiers of terrorist organisations have long benefited from the leniency of the Qatari authorities.

Salem Hassan Kuwari and Abdullah Ghanim Khawar, for example, are accused by the U.S. Department of the Treasury of having “provided several hundred thousand dollars to al-Qaeda for its operations, as well as for the release of al-Qaeda prisoners from Iran and beyond”.

As early as 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated in a diplomatic telegram, revealed by Wikileaks, that cooperation with Qatar was “the worst in the region” in the Middle East.

Under pressure from the United States, from 2015 onwards, Doha made efforts to counter the financing of terrorism, freezing accounts and imposing a ban on two “terrorist financiers”, Sa’d Al Ka’bi and Abdelatif al-Kawari, to leave the country. In 2015, Qatar restructured its counter-terrorism committee after issuing several decrees restricting the activities of charitable NGOs. Despite these efforts, a US State Department report states, “entities and individuals continue to serve as financiers to terrorist groups”.

* Writer and journalist, specialist in the Middle East, latest book “Qatar Papers, comment l’émirat finance l’islam de France et d’Europe” (co-written with Christian Chesnot).