Identifying the most crucial French intelligence issues and proposing a new way of operating and coordinating the efforts of the French intelligence community is at the heart of the national intelligence strategy developed this summer by the National Coordination for Intelligence and Counter Terrorism (in French: Coordination Nationale du Renseignement et de la Lutte contre le Terrorisme – CNRLT).
The deadly attack on October 3 at the very heart of the intelligence directorate, at the Paris police prefecture, illustrated in the most dramatic way the phenomenon we mentioned in the first of this series of articles devoted to the new anti-terrorist challenges. Namely, this type of terrorist acts is no longer the work of commandos attacking France from the fiefdoms of ISIS in Iraqi-Syrian jihadist areas, but is the poisoned fruit of spontaneous “jihadist vocations”, generated at a distance, by recruiters of ISIS, among French “subjects” most often motivated by violent nihilistic impulses, more than by a real desire for a jihadist “holy war”.
This summer 2019 will have been the season of all extremes for Qatar.
It all began on June 20, with an investigation by the Wall Street Journal revealing that one of Al-Qaeda’s most famous silversmiths, Khalifa al-Subaiy, who was notably the financier of the “September 11 brain”, continues to carry out his activities as a “patron of terror”, protected from the high protections he enjoys within the Qatari establishment.
Then the scandals broke out.
Despite the denials of the Qatari authorities, which are trying to deny any involvement in the financing of terrorism, scandals have multiplied, and revelations have followed one another since the beginning of the summer, bringing a surprising amount of documents and evidence that overwhelm the gas emirate. Revelations that splash on many local businessmen and dignitaries, but also prominent members of the princely family, including Fahad bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, one of the brothers of the current Amir, Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, and former Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, close advisor and business associate of former Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani….
For a long time, the Doha authorities’ defence strategy, faced with increasing revelations about the involvement of many Qatari dignitaries in terrorist financing scandals, has been to describe them as individual initiatives that do not represent the government.
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.