August 25, 2020
Italian political analyst Giuseppe Gagliano analysed the military cooperation agreement between Qatar, Libya, and Turkey announced this month, arguing that it is part of a well-planned strategy of cooperation, training, and funding of proxy radical Islamist groups since 2011.
“Doha openly supported the Turkish military Operation Spring of Peace in north-eastern Syria to expand the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood.”— Giuseppe Gagliano
(Libya, 25 August 2020) – According to the Egyptian newspaper Al-Yawm Al-Sabi’, with regard to bilateral relations between Turkey and Qatar, the Italian political analyst Giuseppe Gagliano said: “Turkey has always supported Qatar militarily and received ample financial support in exchange. It is sufficient to recall that, for example, the deputy commander of the Ankara forces, Ahmed bin Muhammad, is also the head of the Qatari Military Academy. In other words, the training of military cadres depends on the pro-Turkish political and religious loyalty.”
He pointed out that the presence of the Turkish security forces in Qatar tangibly represents the importance of the Turkish political-military influence in Doha represented by the Tariq ibn Ziad base that embraces the command of the “Qatari-Turkish joint force.”
The report drew attention to the fact that Qatar’s arms imports from Turkey have increased dramatically allowing Ankara to obtain revenues of US$335 million. “Doha openly supported the Turkish military Operation Spring of Peace in north-eastern Syria to expand the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood,” argued Gagliano.
According to the report: “On the investment side, Qatar has disbursed US$15 billion since 2018 and purchased a 50% stake in BMC, a Turkish armored vehicle manufacturer. There is also the state-controlled military software company in Ankara, which has signed a partnership agreement with Al-Mesned International Holdings in Qatar for a joint venture specializing in cyber-security. However, one of the most important agreements to rectify the ailing Turkish economy is that of 20 May thanks to which the Turkish Central Bank announced that it had tripled its currency exchange agreement with Qatar.”
The Italian analyst added: “As regards Libya-Qatar relations, Doha took advantage of the political weaknesses of both the European Union and the UN. Furthermore, the relative US disengagement from the Middle Eastern theatre – given that the Trump administration’s priorities are China, the Indo-Pacific, and Russia – have in fact granted an undoubted strategic advantage to Doha.”
On Libya, Gagliano said, “Taking advantage of this situation of instability, Qatar has tried to exploit this propitious opportunity to gain greater weight and significance at the geopolitical level in Libya. Precisely for this reason, Qatar’s military presence in the 2011 conflict, alongside NATO, was certainly significant not only thanks to the use of air force but also through the training of Libyan rebels both on Libyan territory and in Doha. We should not also forget the relevant role that their special forces played in the final assault against Gaddafi.”
He continued, “With the fall of Gaddafi’s regime, Qatar recognized the National Transitional Council as a legitimate political institution and supported it at all levels. Another leverage, and at the same time a means of penetration into Libya, was certainly the brothers Ali Sallabi and Ismail al-Sallabi persecuted by the Gaddafi regime. In particular, Ali Sallabi is certainly one of the most important men linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. Another key man for Qatar was certainly Abdel-Hakim Belhaj, considered by both the CIA and the US State Department as a dangerous terrorist as leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG).”
According to the article: “Qatar invests heavily in the reconstruction of Tripoli’s military infrastructure. Indeed, it is not a coincidence that the Qatari delegation that recently visited Tripoli comprised military advisers and instructors who held meetings with their Libyan and Turkish counterparts.”