Qatar’s regime had advance knowledge of Iran’s attacks on four ships in the Gulf of Oman in May and failed to warn the US, France and the United Kingdom, according to a Western intelligence report.
FoxNews.com first reported on Saturday about the eye-popping report and the implications for international security, since the vital waterway for trade connects the Strait of Hormuz to the Indian Ocean.
“Credible intelligence reports indicate that the IRGC-Quds Forces Naval unit is responsible for the Fujairah Port attacks, and the elements of civilian government of Iran, as well as the State of Qatar, were aware of the IRGC’s activities,” the report said.
The US sanctioned Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization.
A US Department of Defense spokesman told Fox News: “We do not discuss matters of intelligence.”
The allegation that Qatar endangered US-allied ships appears to be in contrast to the open anti-terrorism cooperation between the US and Qatar. Just last week the US Department of State hosted the third US-Qatar Counterterrorism Dialogue led by top experts in the field from Qatar.
The US has a military base in the UAE and its largest military facility in the Middle East – the Al Udeid military base – is located in Qatar.
Lawmakers from the two European NATO powers pledged to demand answers from their respective governments. The United Kingdom has armed forces stationed in the UAE and the French government has a naval air station in Abu Dhabi.
“I saw the reports and I am very concerned about them. I intend to raise questions with colleagues in other countries with strong connections in the Middle East such as Britain and with our government,” Nathalie Goulet, a member of the French Senate and a major figure in the European counterterrorism community, told Fox News.
She submitted the intelligence to the French security and defense establishment for a formal investigation.
The US government said Iran’s regime was behind the May 12 attack of two Saudi tankers, a Norwegian tanker and a UAE bunkering ship close to the port of Fujairah near the United Arab Emirates.
Ian Paisley Jr., a prominent British MP, told Fox News that “What we discussed is very alarming and requires serious and immediate investigation by my own government.”
“I will be asking my government to immediately investigate the claims made in this report,” he continued. “If proven to be correct, this poses serious questions for our alliances in this region. The Islamic threat must be taken seriously and I await the government’s response.”
Since 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and a host of other countries in the region have barred Qatari airplanes and ships from using its airspace and sea passages.
Riyadh has blocked Qatar’s only land crossing, due to its alleged support of terrorists and Iran’s clerical regime. The US State Department designated Iran as the worst state-sponsor of terrorism.
In response to the FoxNews.com article, Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Saturday that it “had no advance knowledge of the attack on commercial vessels in the Gulf of Oman on May 12, 2019.”
Qatar’s government, including its US embassy, did not respond on Friday to numerous Jerusalem Post press queries.
The Saudi-led bloc against Qatar also accuses Doha of building an alliance with Tehran against the Sunni countries in the region.
The allegation that Qatar had prior knowledge of the Iranian attack in the vital waterway, which connects the Strait of Hormuz to the Indian Ocean, is of tremendous import for the national security of France and Britain, as well as of the United States.
The report could reasonably lead Western government to draw disturbing conclusions about Qatar jeopardizing the security of a passageway vital to the flow of oil and thus to global security.
In 2014, German Development Minister Gerd Müller, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet, accused Qatar of financing Islamic State terrorists.
“You have to ask who is arming, who is financing ISIS troops. The keyword there is Qatar and how do we deal with these people and states politically?” Müller said.
Source » jpost